Samsung has announced a range of new Galaxy smartphones, offering improved cameras and the option of a stylus.
The firm talked up the use of recycled materials such as repurposed fishing nets and used water bottles.
Its “Galaxy for the Planet” is a five-year plan to eliminate plastics in packaging and stop manufacturing waste going to landfill.
Experts welcomed the green initiative.
The nylon fishing nets are turned into polyamide resin pellets used in the production of brackets which hold the volume and power keys in place. Discarded water bottles and CD cases are also being used to create components.
Of its green initiative, Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said there was still “much to do”.
“Today, most consumers have no clue how damaging it is for the planet to regularly renew their smartphone hardware. Once they realise, sustainability will become a key way to differentiate between premium smartphone brands.”
Ben Wood, chief analyst with research firm CCS Insight, said it was encouraging to see Samsung talking about its efforts to improve the sustainability of its products, but pointed out that the most important thing phone manufacturers can do for the environment is to make long-lasting devices.
“Using recycled materials is just one piece of the jigsaw,” he said.
CCS Insight’s own research suggests it is becoming harder to persuade people to upgrade their phones, with the primary motivation to get a new device being that a current phone is damaged or not working well.
Samsung still lags behind Apple in most markets, according to Forrester:
- in the UK 40% of adults with a smartphone have an iPhone, versus 33% with a Samsung device
- in the US 51% have iPhones and 29% use a Samsung
- in France it is 22% Apple devices and 41% Samsung
- in Australia 43% iPhone, 38% Samsung
Mr Husson said the launch offered Samsung a “window of opportunity” to catch up.
“Given Huawei’s difficulties, Xiaomi’s lack of brand credentials in Europe yet, and the fact Apple will not launch the iPhone 14 before the end of…2022, Samsung has a couple of months to establish leadership in the high-end market.”
The new range includes the Samsung Galaxy S22, the Samsung Galaxy S22+, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Prices range from £769 to £1,499.
The S22 and S22+ come with a 50 megapixel ultra-wide camera and 3x optical zoom. The S22 Ultra has a 108 megapixel rear camera with 10x optical zoom.
The extra high-resolution sensor was developed by Samsung but first unveiled by Chinese firm Xiaomi, when it announced the feature in its Mi CC9 Pro Premium handset in 2019.
Samsung is incorporating a stylus – its S-Pen – with the S22 Ultra, something which had previously been available only for its Note devices and its foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold 3.
“The Galaxy S22 Ultra will be greeted with delight by the legion of Note device enthusiasts who have proved to be a loyal audience for Samsung, but may leave traditional Galaxy S customers scratching their heads wondering why they need a stylus,” said Mr Wood.
At the event, Samsung also unveiled a new line of tablets. Its Galaxy Tab S8 and S8+ have high-resolution screens, optional 5G and S-Pens.
The smartphones go on general sale on 11 March.