Samsung has just announced the Galaxy A9, a mid-range smartphone notable for featuring a grand total of four cameras on its back. The handset is part of a new strategy from the company in which it’s attempting to introduce features on its mid-range devices first in order to appeal to developing markets and a younger audience in the West who are priced out of flagship devices.

Each of the four cameras on the rear of the device serve a different purpose. The first is the device’s main 24MP f/1.7 camera, the second is an 8MP f/2.4 camera with an ultra-wide 120-degree lens, the third is a telephoto f/2.4 lens with 2x optical zoom backed by a 10 megapixel sensor, and the fourth is a 5 megapixel f/2.2 camera that enables depth-of-field effects. Image: Samsung

Aside from this four-camera array, the phone is equipped with a fairly typical set of mid-range internals, namely a Snapdragon 660 processor flanked by 6GB of RAM and powered by a 3,800mAh battery. There’s 128GB of internal memory, a microSD card slot that supports up to 512GB of external memory, and it also has a 3.5mm headphone jack and side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The screen is a 6.3-inch Full HD+ panel, with a resolution of 2220 x 1080. The noteworthy aspect of this device is its camera array, and Samsung’s presentation reflected this.

The Galaxy A9 is the first visible evidence of Samsung’s new mid-range mobile strategy. Speaking recently toCNBC, Samsung Mobile CEO DJ Koh said, “In the past, I brought the new technology and differentiation to the flagship model and then moved to the mid-end. But I have changed my strategy this year to bring technology and differentiation points starting from the mid-end.”

Gartner analysts noted a Samsung slowdown in the face of aggressively-priced handsets from Chinese brands that are taking more market share in the midtier. Eye-catching features and new technologies (like in-display fingerprint sensors) from these companies are appearing on even their mid-range handsets, making them attractive to the kinds of segments Samsung wants to focus on. The Galaxy A9’s launch event was held in Malaysia, further differentiating it from the high-profile Western launches of flagship devices like the Galaxy Note 9.

The Galaxy A9, with its eye-catching array of cameras, is an interesting sign of the company’s direction. It’s unclear whether the feature will eventually make its way to a flagship phone, but it’s already managed to get the handset a level of attention normally reserved for Samsung’s more expensive devices.

The A9 joins the cheaper Galaxy A7, which launched a couple of weeks ago with less powerful hardware, a slightly smaller screen, and ‘only’ three cameras on its back.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 will retail for €599 in mainland Europe and £549 in the UK (roughly $724) and will be releasing in November.


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