Samsung Galaxy S8 Pre-Order Numbers Race Past S7, Note 7

Over just two days last week, Samsung received 550,000 pre-orders for its new Galaxy S8 smartphone, which is set to hit the U.S. market on April 21. Citing industry sources, Business Korea yesterday reported that the number of Galaxy S8 pre-orders coming in Friday and Saturday was 5 1/2 times higher than pre-orders for the Galaxy S7.

The publication added that Galaxy S8 pre-orders also outpaced those for last year's fire-prone and recalled Galaxy Note 7, which had a record 400,000 pre-orders.

Announced at the end of last month, the new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are the latest iteration of Samsung's flagship smartphone. Priced starting at $720 for the 5.8-inch S8 and $840 for the 6.2-inch S8 Plus (pictured above), the new devices are being positioned as premium phones designed to compete with Apple's iPhone 8, which is expected to come out this fall.

Samsung's Q1 Sales Top Apple

After coming in behind Apple during the fourth quarter of last year, Samsung grabbed the top spot in global smartphone market share in the first quarter of 2017, according to a report released today by the Taiwan-based market research firm TrendForce. However, the report attributed most of Samsung's strong performance to its low-end and mid-range smartphones, rather than its premium devices.

"The economically priced, high-performing Galaxy J series sustained Samsung's shipments and contributed significantly to the expansion of the brand's overall smartphone production volume," TrendForce reported. However, the report offered a more muted forecast for Galaxy S8 sales.

"[T]he high-end model is expected to make limited sales contribution because the buzz surrounding the next-generation iPhone devices is dampening demand for products from non-Apple vendors," TrendForce noted.

Leaks and rumors surrounding Apple's iPhone 8, which is likely to launch in September, indicate that phone could share some of the same features seen in the Galaxy S8. Design documents for the iPhone 8 show a device with a curved-edge screen and narrow bezels at the top and bottom, similar to the "Infinity Display" being introduced with the S8. Like the S8, the iPhone 8 is also believed to feature a fingerprint scanner that's been relocated to the back and a pressure-sensitive, rather than physical, home button on the front.

Dual-Screen Galaxy X on the Way?

In other Samsung developments, Korea's ET News and The Investor reported today that the company has ordered components that would allow it to produce 2,000 to 3,000 prototypes of a new dual-screen smartphone during the first half of this year. Citing industry sources, the publications said the prototype could be "a preliminary version of its upcoming foldable smartphone, dubbed Galaxy X."

An anonymous source told ET News and The Investor, "Samsung seems to be testing the waters with the dual-screen device to gather ideas about its upcoming foldable phone."

Various news reports have also suggested other companies, including Apple and Google, are planning to develop flexible screen devices in the near future. Earlier this week, for example, ET News reported that Google was considering an $877 million investment in LG Display to ensure its access to LG's OLED (organic light-emitting diode) flexible screen technology.

Both Samsung and LG Display currently lead the market in flexible screen displays, and LG recently began investing billions of dollars to expand its production capabilities for that technology.