More Evidence That Samsung Has No Idea What Consumers Want

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) and Samsung have cemented themselves as the two most dominant smartphone vendors in the world. The two frenemies have formed a seemingly unbreakable duopoly on the hardware front, while iOS and Google Android do likewise on the software side.

Combined, Apple and Samsung have grown their share of the global smartphone market from 20% just three years ago to now account for half of the market.

Source: IDC.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of their rivalry is that their strategies couldn't be further apart. Apple has always focused on product depth over product breadth, dedicating its resources to a very clear vision of what it believes is the best product for the consumer. The Mac maker puts a lot of thought into formulating this image, which also inevitably entails more concentrated risk should a product theoretically flop.

That's exactly why the company has only released one new iPhone model per year thus far, although that may change this year. Even if Apple releases an affordable iPhone this year, that's still just two distinct models, which is far fewer than the competition.

In contrast, Samsung really doesn't have any strong opinions or views as to what people actually want. That's why it essentially tries everything to test out the market and see what sticks. The South Korean giant experiments with every conceivable form factor and price point in an effort to discover what people want, as opposed to adhering with a pre-conceived notion like Apple does. This translates into less risk per product launch, and allows Samsung to fail cheaply when it misses the mark.

The latest evidence of Samsung's broad strategy is the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which piggybacks off Samsung's Galaxy Camera that was launched last year. The Galaxy Camera is a point-and-shoot that features a touchscreen and runs on Android but lacks phone functions. The Galaxy S4 Zoom adds those phone features back in to a similar form factor.

Galaxy S4 Zoom. Source: Samsung.

The new device straddles the line between phone and camera, but leans more heavily on the camera side. Unfortunately, the camera form factor doesn't lend well to being a phone, and the large lens characteristic of most point-and-shoot cameras is bound to get in the way. This is an unavoidable trade-off with packing a phone into a point-and-shoot.

It's not feasible to think that the Galaxy S4 Zoom will take off. It will probably be relegated to a niche market segment. Samsung actively pursues these niche categories, while Apple sticks to the mainstream market.

The saving grace for Samsung is that once the Galaxy S4 Zoom fails, at least it'll be cheap.

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Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (11)

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  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 10:12 PM, CrawFu wrote:

    What I learned from this article is that from now on I can ignore any more articles written by Evan. Concluding that offering several different models and configurations means that Samsung doesn't know what consumers want is eye rollingly ridiculous. Can we then conclude the same thing about Ford since they have several different models of vehicles, or Nike because they have more than one model of shoe, etc? The dearth of logic in this article is painful.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 10:16 PM, bugnuts wrote:

    CrawFU: Get a grip and check out how many different phones Samsung offers .... dozens!!!

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 11:05 PM, tychicum wrote:

    Samsung makes the king of toilet seats.

    I think they should drop this cellar telephones nonsense and focus on the SAMSUNG SBD-970C Dynamic Digital Bidet Toilet Seat + Remote Control.

    A remote control man !!!!

    A crapper with a touchless arse wash and blow dryer no less ... the world will beat a path to their door !!!

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 11:45 PM, smv7519 wrote:

    This guy needs to get off apples you no what apple has no idea what people want that's why they are failing. Ios is terrible crashing and battery sucks and internet multitasking sucks. Apple should move on to cleaning toilets. And this garbage don't look very good either if the os sucks on it at least make it look good but no apple don't want to spend the money. Paying some Chinese kids 2 dollars an hour. This thing is terrible get it wet drop it or even try to just use it. Every isheep out there that thinks this thing is a beast should use real tech and not this toy apple sells. They make most of their money on this awful product cause it needs to be fixed every minute. Apple care plan charge you about two hundred for this thing and if your phone or whatever breaks they charge you more and its often why do you think so many are moving to android a better os. I have never owned or purchased an apple product in my entire life and non of their many accessories either anything that has their logo I will not buy.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 11:51 PM, rocket7777 wrote:

    I think sam sung KNOWS. People want DIFFERENT things as well as MULTIPLE things, just like a car.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 11:53 PM, smv7519 wrote:

    Hey Evan Niu how much did apple pay u to write this. Never mind apple doesn't pay they only take. One thing they wont be accused of is giving. I may have never bought or owned apple seen it from many of the isheep and the phone usually comes with a broken glass. The ios is usually slow and the metal finish is all scratched up is that why apple users tend to buy these things every year or six months. Tell apple u need a raise apple boy cause your working to hard writing this. Also tell apple these things they claim to own have been out for years and yes Samsung makes different phones. Choices something apple don't due but the don't mind taking your money for a shity product.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 11:58 PM, tvastine wrote:

    Interesting comments. The writer is obviously biased toward iphone. Both are very good products. I used to have an iphone and loved it. Now I have a Samsung Note and it is amazing. The only disadvantage is that the email is a little slower arriving but the features and apps are so much better than the iphone. My wife is the one who encouraged me to switch and she was right. Just one man's opinion. You decide what works for you.

  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 11:59 PM, thaimaixhu wrote:

    Mr. smv7519, Samsung also employs Chinese laborers. It's funny how Apple critics point out the Chinese labor aspect and somehow believe that none of the competitors do the same.

  • Report this Comment On June 13, 2013, at 12:11 AM, VegasSmitty wrote:

    "More Evidence That Samsung Has No Idea What Consumers Want" after reading many articles it sounds more like the Motley Fool is the one that doesn't know...jack!

  • Report this Comment On June 13, 2013, at 1:32 AM, steekyjim wrote:

    This article starts off by advertizing the stock market code for Apple. It's pretty obvious that this author or site is getting paid to promote Apple shares.

    On the other hand, Samsung are getting huge sales figures. I think they know exactly what the customer wants.... choice.

  • Report this Comment On June 13, 2013, at 2:32 AM, RoburInvesments wrote:

    We also have to remember that Samsung makes everything from phones, to tablets, to tv's to ships.

    A strong portion of their revenue also comes from OEM models (even supplying to Apple, which this author fails to mention)

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