November 28, 2014

Samsung: Good, bad, and what I'd change [EDITORIAL]

Are there too many Samsung Galaxy devices out there_featured

No matter whether you love or hate Samsung, you have to admit they’re one of the strongest brands in smartphone industry. When it comes to Android they have consistently been perceived as the strongest one, particularly when we look at the market share.

According to Localytics Samsung owns 63.3% of Android market, followed by HTC with 6.5% and LG with 5.9% share. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I used the phrase „undisputed king of Android (share)“. Said data is dating back to November 2013, but not much has changed in half a year.

NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE IS SPREAD OVER TWO PAGES

Are there too many Samsung Galaxy devices out there_1

I personally don’t like Samsung’s take on Android… at all. I consider their TouchWiz skin to be extremely buggy, cartoonish and quite frankly crappy. There, I said it. All that considered, Samsung has one big thing going for them, an established brand. They quickly and steadily managed to put two words on the tongues of smartphone users around the world. The words? “Samsung Galaxy“.

As soon as people hear those words they know what you’re talking about – even if their knowledge of smartphone industry is almost non-existent. Heck, even the word “Galaxy“ on its own now makes people think about Samsung and their smartphone business.

Are there too many Samsung Galaxy devices out there_2A quick trip down memory lane reminds us that the “Galaxy“ brand came to life in 2009 when Samsung released their first Samsung Galaxy device running Android. Since then every Samsung’s phone running Google’s Android operating system was dubbed Galaxy. That first device, the Samsung Galaxy i7500, was released in April and came with Android 1.5 Cupcake out of the box. I had the pleasure of handling that very same device. At the time I was rather impressed by it; it was a nice piece of technology.

I don’t think Samsung realized that what they created back then would go on to be as big as it is today. Jump to today and we see that Samsung has released over 200 models carrying the “Galaxy” name. That’s a lot of stars.

We can separate Samsung’s Galaxy devices in a few categories:

  • Smartphones (Ace, S, etc.)
  • Phablets (Note and Mega lines)
  • Tablets (Tab and Note lines)
  • Other (Camera line, Gear line)

I did allow myself some freedom categorizing devices considering there are so many. What’s more, some really don’t belong anywhere, like the Galaxy Camera.

Samsung’s flagship “S” line is the iconic flagship line, having moved more than 210 million units since 2010. In the 1st quarter of 2014 alone Samsung shipped 85 million smartphones, with at least 80% of those being Galaxy devices. In comparison, Apple shipped 43.7 million smartphones, while Lenovo, Huawei and LG all shipped between 12 and 14 million units each. I believe these numbers speak for themselves.

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Taking all of this into consideration it is obvious that Samsung is the king of Android and nobody seems poised to wrestle away the crown any time soon. But, as you know quantity does not equate to quality. And, even though the Galaxy S5 is already selling like crazy, it doesn’t mean they’re doing things 100% right.

I am sure that I am not the only one to think that Samsung has stopped pushing us forward. They’ve slowed down on innovation and most of what they do are gimmicks to appeal to people who are amused by them. Unfortunately, that is a vast majority of market today.

Some of you may disagree with me, that is just fine. Maybe you find Samsung’s gimmicks useful. I am not saying that some of their features are not useful but a lot of what I see is stuff that typical consumers don’t use on a daily basis. For all of the marketing done and the hype around the announcements, it feels like stuff that’s only there because Samsung could do it – not because users ask for it or need it.

It may seem like I’m hating on Samsung, but I’m not. I’m just disappointed in how things seem to evolve. There’s less “revolution” in today’s models and the last few cycles are more “evolution”. Maybe I demand a bit too much but it has been a while since I saw something that made me say, “WOW!”

Personally, and if nothing else, I would appreciate if they’d at least pay more attention to finer details and stop pushing buggy versions of TouchWiz.

Let me elaborate on the Good, Bad and the Bottom Line on the next page.


