If you are using an Android-based smartphone for a long time then there are strong chances that you have owned a Samsung phone. They still own about a quarter of the world’s smartphone share. This may be due to their strong marketing which may have caught your attention or the fact that they have various phones in different price ranges. In fact in the West, Android phones are synonymous with Samsung phones. Personally, my first Android device too was a Samsung Galaxy S2 which I didn’t really like. At first, I thought it was more about not liking Android but after using phones like the Nexus 5, I realized its more to do with Samsung’s bloatware (which I shall explain later in this article).
Today Samsung’s sales have declined big time. Their latest flagship, the Galaxy S5 didn’t sell much as its predecessor and the company had to catastrophically reduce its price to boost sales. There were even reports that Micromax has officially taken over them as the number one smartphone seller in India (but Samsung has rubbished this claim). Also, what isn’t helping them is that their old-time nemesis Apple has brought out big-screen phones which are selling like hot cakes in the Asian markets where Samsung has dominance. So here are the things Samsung needs to do to get back in the game. (Good news is that they are already doing some) —
Better built phones
It’s obvious that if you are paying around Rs.40,000 / $650 for a phone, you want it to feel and look good. Unfortunately, Samsung didn’t pay attention to that for the longest time. They have received a lot of criticism for making their phones out of plastic which also included their flagship models. Take a look at the Galaxy S5 for instance; it is mind-boggling how a successor can have thicker bezels and a worse design than the one before it, the Galaxy S4.
This was while their competitors boasted of phones made out of aluminum and glass. It is great that Samsung is now finally making phones with a better build quality. Their latest flagship, the Note 4 and even the Galaxy Alpha and the cheaper A series have chamfered metal edges and look premium.
Cut down on number of models
There are around 70 phones that Samsung currently sells in India and this number keeps on increasing. Having so many phones confuses the customer and he/she may not be sure as to what to buy. It also doesn’t make any particular product stand out. Also, in an attempt to make their high-end models look good, the low-end products often get saddled with mediocre hardware. On the other hand, for a company like Xiaomi which makes very few but aggressively feature-packed phones, even the Redmi 1S which costs just Rs. 7,000 is a hero product. Samsung said that they would cut down their line up by 30% but it doesn’t seem so as in the past 4 months they have launched around 10 phones in India. The entire PriceBaba team took hours to create the following graphic that tried to help people decide on the better Samsung phone.
Samsung’s skin TouchWiz that runs on top of Android on their phones may offer a lot of features, but most of the time many users find it annoying and not of much use. But even worse, this added bloat has successfully helped make many a Samsung phone laggy to a point of frustration as the years pass by (the Galaxy Grand is one of the prime examples). It is probably one of the biggest reasons why people foam in the mouth at the sound of Samsung’s TouchWiz. The other downside of adding so much bloatware is delayed software updates. When Android releases a new version, it would take Samsung a long time to make TouchWiz compatible with it. Now imagine creating that version for each and every model in their portfolio and by now you’ve probably figured out that many models may never get an update. Rumors suggest that Samsung may be unbundling TouchWiz in its newer phones. So now a user can delete those unnecessary, repetitive apps that come preinstalled with the phone and this is a step in the right direction.
Offer value for money
There was a time when Samsung offered the best value for money phones at a reasonable price (the Galaxy S i9000 vs iPhone 4 battle of 2010 comes to mind). Nowadays companies like Motorola, Asus, etc. are offering phones with lower prices, and that makes most Samsung phones look overpriced. For e.g, here is a comparison of the specs of the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime and the Asus Zenfone 5.
Both the phones cost around the same but the Zenfone 5 has way better specs. The same goes for the Galaxy Grand Prime where similarly priced Moto G beats it in almost every aspect. It’s high time that Samsung stops taking consumers for granted. Nowadays people are smarter and don’t blindly go in for well-established brands. They are ready to try out phones by relatively newer companies if it offers them much more.
As mentioned above, Samsung is already taking some measures to woo customers. It is obvious that one cannot expect the company to completely reboot and do things differently. But I believe such steps in the right direction should help Samsung regain its lost credibility in the past two years.
Guest post by Criselle Lobo. Criselle is an Associate Editor at PriceBaba.com. She is an IT graduate who spends most of her time writing on technology and remaining to watch movies.