Samsung updates its Galaxy A series with the new A52 and A72 mid-range smartphones. The Galaxy A family of devices drives Samsung smartphone shipments and is essential for the company to compete with Chinese OEMs like OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi. Samsung is upgrading the hardware of its mid-range with a quad-lens camera system and high refresh rate displays.
Samsung pushes hardware upgrades and software ecosystem into the mid-range
The new Galaxy A52, A52 5G, and A72 launch to replace successful models from last year. With the three models, Samsung tries to find the balance between supporting the latest hardware trends, like quadruple camera lenses, high refresh rate displays, and 5G connectivity, and fitting the devices into the right part of the overall smartphone portfolio. At launch, for example, only the Galaxy A52 5G supports 5G connectivity—highlighting the reality that for many potential buyers of the device, 5G connectivity is not yet a priority or available.
There are physical differences between the two A52 models and the A72. Most notably, the screen size of the A52 models is 6.5 inches, while the A72 features a 6.7-inch display—all with a center hole for the front-facing camera and featuring the same 1080x2400 resolution. However, the A52 5G features a higher 120 Hz refresh rate display, compared with the non-5G version A52 and the A72, which feature a 90 Hz refresh rate display.
The Galaxy A72 features the more advanced quad-lens camera setup of the three new models. In addition to the 64-megapixel main lens, the 12-megapixel ultra-wide, and five-megapixel macro lens, the A72 features an eight-megapixel telephoto lens with optical image stabilization (OIS) and 3x optical zoom. The A52 models substitute a five-megapixel depth sensor for the telephoto lens.
The devices will start at €349 for the A52 with 4GB RAM and 128GB ROM and reach €449 for the A72 with 6GB RAM/128GB ROM. The A52 5G starts at €429, €20 cheaper than the A72.
A series will be bigger gateway to Samsung’s connected device ecosystem
Samsung is renewing its mid-range with capable new devices, but the company is not joining other OEMs in a race to the bottom in pricing. Xiaomi’s latest Redmi Note costs around €80 less, as a starting point, and targets the same user group. Both OEMs rely heavily on the performance of devices in this price range to drive their overall unit shipments.
In 2020, Samsung shipped around 184 million A series devices—out of 256 million total units. Samsung’s top performing models were all A series devices, including the A51, with 23.2 million units in 2020, the A21s with 19.4 million units, and the A01 with 16.9 million units. Omdia currently expects Samsung shipments to grow to 283 million units in 2021 and a successful launch of new A series devices will help Samsung stay on track for this goal.
In addition to being volume drivers, Samsung is now also positioning the A series as gateway devices to Samsung’s connected device ecosystem. Samsung spent a significant amount of time during the launch event highlighting Samsung services, like Health and SmartThings. It is natural that, as the hardware capabilities of its smartphones increase, Samsung will want to use them to onboard that userbase into its expanding ecosystem of devices and services.
As flagship devices like the Galaxy S and Note series continue to see shipments stagnate, Samsung is correct in fully embracing the mid-range market segment as drivers for its overall connected ecosystem growth, not just its smartphone business.
Gerrit Schneemann, Principal Analyst, Mobile Devices - Smartphones