Hey Samsung, where’s your desire to innovate?

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Allow me to start by saying that I have always been a loyal Samsung fan. The whole reason why I started SamMobile is that I liked what the company did and how it strived for innovation in both hardware and software. It used to be evident that Samsung wanted to raise the bar for the competition and thus quickly brought new technologies to market. It’s not really doing that anymore and with Chinese manufacturers ramping up the competition, I’m starting to worry.

Consider this: Samsung can be credited with kickstarting the curved display renaissance with the Galaxy Note Edge which was launched in 2014. Granted, it was a limited edition concept device with a single curved edge, but it announced to the world that Samsung had the technological prowess to develop displays that seemed to effortlessly flow off of the side.

The company didn’t take long to introduce an improved version of its curved display. It launched the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge only a few months later in early 2015 and the latter had a dual-edge curved display that was unlike anything found on the market back then. Samsung had initially thought that customers might prefer the Galaxy S6 over the Galaxy S6 edge because the latter was priced higher but even it was caught by surprise when the market exhibited an immense demand for the model with the curved display. It was what drove people to purchase Samsung’s new flagship as the company as no other major manufacturer was offering such a device.

The following year, Samsung further refined the display for the Galaxy S7 edge but by then curved panels were commonplace and some players had moved on to blaze another trail. Xiaomi introduced the Mi Mix in 2016 which had a taller 17:9 aspect ratio display and very slim bezels. The device had an 83.6 percent screen-to-body ratio which wasn’t the norm at that point in time. Obscure smartphone manufacturers like Sharp had also jumped on the bandwagon but Samsung made us wait until 2017 when it introduced the 18.5:9 aspect ratio bezel-less Infinity Display with the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, the 6.2-inch model boasted a screen-to-body ratio of 84 percent. There’s absolutely no doubt in the fact that the Galaxy S8 is one of the most beautiful devices that the company has ever made but Samsung was widely seen to be following an industry trend by then instead of setting one.

Then came the iPhone X last year. It was Apple’s first smartphone to feature an OLED display and as expected, the panel was supplied by Samsung. It’s a state-of-the-art OLED panel made by Samsung Display with 458 pixels per inch which Apple coupled with Precision Display Calibration that it developed to get the most out of the panel. It even delivered record high full-screen brightness for OLED smartphones of 634 nits compared to 560 nits on the Galaxy Note 8 with automatic brightness and that too only in high ambient light.

Apple was expected to pull out all the stops for its 10th anniversary iPhone and it certainly did that. The company added a notch to the beautiful display where the 3D sensing technology was housed for its Face ID facial recognition system. Samsung may have introduced iris scanning with the Galaxy S8 but Apple’s biometric security solution was far superior in that it used a dot projector to emit more than 30,000 invisible dots on the user’s face to build a unique 3D facial map. The infrared camera then analyzed the dot pattern and captured an infrared photo of the face which was transferred to a secure enclave on the A11 Bionic chipset to register a new face or confirm a match. It even added a flood illuminator that emits invisible infrared light so that Face ID could even work in the dark.

The advanced components enabled Apple to offer novelties such as Animoji which are animated emojis that replicate the user’s facial movements. Samsung introduced a similar feature with the Galaxy S9 called AR Emoji and while the company swears it didn’t copy the feature from Apple, anyone who has used it so far will attest that it leaves a lot to be desired.

Apple bested Samsung in terms of hardware and even software innovation when it released the iPhone X last year. DxOMark branded it as the best smartphone for still photography with a score of 101 which was higher than the Galaxy Note 8 but a slightly lower result for video meant that the Galaxy Note 8 still had a higher overall score. Samsung responded with the Galaxy S9 which has a better display and captured the top spot in DxOMark’s camera rankings. It received the best-ever score of 104 for still photography putting it comfortably ahead of the iPhone X.

The fact remains, though, that Samsung was merely responding to the moves that its rivals were making in the market. It seems that somewhere along the way Samsung decided that it was okay to be a follower than a leader. This has resulted in Chinese OEMs eyeing the void that it has left behind. Just yesterday, Huawei launched a new smartphone that shows how it has thought outside the box to bring a triple camera setup to smartphones. It hasn’t just slapped a third sensor onto a dual-camera system, it’s actually much more sophisticated than that and it works. Merely two weeks after it was released, the Galaxy S9 is no longer the benchmark for smartphone cameras on DxOMark, that title now rests with the Huawei P20 Pro. It outscored all of its rivals including the Galaxy S9/S9+ with its overall score of 109 points.