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  • Jayme

    I couldn’t agree more with your entire article. I have been saying the same things for years now. I applaud you.

  • dave

    The high sales figures show you article is rubbish, if people thought their phone wasnt good quality or didnt suit their daily needs then they wouldnt keep buying from Samsung, I know so many people that are getting rid of their apple iphones, and i havent met anyone yet changing from samsung to iphone, numbers speak volumes

    • Kristijan Lučić

      The thing is a regular customer doesn’t know any better. They don’t care if they experience some lag on their device, as long as they can brag about their phone and they have something they’ve heard is good via commercials or their friend has it. That’s just the way it is,
      Brands like “(Samsung) Galaxy) and “iPhone” have a huge advantage in the market these days. Vast majority of people have heard of those, but they have no idea what some other brands are and as long as the device is functional they’re going to use it. Marketing makes those brands look perfect and people tend to believe that, I’ve seen it first hand numerous times.
      This article is my stand on the subject and basically every person I’ve met who has some experience in the mobile world agrees. We feel the difference, oh we sure do.

  • Cheyenne Kid

    I don’t have lag problems very often and when I do I just turn off and on my S5. It turns off within 12 seconds and resets itself within 30 seconds and it turns on within about 30 seconds, so in little more than a minute the phone is right back to being it’s quick and agile way. I do email, texts, calls, apps , stream videos, notifications listen to music and everything else and my S5 handles them without burps. It is notably better performing than the S4 which I just recently upgraded from. So I am very happy with it and would not switch to Apple for any current reason. And the support I get from ATT tech has been great for years because I know or have a good idea of what problem is posing itself and I and them have never failed to work things through including a non-scheduled upgrade to the S4 from a Galaxy Express that had major charging difficulties. After trying three of the Express, they upgraded me. So if you are savvy with cell phones, I have found you get back what you give!

  • Pravin

    Yup that’s true… I own a note 2..i like the look and the slimness of the phone….the camera is good as well and does its job decently… The one thing I hate right now is touchwiz and the various service centre is its I had to made (in past 6 months I had got my display, motherboard, powerbutton replaced under ‘warranty’ ) … Touchwiz is just so laggy n sluggish all the time. I know I can root my phone n install a custom rom which would make it buttery smooth but from what I went through with hardware defects I wouldn’t dare to root it when still under warranty.. Samsung devices r very very prone to hardware n software defects

    • Kristijan Lučić

      I see we’ve had similar experiences with their devices, luckily mine were only software thus far. I really hope Samsung will pay more attention to details next time around. Ah… there’s always hope.

  • raj

    I totally agree with you….

    You know what… Sammy has started acting like nokia way…. And if this keeps going they will surely gonna loose a good market

    For example, moto g and moto e is a hit in country like India. People used to buy samsung coz this was the only little affordable brand available there. But the scenario is changing now. Home grown brands are becoming big and also big brands are coming closer to people.

    For samsung, yes their devices have started stinking.
    Touchwiz has started to look and feel like symbian.

    Bugs bugs and lots of bugs in every update.

    Their own repetitive softwares which no one wants to use but have to be kept in phone else they keep on asking you to update.

    Moreover… Confusing and n raise to power n number of models. Seems like for every innovation they release 10 prototypes.

    Aaah… So much to say…. Just last words… I have started hating my samsung device a lot when i see there are now better, affordable, faster, gorgeous and trendy smartphones available.

    • Kristijan Lučić

      Hehe, “So much to say”, that was a phrase that was going through my head throughout writing this article, I was unable to get it out of my head.
      I hope they’ll lose some market share in order to see what they’re doing wrong, although their marketing is so strong I really don’t know if that’s gonna happen anytime soon. People buy what you tell them to buy, most of them only know about iPhones and Samsung Galaxys, other phones, not so much. Every time someone asks me to recommend them a phone, and I do, they just look at me in a weird way because I didn’t say Galaxy or iPhone. Marketing is… ah, the devil hh.