It wasn't long ago that Apple's iPhone began receiving criticism of its design. Many would even argue it's just recently reached a tipping point. Yes, most believe Apple's main struggle was on the software front, but that hardware is definitely held back as a result. And in terms of build, there's a new kid on the block facing the same issues: Samsung's Galaxy brand.
Android has claimed its first victim in requiring a hardware redesign. No Android manufacturer comes close to the amount of criticism that's been thrown at the South Korean company's designs.
According to AndroidBeat, Samsung's key executives met in a room in Seoul this week to discussion "Design 3.0." The report wraps up with Samsung professing a desire to make their products "stand out," and for them to elicit "positive values."
To be fair, every device gets a reboot at one point or another. Fashion changes, and so do our preferences in the midst of so many options. Then there's the bit about technology advancing to the point of craziness as evidenced by rumors of an HTC device made of liquidmetal.
I certainly agree that a meeting of the minds is necessary and a good thing. Likewise, it's normal and I don't think we can make too much out of it. However, the South Korean company is coming up on year three of the "inspired by nature" theme seeing how this year's devices so far have also flaunted its characteristics, and it's only expected that they react to the criticism.
If there's anything holding the Galaxy brand back, it's their designs.
Samsung's plastic designs, home button, and menu and back buttons have highlighted the South Korean manufacturer as needing a revamp for a little while. To the same effect that I've never gotten my hopes up for Apple's WWDC events because you can historically count on their biennial refresh cycle, I've pretty much labelled Samsung's designs as hopeless. I devoted an entire editorial to the fact that Samsung's designs have worn out their welcome.
Since the Galaxy S III hit the market last year, the "inspired by nature" mantra left many wondering if Samsung would ever be able to deliver a fit and finish comparable to the best of the competition. Sure, you're more than welcome to defend the removable batteries and expandable storage in exchange for plastic and a half-baked build, but the fact remains that Samsung knows what to do and how to fix the problem - they simply won't.
Take Samsung's laptops as an example. Their Series 5, 7 and 9 lines are aluminum and retain the same post-modification principle rampant in mobile. Swapping SSD and RAM is a jiffy with these laptops, and the build will not leave much to be desired either, as they all offer some variation of an aluminum exoskeleton. By mimicking these devices, Samsung's next wave of mobile devices will nearly be perfect, and I don't think many will have much left to detest.
I will admit that Samsung's designs have a special place for the right consumer. Their plastic build might not be the sturdiest, but it is proven to address a few key areas, I just think they should take note to HTC and Nokia's polycarbonate. The weight, width, and manageability of the Galaxy S 4's design first comes to mind. It's pretty awesome they've managed to keep it the same size as the Galaxy S III with clear growth in the battery and display fronts. And then there's the metal-esque ring around the edge of the S 4 which lends its hand in eliminating that flimsy feel which plagued past Galaxy devices.
Likewise, Samsung's TouchWiz UX is at a peak. While Apple has taken a hiatus from software revamps, the user-friendly Android offering has emerged as a serious contender in 2013. Yet not even TouchWiz has been enough to detract from how I am reminded just how familiar TouchWiz has gotten. Many argue its edging very close to becoming the face of Android which is a good or bad thing, depending on your tastes.
I'm interested to hear what you think needs to change with the next designs of Samsung's devices. Should they continue what has worked? What changes would you recommend? Sound off in the comments below!
Image via The Verge.