Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled the latest Galaxy Note smartphone on Wednesday with the hopes of regaining ground against the rivals Huawei and Apple as the smartphone market starts to recover from the coronavirus or COVID-19 slump.

Samsung launched the previous model, S20, in the month of February at the beginning of the pandemic but since then it has lost its top ranking in the smartphone market to China's Huawei, as people opt for the cheaper models in tough times.

The new Note 20 boasts a larger screen at 6.7 inches (17 cm), 5G connectivity, enhanced writing features with its S-Pen stylus, and access to more than 100 console and PC games via a tie-up with Microsoft's Xbox cloud service.

Samsung Unveils New Galaxy Note

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Samsung logo as seen during Galaxy Note 8 consumer launch event in Jakarta, Indonesia September 29, 2017 (Beawiharta/Reuters)

It will go on sale from August 21 in about 70 countries including the United States, where the basic version will retail for $999, compared to the predecessor's $949. "It is an uncertain time to launch a new premium device given the challenging competitive and economic environments," said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight Tech, adding that the "eye-watering price" could deter some buyers.

Apple fans are unlikely to jump ship to the new Samsung model as the 5G iPhone is likely to be launched later this year, analysts say. Samsung posted a 29% on-year drop in shipments in the June quarter, the biggest fall among top vendors, according to researcher IDC. Apple, which launched the budget-friendly SE during the period, remained resilient with 11 percent on-year shipment growth, while Huawei posted only a five percent fall.

The global smartphone market shrank about 16 percent on-year in the April-June quarter due to COVID-19 lockdowns and consumer caution, a larger contraction than in the first quarter, and is expected to improve only slightly in the second half, IDC said. "Its not until H1 2021 that most countries around the globe will start showing positive growth in smartphone shipments," said Nabila Popal, research director at data provider IDC.

(With agency inputs)