The point I’m making is simple. In the past, Samsung’s desire to innovate was evident. You could see that the company wanted to raise the bar for the competition in the camera, hardware and even the screen-to-body ratio department. Its efforts were more than just a response to achieve slightly more than what its rivals had. While many expected that we’d see that side of the company again when it would become the first major OEM to bring in-display fingerprint sensors to market, as it turns out, Samsung has also missed the boat on that. Not only did little-known (at least in the West) OEM Vivo become the first to ship a smartphone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, Huawei’s collaboration with Porsche Design has yielded the Porsche Design Mate RS which features a fingerprint sensor in the display.

We’re already approaching peak smartphone design because there’s only so much you can change on a device that’s almost all display on the front. It’s high time that Samsung emerges as the OEM that will lead the conversation on where smartphone design goes from here. Samsung loyalists are banking on its much-rumored foldable smartphone ambitions for that but it’s still unclear when the company will introduce the Galaxy X. Chinese OEMs are already trying their luck with this form factor as well and they’ll certainly not wait around for Samsung to make its move. It doesn’t help that the company says it’s no longer obsessed with being the first in the world to bring new technologies to market.

I know that this seems like a bleak picture but I’m not losing faith just yet, keeping fingers crossed for Samsung to step up again and show that it’s much more than just a follower, that it can dictate the market because of its innovative technologies. It will hopefully raise the bar higher for the competition and make it difficult for them to compete. A follower isn’t an innovator and I really don’t want Samsung be the former.

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bgpuccia2987
19 days 18 hours ago
bgpuccia2987

It’s funny that you mention the chinese OEM’s. Last week my cousin purchased the Huawei Mate 10 lite, which is on of the company’s midrange devices, and to be honest, that phone has nothing to envy my Galaxy S8+, which is a flagship. Keeping in mind that the Mate 10 lite was released just a few months passed the S8. Hopefully Sammy blows us all away with the next flagship (S10? SX?).

25 days 2 hours ago
RaOne31
We must remember the fact that the very reason why Apple even bothered with a “Plus” and a “X” model was to compete with the Galaxies and the Notes. Not only that, even Google included a couple Touchwiz features with Oreo and if any other feature had been included in the past ….i don’t know. Thats a significant contribution by a mobile oem company to change the way “all” mobile users use their devices even if they don’t like android or samsung or etc. I would buy samsung simply for its industry leading display and giving me a “no” compromise… Read more »
25 days 9 hours ago
Steve Wahlen

The Note 7 represented Samsung’s greatest leap in innovation and with everything that transpired with that device, I think it is there that Samsung lost its desire to innovate.

Bobbingalong
25 days 12 hours ago
Bobbingalong
Definitely agree that Samsung has shifted direction with the s9 as this is just a small increment to achieve ‘just enough’ to compete with apple. Well only the s9+. Very disappointing they made the best size phone inferior to make a bigger profit. They are relying on them being the apple if the android world and that it’s a brand people gravitate towards. But they forget that the Chinese OEM are catching up and providing options that are actually better than the s flagships. The Porsche mate rs is a beautiful piece of kit and this is what the s9… Read more »
ironbat
25 days 13 hours ago
ironbat

I agree with you.

digvijayshinde
25 days 18 hours ago
digvijayshinde
Previous people were like, Samsung does too much in features department which results in lags…. And now when Samsung is stabilising it’s smartphones, they are exactly like this article. Many people forget what’s actually in Samsung phones. They provide the BEST ALL ROUND SMARTPHONE. Take S9, it has water proofing, SD card slot, dual sim, stereo speakers, best display on any smartphone, top end processors, dex, VR, 64gb base storage, iris scanning, one of the most innovative camera system, heart rate sensor, blood pressure sensor, wireless charging, 3.5mm jack, stereo audio recorder, one of the best earphone out of the… Read more »
JSH1973
25 days 17 hours ago
JSH1973

couldn’t have said it better, thank you.
Note 8 user here and most likely also going to get the Note 9 once they morph S9+ and N8 and then better it a bit, it will murder all competition in the top end flagship segment

Shenoysiddhant
25 days 14 hours ago
Shenoysiddhant

Wish the same could be said in the software department

Galaxy Notice
25 days 6 hours ago
Galaxy Notice

Exactly. And people are still complaining! Smh

25 days 1 hour ago
RaOne31

I think people are just following a “herd” mentality here. One reviewer says so and every guy does a ctrl+c with modifications.
Every year reviewers say “Oh, chinese oem offers the same stuff at 200$, 400$ and which phone you find in their pocket? a 1000$ smartphone”

So let’s cut the crap and move on.

fcaroll
25 days 13 seconds ago
fcaroll

It’s not features that create lag, it’s software non-optimization. You can appreciate samsung’s lag even on the less feature packed mid range Samsung phones. The new models (even flagships) lack the good old hardware features but still have lots of bloatware that is kept active too (for example somebody please tell me what the hell is “fresco intelligence service”)

25 days 19 hours ago
Futures Wave

Seems more like a hater than a Samsung fan. IPhone been releasing same bs for years and now your crying about the iPhone x

25 days 19 hours ago
James Wii U 3DS

DxO is not reliable at all. They give an absolute value on a mix of facts and subjective criterias, and do not disclose their procedure.

