Samsung’s Design Language

I found this fantastic comment made by someone under the username “lilmoe”. The guy points out the efficiency of the company, it’s policy of practicality over design, Samsung’s underrated innovations, media bias, and much more. This comment was made in “The Verge” website under an article about the Samsung Galaxy S6.

“Samsung is the fastest to respond to market demands. Their corporate culture is a very focused and disciplined. They are one of the top 5 spenders on R&D and most innovative companies that supply the best in class components. Their latest Galaxy is the first to come in Samsung’s own QHD SAMOLED, 14nm process, UFS 2.0 storage, and LPDDR4 memory. Other companies tout innovations by othermanufacturers as their own and gives them fancy names to mislead consumers, not Samsung. Their enterprise/security solutions are best in class as well, and used by key governments and enterprises.

The problem, my friend, is misleading articles, tech-blogs, TV programs/shows, other media outlets, and false general conception.
Consumers are being mislead into thinking that metal = premium, and form > function. They’re being mislead that a company who’s employees have great respect or even “fear” of their boss is “weird” and bad thing. They’re being mislead in thinking that other companies have a single god-set figure responsible for design. A culture isn’t wrong because it’s different than what you’re used to. But sadly, the “different” therefore “evil” card is being played skillfully by veteran and ^wannabe journalists.

What people don’t hear is that the BoM of flagship Galaxies is higher than those of competitor devices built with full metal, despite Samsung being a component manufacturer/supplier (which should logically influence lower costs).

Galaxy devices are anything but cheap. The plastics/polymers used are NOT flimsy. Flexible =/= flimsy. This is equivalent to saying that carbon fiber if flexible, therefore flimsy, and therefore cheap. This demonstrates the great lack of knowledge (and/or misleading intent) of said media outlets. This is a mobile device with 4+ radio antennas running simultaneously. Plastics and polymers are the best complement for that functionality. That’s a fact that Samsung tried to truthfully convey numerous times. Not once did they say it was the consumer’s fault. Here’s a little piece of information you might find interesting; SAR levels emitted by Galaxy devices are far lower than competing devices. No one talks about that.

Flagship Galaxy devices have always been equipped with the BEST components. Not only the latest SoCs, but actually the best and most expensive Screens, RAM, NAND flash, batteries, camera modules, etc. What other super-sized smartphone has a Wacom digitizer?? (surely not the more expensive competitors).

Samsung’s design language (post-GS3) was focused on being neutral/non-offensive. No one minds their design because it’s “safe”. No one minded plastics. Until recently, because of all the uncalled for criticism of these materials.

No one minded Touchwiz except authors and the comments section. Normal consumers actually preferred it over Stock and other skins from Sony and HTC. It can be argued that LG (the second largest AndroidOEM) has built its skin very similar to Touchwiz, and that’s for a reason.

What Samsung realizes now isn’t that the people want “better materials”, it’s that the vast majority of the non-well-informed want to be mislead into thinking that they have a premium device with a “premium” build. They’re doing that now, except in a actually more sturdy build, using harder metal alloys, harder glass, and a yet-to-be-seen more robust design. Similarities? Sure, how else can you drill holes in an aluminum frame at the bottom for a speaker (since consumers didn’t like the previous speaker placement on the back and Samsung is responding to that). Front facing speakers introduce a huge burden in internal design of the phone and they were trying to avoid that. How else would you build a non-polarizing design (which by the way screams “Samsung” in the front and back)? You quickly run out of design options you know… The iPhone isn’t as “iconic” in design as others want you to believe (well, except for the circular home button I guess?), it’s a very generic non-offensive, non-polarizing design distinguished by the visible elements of its simple components. It’s a great design, yes, but not “iconic”. Timeless is the word you’re looking for here. It’s not easy to build a design that appeals to the (non-niche) mass market, and designs that target the same segment are fated to look the same in most aspects. Take a look at mass market luxury sedans as a good example. If anything (throwing bias out the window), the iPhone 6 looks more similar to Samsung’s of the past couple of years than it does to other iPhones. Previous iPhones had more “Sony” vibe.

Thanks to all the previous nonconstructive criticism, Samsung got rid of everything that hinders design and performance. No more removable battery (for design’s sake), no SD card (for performance’ sake). They kept a glass back for better antenna reception and the added universal wireless charging feature. They also complemented the lack of SD with 32GB standard (which is a nice touch). Samsung has arguably the best Smartphone in 2015. They’ve outdone themselves in every aspect and then some.

We should leave our bias at home this time and commend Samsung for a job well done. The Galaxy S is back strong and has shut a lot of mouths.”