Yesterday, during Samsung’s first Unpacked 2014 press conference, JK Shin, the company’s head of mobile, said something that would have seemed out of place during the ostentatious, Broadway-scale Galaxy S4 unveiling a year earlier. He said, “Our consumers don’t want the most eye-popping technology, and they don’t want the most complex technology. Our consumers want durable design and performance. They want a simple yet powerful camera. Our consumers want faster and seamless connectivity.” In other words, less is more.
This messaging contradicts everything we’ve come to learn about Samsung’s mobile operations since the release of the Galaxy S3 in 2012. For a long time, “complex” was de rigeur for TouchWIZ, Samsung’s Android skin. It was packed with confusing, little-used affectations, like eye tracking and air gestures, many of which worked inconsistently, if at all.
Shin went on to say that Samsung is “extremely grateful” to the 200 million Galaxy customers that have brought the company to the fore of the Android world. But he realizes that with immense competition, his company can no longer take for granted that these customers will come back, year after year. This contrition was a welcome turn from a company typically unabashed about its dominance. (more…)