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Are Samsung devices getting stale or just smartphones in general?

Let’s think way back to the beginning of 2016 when the world was gearing up for some much anticipated Samsung flagship releases at MWC. Palates were thoroughly whetted and we couldn’t contain the fervor that was bursting through our collective seams. We jumped at any mentioning of a new Samsung device anywhere on the omnipresent and omniscient Internet.

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So, where is that enthusiasm for the Galaxy S8? Sure, we feel a sense of alacrity, but does it match last year? Furthermore, where is the hunger for other smartphone releases set for the beginning of this year? It seems that the anticipation surrounding smartphones is not as high as it was in years past.

We’re left to wonder whether this dip in buzz is due to Samsung or the world losing interest in smartphones. Has this technology peaked? Well, according to sales, no. More manufacturers are coming into the market and more people have access to devices (especially in the Android ecosystem). But do sales really address the issue here? I mean, toaster sales are still doing quite well, but nobody puts much effort in writing about them. Though there was some buzz at the time they were new and exciting.

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Think back to how last year's buzz compares to this year. / © AndroidPIT

So, are smartphones becoming another toaster in technological history? Not right now, we still have plenty of enthusiasm surrounding launches and new features. And there really isn’t another consumer product of the same category to take its place, no microwave oven to steal the spotlight. Until the time something else new and shiny comes along, we will probably jump on any mentioning of some fresh feature aboard a flagship device. The question is whether 2016 was the peak for this. We won’t know for sure until after MWC 2017, but it certainly looks like it right now. But is Samsung really to blame?

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 and an identity crisis

Samsung’s sales remain strong even after the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. The last time Samsung was in jeopardy of losing its number one place as the top Android manufacturer was in 2014. There could be some Samsung fatigue after the Note 7 problem though and maybe some folks are remaining cautious until the S8 has been out for a while and the potential problems are ironed out.

It’s a pivotal moment for Samsung and Android in general. Google brought itself closer to Apple with the Google Pixel series. Now it’s time for Samsung to make a choice. Will it travel down that same road as Google or forge a different path?

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Will Samsung follow Google and move towards Apple or stay true to its roots? / © AndroidPIT

I’m a strong advocate of Samsung staying true to its roots and going 'back to the future' with its new lines – go back to the removable battery, etc. If you want a buzzworthy announcement, try a plastic Galaxy S8. That’ll get the world talking. Aside from any incredible new feature, we’re probably looking at an enhanced Galaxy S7, which isn’t really exciting.

So is Samsung really to blame for the decrease in enthusiasm surrounding 2017 smartphones? I think, at least in part, yes. And as the world’s leading manufacturer of mobile devices, it’s really up to Samsung to turn the tide and use its huge research division to bring us new devices that aren’t stale.

What's going on this year? Have we lost interest in smartphones in general, or just Samsung devices? Write what you think in the comments.

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  • I bought a Galaxy S7 edge 2 months ago, but yesterday my phone screen was shattered due to it slipped from my hand, it is the third phone that is broken because of my carelessness and it really broke my heart cause it costs much money to change the screen. Now I want to buy a new handset but not a curved display handset anymore because it’s too fragile for me.. I think a rugged phone is better for me.
    So I’d like to ask if you guys have any recommendation about a rugged handset?

    • If you like the Galaxy series than I recommend the Galaxy S7 Active. It's about as rugged as it gets for a good phone.

  • Mike 7 months ago Link to comment

    We have become so accustomed to a "new and better" version every year, that we've forgotten how remarkable smartphones truly are. So when there are no new enhancements, we decide things have become "stale."

  • Dazzler 7 months ago Link to comment

    I think buzz is down because of dissapointing releases like the Pixel and the iphone 7, coupled with the Note 7 disaster. The Pixel has great software but missed key hardware features, and the iphone has barely changed it's face in 10 years, it's so boring.

    Samsung are the only ones making phones that excite me, I got the S7 Edge because it was a mix of the best hardware available and the best looking phone available. It looks amazing, has 3 day battery life, SD slot, waterproofing, headphone jack and physical buttons, making it incredibly useable.

