If you haven’t realized yet, Samsung makes a lot of phones and despite potential ups and downs, they still lead the smartphone rivalry by an immense percentage. Sales blasted off with affordable Android handsets and massive “phablets” customers started buying over feature phones as time passed by. Their smartphone line-up has encountered several iterations throughout the journey, the latest flagship being the seventh generation. However, not every product the Korean giant released was received well by the crowd. Software issues, poor design materials were some of the major shortcomings faced by their Galaxy smartphones.

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OEMs usually face a tragic downfall in the industry as soon as customers start deviating their minds to other brands. That mostly happens when a company messes up a year with a disappointing launch. Some of the most talked about instances include the declining performance of Sony, HTC, LG and then some more. These droppings, although, can be related to the sudden of Chinese giants with stupendously cheap products. But how come Samsung never reached a dismissing point in the recent years and even if they did, how are they still holding up strong despite receiving negative criticism for their budget handset series? Furthermore, why no other manufacturer is able to regain the lost image by fixing the things they got wrong with the previous generation?

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Maintaining Customer Satisfaction Instead of the Wow Factor

If you look at the current smartphone scenario, in the majority of cases, manufacturers instead of continuing with features customers liked, opt for something more unique just to stand out. That isn’t particularly a terrible thing but it does make a significant impact when they have to sacrifice functionalities that are actually responsible for users acknowledging their products in the first place. Even if that has led to a horrible revenue quarter, chances are that you won’t see it returning. HTC disregarded those front firing Boomsound speakers, LG has been experimenting with designs every year and god know why Sony never actually released a flagship that didn’t inherit problems from the previous ones. Samsung has also been criticized for making mistakes, however, those problems never persisted into the consequent generations.

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Learning From the Previous Pitfalls

The crucial strategy Samsung follows every year is that if the last flagship phone forecasted positive revenue charts, lineup upgrades will remain minimal and if it didn’t, chances are you’ll see an extensive revision. To provide a backbone here, let’s take a look at Samsung’s flagship history. The Galaxy S3 was a grand success, hence the S4 was just a hardware upgrade. The latter too was a successful product, therefore the S5 sustained nothing substantial. The Galaxy S5, however, wasn’t a popular device as customers started preferring better-designed phones and the software started fading due to an overly cluttered interface. Samsung took the hint and presented the entirely reimagined Galaxy S6 with an all-glass design. Unfortunately, they gave up potential features like waterproofing, respectable battery life, and SD card support to manifest those changes. Profits were on the lower side, as a result, the Galaxy S7 maintained the same philosophy applied with the S6 but additionally, brought back all those lost elements. Even the Note series follows the same guidelines which in turn has proven successful so far for them – Note 3 was a failure led by the Note 4 that inherited a revamped look and then the Note 5 which sported minimal upgrades living up to the success of the former edition.

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How good this move proved for Samsung? The Korean giant has exceeded expectations and reported a massive profit of $7.4 Billion throughout Q2 2016 caused primarily by the triumph the S7 series has brought for them. In retrospect, Samsung’s last record-breaking quarter was 2013 past S4’s launch. Following that, they had seven disappointing declining sessions throughout the year till 2015 and S6’s launch. Their global market share too faced a massive drought and has reached dropped to 21% from 32% earlier. Fortunately, Samsung has managed to rise again establishing a powerful product lineup in 2016.

Constant Budget Launches to Fight the Chinese Wave

Samsung has constructed their roots in numerous fields, however, smartphones have been always the core pushforward customers look forward to every year. Part of this is due to the fact they ignited the whole Android smartphone race replacing iPhones as the first choice for buyers. The company, however, does suffer a lot in the budget smartphone which is now taken over by aggressive Chinese entrants recently. They have been, though, reorganizing their low-end product lineup constantly in order to stand straight in the market. The J series does manage to perform well mainly benefiting from offline sales and an astonishingly better as well as working customer service that regular customers prefer over anything else. I’ve been approached by people stating they want a good phone and at the same time, don’t want to wait two months for a cracked display to get fixed. Additionally, they’ve tried to emphasize on region-specific features, for instance, the S Bike mode that lets bikers respond to incoming alerts without actually attending them while driving.

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The mid-budget “A” lineup was also refreshed with Samsung’s new design policies and in spite of poor reviews, smartphones from this series actually produce positive revenues primarily through offline retail stores. While keeping these annual upgrades disposed of, Samsung usually experiments with new additions which are followed on to almost product in the chain if received well. They recently introduced the Galaxy J2 2016 edition that brings a unique approach to the notification light featuring a configurable “Smart Glow” LED ring that wraps around the rear lens.

Samsung pursues goals that don’t comprise of dominating others, they mostly aim at keeping their customers satisfied. If that requires them to innovate, they do so and if it doesn’t, they don’t. Simple as that. Of course, this is what I’ve been noticing since a year or so after their popularity gained momentum again. After all, this is the only Android leader that has been able to generate and maintain respectable numbers despite the onset of affordable products from new brands. It will definitely interesting to watch how they pick it up from here and what they’ve for us with the upcoming Note7 launch.


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Shubham is based out of Ahmedabad, India and is studying to be a Computer Engineer, while specializing in mobile applications. He loves covering what's new in the smartphone space and aims to make it his primary profession some day.