It’s been only a few weeks since the release of Samsung’s latest flagship devices, the Galaxy S5 and the Note 3, and already the repercussions of their tried and tested design are being felt. When it comes to mobile phone designs, users want something gorgeous, sleek and unique, none of which the S5 seems to be. The device has been criticised for its lack of visual appeal and this is mostly due to the new textured plastic backs.
Could this be why Chang Dong Hoon handed in his resignation? He has since been replaced by Lee Min Hyouk as of May 1. Although Chang is no longer Head of Design, he will still oversee the company-wide design strategies, while Lee will focus solely on mobile. This means that for the first time since the S3’s release two years ago, the Galaxy and Note ranges might actually get a proper design facelift in their next iterations.
This change seems to have been largely prompted after the mobile giant posted its lowest sales totals in five quarters. The design and lack of desirability could be two of the main factors contributing to this development, but the effect of the rise of various Chinese producers should not be underestimated either.
According to Nam dae Jong – analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities Co. in Seoul – “The latest replacement shows how much Samsung wants to give a significant makeover on its handset strategy, the hardware innovation and function upgrades are failing to stir consumer excitement.” This is backed up by the fact that the mobile division of Samsung (also the company’s biggest revenue stream) fell to $32 billion for the quarter that ended in March, the lowest since December 31, 2012.