Opinion

Samsung has gone crazy with its budget smartphone lineup

So, the Galaxy On8 launched in the Indian market today. Last week, the Galaxy On (2016) lineup was announced in China. A few days before that, India saw the launch of the Galaxy J5 Prime and the Galaxy J7 Prime. These are a lot of devices to launch in a month, but then it’s something we have gotten used to when it comes to the Korean giant. Except now, Samsung seems to have lost the plot completely and is making a mess of its budget smartphone lineups.

Take a look at this conversation I had with my SamMobile colleague earlier in the day, discussing exactly where the Galaxy On8 stands:

samsung-budget-confusing

Do you see how confused we were? It’s a telling sign of how logic or planning no longer dictates how the company goes about making its smartphones if Samsung can confuse those who write about its devices every day. The Galaxy On8 is a rebranded Galaxy J7 (2016), rebranded because the On series is only sold online and it would have been impossible to do so if Samsung had kept the Galaxy J title. The Galaxy On8 is also a Galaxy J7 Prime with an AMOLED display replacing the latter’s LCD display. Meanwhile, the Galaxy On5 (2016) and Galaxy On7 (2016) launched in China are simply the J5 Prime and J7 Prime under different names.

I know what some people are thinking: What’s wrong with rebranding devices and selling them off as different options in different markets? Well, nothing much, except Samsung has also forgotten what each lineup used to stand for. The Galaxy J series, for example, was supposed to be all about the Super AMOLED display, while the Galaxy On series had LCD displays and considerably lower price tag. Now, the Galaxy J5 and J7 Prime mean the J series also has LCD displays, and the On series has moved on to Samsung’s excellent Super AMOLED panels.

Indian retailer Flipkart even lists the Galaxy On8 with the Galaxy J7 (2016)’s model number, so it is purely a name change. Before you start wondering why Samsung didn’t simply drop the J7 (2016)’s price, I should point out that it has to do with the online-only availability of the On series. Taking brick and mortar stores out of the equation means Samsung can aim for a lower price without cutting down on features or hardware. In that regard, it is actually good that the On8 exists, as consumers can opt for the same specs offered by the J7 (2016) – which is the most feature-packed Samsung smartphone in India under $250 – for a lesser price.

But rather than working on offering consumers as great a proposition as it can at different price points, Samsung is just haphazardly launching devices with varying names and slightly varying prices. There is apparently no clear aim, and it’s a good sign that Samsung’s penchant for letting its subsidiaries in different countries operate in a vacuum is making things go out of hand. Maybe this is all the company can do if it intends to stay relevant in a segment that is overrun by Chinese manufacturers offering excellent smartphones at ultra affordable prices, but Samsung really needs to create a game plan instead of throwing things at a wall and seeing what sticks.

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sammobilerockz
sammobilerockz

I was telling the same thing on PhoneArena in the comments section before this article was even written.

In here – Comment #8

http://www.phonearena.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-On8-goes-official-with-5.5-inch-AMOLED-octa-core-processor-and-more_id85865/comments

gtone339
gtone339

What happened to Letter labelling scheme for low-to-mid range devices now? Thought Samsung wanted to simplify their smartphone line lineup?

papashex
papashex

The product line is far too fragmented. While they try to develop differing products (to suck every penny out of every segment) we are starting to see some commonality of components across the board for manufacturing efficiencies that leaves many models indistinguishable from the others, and customers totally confused. I was very disappointed to find the Note 7 simply a S7 edge with a pen (and battery capacity reduced to accommodate it). After being a loyal user since the Captivate days I’m moving on. I was happy to have an excuse to return my Note 7 with no harm, no… Read more »

Jias5
Jias5

Samsung should stick with Note, S, A, J series. And only 1 variant of the note, 2 of S (normal and edge), and 3 for A and J (3, 5, 7).

akshay roy
akshay roy

Cant blame samsung because they love to experiment

androidisawsome
androidisawsome

What about the A series it’s still kind of a budget phone..

manojmcn
manojmcn

What so ever happened to the E series?
Yes the J & On models have been confusing and even more so with the On8.
I get a feeling that they do not care about the overlap as long as sales are there.
May be because On is meant just for online sales and not supposed to be a lower spec’d variant to J series. Also sales persons in shop do not have to deal with On models.
Still confused? Don’t worry, J8 may be around the corner with same spec as On8 and a LCD display 😛

s2insider
s2insider

Few years ago I always thought to myself that all Samsung budget smartphone lineup was getting too crazy. They should stick to the S and Note series and improve it. It cause the software development division team to handle firmware on many devices and why they don’t even release each firmware at the same time world wide. Maybe not the same time but not as 2 months like this. I see most major country get the firmware update upon release but my country took 2 months of waiting to get it on every devices.

eHoolie
eHoolie

Why cant they stick with three and that’s it? Note, S series and some sort of low cost device. It would be much more cost effective to support said devices for security patches and general updates. They’re spreading themselves and their resources too thin imo.

n900mixalot
n900mixalot

Samsung is going to dig itself into a hole it can’t get out of. It’s really simple. They should copy Apple’s simplification strategy, but no. They’d rather lie about how they are streamlining, then do the exact opposite.

I still say if they had ONE Note7 variant, the whole recall would have been ten times easier and quicker, and less expensive.

As wonderful as their phones are, they are obviously complete fools as far as running their mobile division, and so far thy have been VERY lucky. But their luck is running out..