    I'm excited to see what the S8 does, I won't be needing a new phone until 2018 though as I am more than happy with my S7 Edge!

  • 1) Glass is only good to look at , use KEVLAR and other CARBON FIBER maybe with Titanium accents or where there is.more wear.

    Copy Panasonic's old DECT phones polycarbonate backlit, backprinted buttons for the on/off and volume rocker swithch, the way buttons are made in SHIPS or TANKS ...there iS a reason...DURABILITY ...I have a 10 year old Panasonic DECT which is still perfect...cannot say the same for ANY Samsung product finish...

    2) A built in battery and MODULAR, REMOVABLE BATTERIES like the Note 3, I have a 7000 mha and a 9500 mha batterues for travel and can last a WEEK ...

    3) FUNCTIONALITY insteaf of USELESS, BULLSHIT APPS...we do.not need ANOTHER VoIP messaging app..!we need HOMEKIT LIKE FUNCTIONALITY to unify the garage opener, security and thermostats, SAME for HEALTHCARE apps, a WORKING fingerprint reader.

    4) FLEXIBILITY means buy the PHONE and then A SECONDARY LARGER SCREEN instead of a full new useless tablet, an EXPANSION KIT/ DONGLE for SSD, mouse and keyboard etc.

    5) FAST WIRELESS CHARGING...DUAL or TRIPLE (or "virtual" SIM), ROOT SWITCH option as standard, 4 to 8 GB RAM and minimum 128 GB to 1 TB Sd card(s)...

    by the way I have a 32GB+64 SD, 3GB RAM 2014 Galaxy Note 3 WITH MOST OF THESE FEATURES (minus RAM, dual ) either as hardware parts bought online or SW carefully chosen and set up...

    6) REALISTIC PRICING....WAKE UP SAMSUNG.....I am writing from a 4GB RAM Zenfone 2 dual SIM with 64 internal and 128 GB Sd card which LAST YEAR cost me 325 euros plus 75 Euro for the 128 GB Sd....

    • i you want a larger screen you are always better off with buying a pc

    • @Alfio Sugagnari: I do understand and support your suggestions, but one thing will never happen: building a smartphone that would last a decade (like you Panasonic Dect) would kill pretty much every business model in this industry.

    • You make some solid points here Alfio.
      I was really excited to see Xiaomi come out with the ceramic-back premium model of its flagship last year and was hoping that more manufacturers would see the potential there and opt-in instead of running glass on the back.
      I completely agree with you on the bloatware. It's time to start thinking about what owners want on their devices rather than what the sale of said devices could do for the amount of downloads of the app on Google Play...

  • I think Samsung lost the new Black, the fingerprint sensor. The last 2 years they have worst in class sensors, they should use FPC sensors like Google, Huawei, LG, Moto. etc.
    They will stil lose marketsshare if not using best in class sensors

  • BINEBEATZ 7 months ago Link to comment

    I'm confused to what people want. People blast Samsung for not using premium material on the phone. Now everyone want what they was offering 2 years ago makes no sense. Who really cares what its made out of use a case about 80 to 90 percent of people use a phone Case anyways. The note 4 had everything IRblaster, removable battery , SD slot and a great camera and all people was worried about was the plastic back cover. For them People thanks for nothing. I would take a featured pack phone over a pretty less featured phone any day. HTC has everything right but there cameras are holding them back. Lg is not original to many half baked Samsung features in there phones . I'm using a note 5 now and its OK but if my note 4 had T-Mobile lte radios and not sprint I would be using that phone. It only gets hspa I tried. At this point I'm losing interest in the way cell phones are heading

  • Not a chance even with the great debacle of the lovely note7 still hooked on samsung devices. Exp. Gs7e im still a big fan apple lost me a while ago can't go back woards every one make a great debacle once in a while if you have not you are do' im not putting a hex on enyone but that is the truth like it or not its how u come out of your mistakes and carry on !!

