Does Samsung Think Smartphone Hardware Is Becoming Irrelevant?http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/03/18/does-samsung-think-smartphone-hardware-is-becoming.aspx Evan Niu, CFA
March 18, 2013
Just last week, South Korean giant Samsung unveiled its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, after months of actively building hype with a broad (and pricey) marketing blitz. Over the past year, Samsung has grabbed the spotlight as the top smartphone vendor in the world, and perception has grown that it has copied its way to success.
"The Next Big Thing" may not be a big threat
One of the prominent criticisms of the device was that Samsung continues to utilize cheap plastic casings on its high-end flagship devices. This comes at a time when competitors continue to push the envelope with materials design.
Both Apple's iPhone 5 and HTC's One utilize aluminum unibody casings to house the guts of their newest gadgets. Both flagships immediately stand out as premium offerings, in part because of their external hardware designs. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is about to launch a redesigned version of its flagship, the Lumia 928, that's getting a revamped aluminum casing as well. Lumia sales are picking up, and the emphasis on design is a contributing factor to the rise.
Samsung's incremental hardware design left something to be desired.
Samsung design exec Dennis Miloseski recently spoke at Engadget Expand, and partially explains why the conglomerate chose to focus on the softer side of things.
The designer says that the "global design process has been raised" and now goes beyond just hardware. With all the internal sensors that modern smartphones now include, the goal is to design a device that can "improve over time," and Samsung's goal is to "create a soul for a device." Miloseski added: