Samsung launches Note 9 in TT

Above: Samsung’s Terry Weech. Photo by Mark Lyndersay.

BitDepth#1164 for September 27, 2018

On Tuesday last week, Samsung formally launched the Note 9 in Trinidad and Tobago.

It was quiet launch for the company’s flagship large smartphone, heralded only by full page advertisements in the newspaper announcing the availability of the device.

Instead, the company sent its point man for the region; Senior Sales Manager Terry Weech on a two-day media tour to TT to talk about the device, which he described as “a softer approach.”

Weech isn’t quite like any of the Samsung marketing people I’ve met over the last decade. He’s quiet, a bit nerdy and quite surprisingly for a man tasked with selling, he spends a lot of time in an interview listening attentively.

This can be a bit disconcerting when you set out to dig behind the company’s sales pitch facade and their marketing dude doesn’t throw up any of the usual talking points flak.

The Caribbean launch of the Note 9 begins tomorrow on September 28, but Samsung pushed the formal release up by ten full days in Trinidad and Tobago, making it the first Caribbean country to sell the device.

“We recognise that customers in Trinidad and Tobago are very loyal users of Samsung devices, and we appreciate customer loyalty,” Weech said, but he also had some bad news for high-end local users.

“Only the 128GB version will be available in Trinidad and Tobago. That’s a decision based on price point. The 512GB version costs US$100 more.”

As if that would make hardcore Note users blink.

Presales of the Note 9 have broken previous records and sales are outpacing the Note 8’s numbers.

“The cobalt colour with the gold SPen is very popular, and the black is doing well with business customers.”

Bundle offers on the new device will be available at local malls and carrier stores.

“They vary according to vendor, so we invite customers to ask about the special offers,” Weech explained.

“Business users will get a DEX cable, which will make the device a desktop computer. We recommend that people get the Samsung cable. Connecting with it you will definitely get the best experience possible. We cannot speak to what happens when you connect to a cable that may not have been made to our standards.”

“There is no limit on the size of screen that can be connected to the DEX cable.

You can multitask when the screen is attached, doing one thing on the screen of the smartphone and another on the connected monitor, you don’t have to mirror the content. Anything that a laptop can do, can be done on the device using Dex.”

Since the long lull that followed the failed release of the Note 7, Samsung has kept up an annual release schedule for its updates to its flagship smartphones, but even DJ Koh admitted that it was a bit of a strain at the launch event for the Note 9. Does the company plan to keep an annual release schedule?

“R&D doesn’t discuss that with us,” Weech admitted with a smile.

“But we in sales and marketing are into an annual rhythm. We are anticipating a release in the first half of next year.”

Unfortunately for Internet of Things proponents, the adoption of Smart Things technology, which ties recent Samsung appliances and their smartphones into a connected network, has proven slower than expected.

“It’s a bit like eating healthy, it costs a bit more,” Weech said.

“It’s not that people don’t want them [connected devices], but the decisions about purchasing are sometimes driven by price. It [Smart Things] can work on WiFi on an Internet connection. The price point is the major stumbling block right now.”