  • The Critics love to pull samsung phones down,but they are so easy to customize and user friendly,Releasing too many phones can sometimes be wrong,but when there are different age groups about,Samsung is just trying to please the different age Groups,Touchwiz always get pulled downed by the Critics,but there are different lauchers to use instead,Samsung Galaxy "S" series phones seem to be the Best Android phones to use,and seem to get better every year,but 2017 for Samsung could be more of a Challenge after the Note 7 saga,so they must know offer more Top Class Applications on the Future Galaxy S8 to show it as over come the saga and get the critics off there backs

    • Thank you for your input Andrew.
      While Samsung does try and get a range of products, it only does so to keep other manufacturers out of the market. From the side of buzz creation and general discussion, only the Note series and Galaxy S series are noteworthy (if you'll excuse the pun). I hope, like you do, that the Galaxy S8 will improve Samsung's standing with the public, but as I pointed out in the article, most will be skeptical until a few months following the release due to the Note 7 debacle.

      • Andria D. 7 months ago Link to comment

        Actually I don't think they have *enough* range -- it's like, put *all* the good features together on a phone and charge $700 for it (I only spent $500 for my i5 laptop w/16GB RAM!). Put all the crap stuff on a lower-end phone and charge $50-$100 for it. Why can't they have a range of phones that have *some* great features -- fast processor, or good memory/storage, or good cameras -- and charge $100-$150 for them? You pick the phone with the features that are most important to you -- I just got a ZTE Zmax Pro, which is fast (octacore), has 2GB/32GB, and has 13mp/5mp cameras, and a 6" full HD screen -- and a fingerprint scanner! -- for $99! The speaker pretty much sucks, and there are a few other little drawbacks, but for speed, memory/storage, cameras, and affordable price, this phone can't be beat. I got it because I was sick to death of the slooooooooooow Galaxy Core Prime with its 1GB/8GB and crappy cameras. True, ZTE phones don't have the "native" auto-reject list that Samsung phones have, but they do make apps for that. Some of us just cannot and will not spend 7 or 8 hundred dollars on a phone -- but we might spend $150 for a phone with enough *decent* features.

  • The people who work at Samsung are hurt and with the understandable sensation that Note 7 debacle became profits for the technology blogs and will be remembered till the end ot the times. Now, the only way to lick the wounds is to dedicate direct efforts to the clients. The confidence between Samsung marketing expected results and the majority of the blogs and "specialists" is broken. Keeping quiet is one of the strategies when you are most remembered by your sins then your virtues.

    • I think that's true Sergio and I'm sure the folks at Samsung were genuinely dismayed with the Note 7 issue. The company took an interesting tactic in waiting to do a big PR push until after the Galaxy S8 release and I believe this was no accident. If the S8 delivers then critics will be silenced and the company may come out ahead in 2017.

  • we're all hyped into unreasonable expectations...
    it's taken Sammy's hardware 3yrs to evolve from cheap fake plastic stitching to beautifully sophisticated metal and glass...
    Samsung is a prisoner of its own massive scale and need of profitability, there's only so much you can upgrade every 12 months, and given the millions they invest in a new model they really can't take risks ..
    a smartphone is a lot more personal than a toaster, it's really unique, we carry it around and interact with it more than any other piece of tech, it can contain a record of our entire life...

    The real life changing progress is software... take Google and Android away from Samsung and what's left..? Tizen lol..
    AI is gonna change our world a lot more than Sammy's latest flagship...and personally I'm glad it's Google doing the software.
    and luckily for Google they got Samsung doing excellent android hardware..
    but as for upgrading my own device every year it's just not worth it.. maybe every 3 yrs...

  • I have faith that Samsung will get it rite this time but do I wait for The Note 8

    • That's a good point Martin, do we wait for the Note 8 to judge if the Samsung ship is sailing smoothly or will the Galaxy S8 suffice? I think there will be expectations from both devices but the company might not be out of troubled waters until the Note 8 clears the bay.

  • As an avid Note fan tech peaked for a couple of years ago as I have found nothing to 'upgrade' to from my Note 4, like many I was excited about the the 7 to no avail. In fairness my 4 cuts the mustard now so where to from here? The V20 I considered but is very expensive and has to be imported into the UK plus I love my S Pen. Stymied really.

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