South Korea’s Samsung might still be the world’s number one smartphone player in terms of market share, but that share is steadily falling, and the manufacturer recently endured its worst quarter in years.
Here I’m detailing five balls I’d set rolling if I could be Samsung Mobile boss JK Shin for a day; five ways I’d save Samsung.
Question: what’s the problem at Samsung HQ? Well, the inexorable rise of Chinese smartphone manufacturers is eating into Samsung’s market share (Xiaomi recently claimed third position focusing on China and the surrounding areas alone); the iPhone remains the biggest selling individual phone each year; and Team Shin continues to churn out confusing low- and mid-range nonsense.
Furthermore, consumers are seemingly realising that there’s no need to upgrade every 12 months, and Samsung isn’t doing much to convince them with same-old Galaxy flagships each year.
It’s all a rich tapestry of rubbish, but I’m here to save the day! If JK wants to send over some of his £5.6 million bonus from last year as a thank you, that’d be swell.
1. Metal Samsung Galaxy S6
The old plastic vs. metal debate rages on (plastic is more durable, metal is more “premium”), but a metal Samsung Galaxy S6 would immediately make the phone stand out against the Galaxy S5, regardless of the specs.
The HTC One M7 and One M8 (right) have widely been hailed as the sexiest smartphones of the last two years. Taking a leaf out of their book is surely a no-brainer.
As it stands, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a bizarre perforated rear, the gold version in particular famously being compared to a band-aid. Lovely. Unsurprisingly, Samsung’s head design guy was reportedly realigned shortly after the Galaxy S5’s release.
2. Give us a massive battery
Ask anyone to rate the most important factors when choosing a new smartphone, and you can bet battery life will be right near the top.
Alas, smartphone manufacturers remain obsessed with making phones as thin as possible, which means less space for internal components like, yep, beefy batteries. Samsung’s imminent Galaxy A7 will be its thinnest ever, incidentally.
Seriously, when was the last time you heard someone say: “I quite fancied that phone, but it was 8mm thick”?
Conversely, imagine the hype if Samsung could deliver a smartphone that lasted several days on a single charge.
3. Stop focusing on software/hardware nonsense
To be fair to Samsung, the Galaxy S5 wasn’t quite as bloat-filled as the Galaxy S4, but Sammo continues to think of its phones as Life Companions and fitness trainers when the majority of people just want, y’know, a phone.
Did anyone seriously buy a Samsung Galaxy S5 because it had a rear heart rate monitor? Does anyone seriously use that feature (Group Play) where a bunch of people can stand around and blast the same song?
It’s time to go back to basics. Indeed, you might recall the flagship Samsung Galaxy S5 was outperformed by the humble Motorola Moto E (pictured), which cost around a fifth of the price at launch. Something is clearly wrong here.
4. Give us a decent Samsung Galaxy S6 mini
Nowadays, it’s absolutely mandatory to churn out a “mini” version of your flagship smartphone, but Samsung (among others) is guilty of watering things down significantly in the process.
Why does the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini have an 8MP camera (vs. 16MP)? Or 1.5GB of RAM (vs. 2GB)? Or a 720p resolution (vs. 1080p)?
For our money, the Sony Xperia Z1 and Z3 Compact remain the only phones to get the “mini” thing right. Bigger doesn’t necessarily have to mean better, and some people are crying out for a flagship-level phone that doesn’t demand colossal pockets.
5. Release something to rival the Motorola Moto G
Chinese manufacturers have shown that decent specs can be had at wallet-friendly price points, which explains their rapidly growing market share.
The only manufacturer in the west to really push the boat out at the low end is Motorola, with the Moto G (right). It raised the bar for entry-level phones, and really made people question paying £500 for a flagship.
Samsung could really do with matching the Motorola Moto G on price and specs, not just one or the other. The Samsung Galaxy A3 is in the right ballpark spec-wise, but it needs to be cheaper.