This is the start of a new series of blog posts in regards to what I want to see from large corporations in the upcoming year, and believe me no company is safe in this series of posts!
Samsung has been in the news a lot recently, all for the wrong reasons with the exploding batteries problem with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, but they otherwise had a solid 2016 including the S7/Edge.
In the first of this series, I will be going over the top 10 things I want to see Samsung do or announce in 2017, in no particular order.
Scrap the Note lineup
If Samsung continues to use the Note name in a new handset this time next year, it will just face a lot of backlash and headings like ‘Samsung just announced their next exploding phone’.
I’m not saying Samsung should stop bringing out a new Note like device, but rather call it something like the Samsung Galaxy Pro to remove the association from the fiasco that happened.
Release solid Galaxy S8/Edge compensating Note 7 fiasco
The Galaxy S8 could be a very solid phone. Latest rumours suggest beyond the usual updated yearly specs, the device would also come with:
- Dual Rear Cameras
- 5.1inch and 5.5inch variants both with Edge screens
- Potentially a 4K Display
- Possibly no front screen bezel or physical home button
- Include the Viv AI Assistant (made by same people who created Siri as a successor)
Samsung could also be releasing this phone slightly earlier then expected, to compensate for the $17 billion lost in sales revenue from the Note 7 being killed off. This however may not be a good idea because the Note 7 was announced and released about a month earlier then previous variants to try and beat the iPhone 7/Plus launch but that likely resulted in poorer quality control which lead to the exploding battery fiasco.
Samsung could also take the approach of giving out a longer warranty with this new phone to give customers reassurance that they will be covered if anything unusual happens.
Dramatically improve Android software updates
One of the main reasons, if not the main reason I hear a lot of Android users that want to move away from Samsung phones to other phones like a Nexus or the newly announced Google Pixel, is due to software updates.
Software updates are important when it comes to new features, bug fixes and security patches. Yes Samsung does monthly security updates but having updates at the Android kernel itself from Android OS updates is quite an important issue.
Samsung is also responsible for the vast majority of Android phone sales and I believe is one of the main culprits when it comes to Android’s OS fragmentation.
Samsung is also preparing an Android 7.0 Nougat beta program for the S7 Edge but most people just want to see the update released to all as fast as possible, without a beta program if possible.
All smartphones and tablets have USB-C Connector
USB-C is definitely on the right track of where USB as a connector should go.
microUSB is a widely used standard, but to me one of the main advantages of the USB-C connector is the reversible cable, that works just like Apple’s Lightning adapter. Just transitioning from a 30-pin connector on my old iPod Touch to a Lightning connector on my iPhone 5s was a major welcoming change and if Samsung and other Android manufacturers are meant to be ahead of Apple when it comes to specifications, they are clearly playing catch-up in this field, but given a few years when all new devices will have a reversible connector, cables will start to feel less of an issue.
Launch optional controller for the Gear VR Headset
Google’s latest DayDream View VR Headset comes with a remote for enhanced gameplay but the Gear VR only has a D-Pad on the right side of the unit, which is only really good for navigating through menus and setting up a Netflix movie or YouTube video to watch.
If Samsung were to bring an optional controller out with an updated Gear VR Headset it will show that Samsung does take gaming seriously on the headset and can somewhat compete better with headsets like the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, even if it is not on the same level of surrealism as those.
Solution for a Retina Gear VR Display
I went to the Technology and Gadget Expo that was held a few months ago at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and got a chance to try out the Gear VR headset.
This was my first proper VR experience besides Google Cardboard and the biggest complaint I had with the headset was the incredibly pixelated image.
The idea of the Gear VR headset is to use the phone’s screen and a couple of lenses to display the image correctly for your eyes to see, except it still looks incredibly pixelated even with a Quad HD Display on the phone.
I would almost go as far as to say that Samsung should just integrate a built in 4K Display and get you to connect the headset to your phone for tablet to get the processing power. This would remove the need to put a 4K Display on a smartphone just to use it with the Gear VR headset, as the phone would use a lot more power in general day to day use when not using a VR headset if it had a 4K Display with next to no noticeable difference.
Remove logo branding from front of devices
One reason I like the design of the iPhone over the Samsung phone is that the later has their company name on the front of the device. This just shouts out to me that their design is not that recognisable that they have to state what phone you are using.
Reduce or remove bezels on the screen
Samsung is now rumoured to be bringing a Galaxy S8 or soon thereafter smartphone with a greater than 90% screen to body ratio. The S7 is currently 72.1%. This means that there has to be a lot of stuff that gets removed from the front of the display and the logo has to go with it.
Dual Rear Cameras on a Smartphone
A lot of tech reviewers agree that the best smartphone camera out today is found on any of the 2016 flagship Samsung smartphones, but it only has a single lens on the back of the device.
The iPhone 7 Plus has a dual camera lens with a regular lens and a telephoto lens for better zoomed in images, along with the bokeh effect in Portrait mode and I hope Samsung takes a similar approach with their new devices.
Reduce Prices where it makes sense
Samsung is continuously facing fierce competition not just from Apple, but also from Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Alcatel, LeEco, OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi and ZTE.
These smartphones are significantly cheaper including the OnePlus 3 being about half the cost of any flagship smartphone today.
Samsung in 2016 seems to have taken the “but we build premium products” approach and it didn’t work out well with the Note 7 fiasco.
A lot of people these days are upgrading their phones less often these days and one of the major reasons for this is the cost. Even if the unlocked prices were $100-$200 cheaper I would guess a lot more people would upgrade and go for the latest models.
If you ignore the Note 7, Samsung had a solid 2016.
Going into 2017 if they want to maintain their market share, I honestly believe that they would have to implement the vast majority of the above in order to succeed.
What do you want to see from Samsung in 2017? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post and want to see more, be sure to follow me here and on Twitter @neilh_apps.