Otherwise I agree. See TouchWiz. You used to have a HUGE update each year with a fully new UI. But since GraceUX… The same can be said for the hardware.

Innovation has slowed down. They did do a lot with the M3 cores last year, but not much else.

tswfootball
25 days 19 hours ago
tswfootball

I honestly think Samsung deliberately slowed down huge changes on the s9, so that next years 10th galaxy s phone would come across as “revolutionary”.

Its sort of like Apple did with the iphone 7, they only focused on the camera(by adding dual sensors), so that when the iPhone X released it felt like a complete overhaul.

keithsanantonio
25 days 19 hours ago
keithsanantonio
Come to think of it. Samsung just consider their profits this past days thats why they are focusing more on polishing their products rather than taking risk on new innovations. Remember, Chinese manufacturers can offer phones at lower prices. Most of the consumers prefer to buy good phone with cheaper price rather than innovative phone with higher price. Here in the Philippines before, samsung dominates the market. But when chinese smartphone manufacturer enter the market, it started fall. Most of the consumers here says..”looks like an apple phone, but cheaper and almost same features” other says “oppo/vivo also have those… Read more »
Shenoysiddhant
25 days 14 hours ago
Shenoysiddhant

With the amount that they (samsung)use for R&D they can find ways to reduce the cost rather than increasing it every year for no reason

Mario387
25 days 20 hours ago
Mario387
No company in a competitive environment stays on top all the time. To me it looks like they are in a holding pattern waiting for new tech to become available or mature enough. So they are mostly working on materials, design and improvements. Things like better batteries, foldable screens etc. Iris scanner and apple’s face scanner are nice but also still more gimmick than revolutionary. Fingerprint is a lot more versatile. The one year development cycle ain’t helping much either, they have to come like clockwork. They can’t take half a year extra to let things mature, or work on… Read more »
o0MHJ0o
25 days 20 hours ago
o0MHJ0o
Say what you want about the iPhone X display, its still not a sAMOLED panel like Samsung makes for its own – it can get as bright as it wants but I haven’t had a problem with brightness since before the Galaxy S4. Its colour and adaptive display to content is beyond anyone else – something people are overlooking more and more, which is confusing because a smartphone IS a display so why is having the best display not important anymore?! They do not want to innovate anymore because for the most part it brought them bad press. they finished… Read more »
25 days 1 hour ago
RaOne31

well said. the latest in line of giimicks is the industry first “dual aperture camera setup”….till the fruit company includes it in it’s apple pie in 2020.

FatalTragedy
25 days 20 hours ago
FatalTragedy

“Obscure smartphone manufacturers like Sharp had also jumped on the bandwagon”
Obviously you don’t know that Sharp was the first company to offer this type of display with the Sharp Aquos XX in the 2013.

Adnan F.
25 days 20 hours ago
Adnan F.

Obscure in the sense that Sharp handsets aren’t well known globally.

n900mixalot
25 days 21 hours ago
n900mixalot
Never mind their major strides in VR, the S-Pen, the Dex dock, hardware control through Bixby, and all they have done with TouchWiz to build onto Android. Oh, and doing it all while keeping expandable storage and recovering from the Note 7. And if the iPhone X is what you guys consider “pulling out all of the stops,” I don’t know why I’m even here. I understand challenging those we appreciate in order to try to drive them to do better, but this ain’t it. Right now, Samsung is the ONLY one innovating. There is no doubt about that. You’re… Read more »
25 days 21 hours ago
Chris Banks

Speak on it

25 days 19 hours ago
mtbrown262626

Well said mate he say he’s a loyal Samsung fan that b.s. he’s a loyal Samsung hater and there are a good few of the at sammobile like that I’m trying to get all my Samsung information from somewhere other than sammobile as this is what they are becoming and quite a few of them are so much of a loyal Samsung fan that the have IPhones lol.

Martin R.
24 days 17 hours ago
Martin R.

I can tell you now that Danny is a really big Samsung fan. And we all use Samsung phones here at SamMobile.. It is mandatory for working here.

Galaxy Notice
25 days 6 hours ago
Galaxy Notice

Preach!!

Ishan Rishminda
25 days 21 hours ago
Ishan Rishminda

Hell yeah… cmon samsung.. giveus something fresh

HossamAlMasri
25 days 21 hours ago
HossamAlMasri

well said

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