When Samsung finally became a major player in the smartphone arena, it was with the original Galaxy S phone. The Galaxy S blatantly copied the iPhone’s shape and launcher design. By doing that, they launched themselves onto the forefront of the Android phone market.

The Galaxy S, while somewhat copying the design of the iPhone, brought a larger 4″ screen, removable battery, and expandable memory to the table. This made Samsung the first real competitor to Apple in the smartphone arena.

This continued on as Samsung brought software enhancements to the table with each successive device launch. In late 2011, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note and forever changed the face of the smartphone market. The Dell streak was technically the first phablet, but it wasn’t until the Note, that the large screen phablet market blew wide open.

Samsung moved away from the iPhone styling and began to make their phones distinct. Their phones became faster and their screens grew larger. Their advertising focused on the things that the Galaxy phones could do that the iPhone could not. More importantly, their profits soared sky high.

Fast forward to present day. The Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 sales are not quite up to par. 5 straight months of declining sales have wiped out $40 billion in Samsung’s market value. Their smartphone shipments have been reduced by more than 3 percentage points. They also lose their top spot in China, which is the world’s largest cell phone market.

Samsung’s reaction to all this is to cut 10% of their employees at their headquarters in Seoul. They will focus primarily on workers in their human resources, public relations, and finance departments. As of June 30, 2015, Samsung had nearly 100,000 employees at their headquarters. Do the math. Almost 10,000 people will lose their jobs.

Samsung headquarters.jpg

So what changed? What happened that Samsung would fall so far and so fast that they would need to make such drastic changes? I would propose that Samsung has a selling problem, not so much a spending problem, and why aren’t they selling? I would guess that it has something to do with alienating their core fan base. I was a pretty strong Samsung fan and advocate, but two things happened.

The first was that my Samsung Galaxy Note II on T-Mobile was stuck on Android 4.2 Jellybean at the same time that other phones were already getting Android 5.0 Lollipop. The Note II, as all the Note phones have been, was very expensive, yet Samsung a year later comes out with the Note 3 and forgets about everyone who purchased the Note II. After all why release Lollipop or even KitKat when the consumer could just spend more on the newest model?

The second was that Samsung removed 2 huge features that Samsung’s fan base had grown to love. Those 2 features were the removable battery and the expandable memory. I understand why they did it. They had positioned themselves as the premium Android phone, but their devices lacked the finesse and build quality of the iPhone and even other Android phones. So in trying to compete with build quality, they alienated a large part of their fanbase, including myself.

In my opinion, Samsung needs to return to their roots. There is no reason why they can’t offer another version of the Note 5 or S6 with an expandable memory slot and a removable battery. This way they can cater to the iPhone crowd while not alienating their original fan base.

This was originally supposed to be a news piece and it morphed into an editorial hybrid of sorts. You may have a different opinion. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

via Bloomberg

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  1. I like having a microSD slot – but the replaceable battery is something I really want to have. I’m not the kind of person who does the “ooh, shiny!” thing and replaces his phone at the drop of a hat – I only do so when the phone can’t do something I really want to (like access LTE). That happens less often than a battery’s performance becomes unacceptable – and being able to slip my phone out of its case, open the back and pop in a fresh new battery is a wonderful thing. In fact, I just recently did that with my Samsung Galaxy S4… which replaced the S2 I had previously.

    Now that carriers are dropping subsidies and more people are having to face what these amazing portable computers actually cost – I suspect there will be more people like me hanging on to perfectly functional phones longer … if they can refresh the battery when needed, for a reasonable price. I wouldn’t even mind if I couldn’t actually do it myself, but had to go to an authorized tech who could do it for ~$40 (labor and battery) in 10 minutes while I waited.

    • For me, it’s the opposite. I can deal with the battery if I have my Micro SD. Unfortunately, Samsung axed both from their current line up.

      • What you really need microSD card for, Austin? Lack of free space? You can transfer the largest files to your PC/laptop or buy a 128GB USB Flash drive + OTG cable and transfer over there. This is how I would deal with Note 5. So, the micro SD card is actually replaceable. I have my flash drive always in my pocket and 3″ OTG cable as well. But when you’re somewhere without power outlet and your phone is at 5-10% – this is where you wish you had a replaceable battery. I think the battery is priority number one, while the micro SD slot is number two.

        • I don’t really want to give up either one. I suppose if it came down to it I could live without the sd card. I mostly like the ability to switch to a new phone and have all my pictures and videos handy.

    • It seems impossible that Samsung is cutting jobs or impossible for Samsung to cater to both their fan base and the iPhones fan base?

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