Will 2014 be the start of Samsung’s downfall in smartphone market?

Samsung is world’s biggest mobile phone brand in terms of sales. It has enjoyed a great deal of success with iconic smartphones like Galaxy S3 and tablet PCs like Galaxy Tab 2. People have enjoyed its colourful screens and powerful hardware. But as of late, people have started to grow bore of Samsung’s offerings. But what are the reasons for this? Are we experiencing the start of Samsung’s downfall? Let’s have a look at some of the important aspects where Samsung needs to improve drastically before they start to lose their market share and fan following.

1. Trying To Overpower Android

Samsung Apps vs Google Apps Usage
Samsung Apps vs Google Apps – Average Monthly Usage Time

If you have noticed, Samsung has never marketed or advertised Android as such. They have always focussed on advertising powerful hardware, custom software features and homegrown services. Samsung’s own services like Samsung App Store, S-Beam, S-Voice, etc. could be ported to other platforms such as Windows Phone or Tizen OS easily if they want to move away from Android. Samsung wants to be less dependant on Google for its success. But according to a new report, consumers are spending Google’s Apps and services over 20 times longer than Samsung’s services. This clearly means that Samsung doesn’t have any advantage over Google’s services and people don’t enjoy using them. So Samsung should try to do what they do the best, make better hardware and leave the main software bits with Google. Also, these apps and services capture unnecessarily large space on the device.

2. Overload Of Device Launches With Little To No Variation

Ratings For Recent Samsung Mobiles
Less Than Ideal User Ratings For Recent ‘Neo’ Versions Of Samsung Smartphones

Samsung is launching way more devices than what is necessary which is not only confusing normal consumers but also experts. Launching so many devices results into self-cannibalisation. Suppose that someone looking to buy a dual SIM smartphone under Rs 25K, they would be hard pressed to choose between Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo. Similar is the case with Galaxy S Duos 2 and Galaxy Core because they have little to no perceivable difference between their hardware and features. There are a lot more examples but I will stop here. Motorola’s strategy of releasing less number of devices which can defeat offerings from other brands in a wide price margin and provide better overall experience rather than only better hardware specifications.

3. No Innovation In Hardware Design

Samsung Galaxy S5 Band Aid Edition
Samsung Galaxy S5 ‘Band Aid Edition’

It has been over 3 years now since Samsung is using the same boring design with plastic materials. People have grown bored of Samsung’s hardware design. Apple, HTC and Sony on the other hand have been releasing some exceptionally well-designed smartphones by using glass and metal materials. Even newer brands like Oppo, Gionee and OnePlus have released better designed products than Samsung. Samsung has introduced water resistance feature in the Galaxy S5 which is nearly 2 years after Sony introduced it with Xperia Z. Also, there is no differentiation between Samsung’s own products. The hardware design of Rs 5,499 worth Galaxy Star Pro looks almost similar to the design of Rs 50,000 worth Galaxy S5. When people spend so much on a flagship product, they have the right to expect premium design. When people have better choices, why should they stick to Samsung?

If Samsung fails to act upon these lingering issues, we may probably see Samsung loose their hold over smartphone market similar to that of Nokia and Blackberry. What are your thoughts on Samsung? How can they gain the same respect back? Does anyone of you still like Samsung or have you started to hate their devices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Computer science engineer turned technology blogger. Following consumer electronics industry closely from 2006, he can now predict pretty much where the market is heading. He has a dream to own Android, Windows Phone and iOS smartphones all at the same time.

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