It took an exploding phone for Samsung to do what it should have done ages ago
Until the Galaxy Note 7 became a fire hazard, Samsung has had two flagship lineups on the market since 2011, when the original Galaxy Note came out as a larger, more powerful upgrade to the Galaxy S2. Every year, the company introduces its newest hero device, in roughly four different color options. But as we regularly see, Samsung never makes it a point to make all those color options available in every market. The same goes for the higher storage models of Galaxy flagships, although the lack of storage options has never been a huge problem as more than one storage variant is mostly a new thing in Samsung’s smartphone lineup.
Apple, on the other hand, handles this perfectly. Every new iPhone becomes available in every color and storage option on the first day in every market where it goes on sale, and while it’s natural that some of these color and storage variants go out of stock due to high demand, Apple ensures that it puts them all out on the market. Yes, this can be attributed to the fact that the Cupertino company has only a single new iPhone (and, since 2014, two new iPhones) to sell an entire year, but it is nevertheless a good thing when it comes to consumer choice.
Sadly, it took an exploding phone – and the huge task of making do with a single flagship the entire year – for Samsung to do what it should have been doing for many years. Soon after ending production of the Galaxy Note 7 and announcing a global recall, Samsung announced that the Galaxy S7 edge would soon be coming out in Blue Coral, the attractive and extremely popular new color that was introduced with the Note 7. Initially, it looked like the Blue Coral S7 edge would be exclusive to a few markets, but we are now seeing the new color option appear in different markets with each passing day.
Then came the new Black Pearl S7 edge with 128GB of storage. We thought it would be exclusive to South Korea, but it has already gone on sale in India and should be making its way to other markets in the coming weeks. There are still a few countries where Samsung hasn’t launched the new color options, but it has certainly opened up availability to a wider audience than it had before the Note 7 was confirmed to be a ticking time bomb and taken off the shelves.
Why doesn’t Samsung always put every color option up for sale right on launch day? Well, the biggest reason we have heard is that the decision is taken based on consumer preference for a particular color in different markets (for example, India and Dubai were one of the few markets where the gold Note 7 was launched instead of the Blue Coral variant). Going by consumer preference certainly makes sense – it wouldn’t be a good financial decision to, say, launch the white variant of a flagship in a country and then see it sitting on store shelves because a majority of the consumer base prefers its smartphones in one of the other available colors.
I completely understand Samsung’s reasoning, but I think the company has been rather unfair with its customers. If I’m paying top dollar for a flagship smartphone, shouldn’t I be able to choose from every paint job (or storage variant) available? It doesn’t matter if the masses prefer a particular version – those in the minority with different tastes should also be catered to when it comes to spending upwards of $800 on a product. Why should a consumer in one market not have access to options available to consumers in other markets? We’re all paying a similarly high price, and it’s time Samsung started treating everyone equally.
The Galaxy Note 7 fiasco has caused a lot of problems for Samsung, but I can’t help but feel that the incident has also brought with it something positive. Right now, it’s the fact that Samsung is making more color options for the Galaxy S7 edge available to more people, even though the move isn’t useful for anyone who has already bought the device. The regular Galaxy S7 would also benefit from the same – the S7 edge might be more popular, but shouldn’t those opting for its flat sibling also get the same treatment?
Maybe the company is using the “one step at a time” notion here, but it would be great to see Samsung taking a leaf out of Apple’s book (one that actually matters) and making available every color option in each and every market where its future flagship smartphones go on sale. You know, make it a trend instead of doing it only when the need arises.
What do you think?