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Here's why the Galaxy S7 should be mid-range

Samsung is playing on Apple's home field and losing. Even with a great Galaxy S6, it failed to compete with Apple's iPhone 6, and we could see a repeat with the S7. Samsung would bury Apple if it refocused its attention on its mid-range devices. The reasons are all too simple.

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 4
Samsung should focus on its mid-range devices. / © ANDROIDPIT

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Apple can't fight under its weight-class

For years, Samsung was whooping Apple by fighting on its own turf. It didn't need a head-on challenge. It could compete right underneath in the affordable space, siphon off iPhone juice, and watch it flow right into the Galaxy tank. It almost seemed too easy. 

Apple tried desperately to challenge Samsung to tussle in its domain. It touted its iPhone as the better device and tried to entice consumers back. But they would not budge and Apple's frustration grew. In a frantic attempt, Apple took to litigation. Despite losing the battle in the US courts, Samsung had won the war. 

But then companies like Huawei and Xiaomi started to pose a threat to Samsung in the mid-range market. Instead of staying and fighting, Samsung decided to focus its resources on beating Apple in the premium space. Apple was all too happy to see its biggest competitor come into the ring with one hand tied behind its back. 

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 REVIEW 1
Samsung jumped into the wrong market. / © ANDROIDPIT

A two-front war

Samsung only put one foot into the premium market. The Galaxy S6 was a direct challenge to the iPhone but Samsung didn't focus all of its energy on this device. It also continued to manufacture phones in the mid-range where Chinese companies were making it more difficult for Samsung to breathe.

Apple can fight in the premium market quite comfortably because that's where it lives. And companies like Xiaomi can play in the mid-range all day because that's their game. Samsung didn't move away from the mid-range fight when it moved into the premium, it simply began fighting on two separate fronts; disadvantaged in both markets. 

The result was predictable. Samsung's S6 sales didn't meet expectations. After months on the market going toe-to-toe with Apple, and despite beating estimates, the Galaxy S6 remained below iPhone sales. The iPhone 6 had the best sales for any iPhone, ever.

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Samsung lost the premium battle with Apple. / © ANDROIDPIT

Going the distance

What Samsung must do to beat Apple is reposition the Galaxy series within the smartphone market. It must refocus all of its efforts on developing great mid-range devices. This is where Samsung is comfortable and performs well. Getting back there could take a generation or two, but the smartphone wars will go on far longer than a few Galaxy generations. 

Samsung needs to make devices like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge affordable. That might mean getting rid of other lines of its smartphones. But it'd be worth it in the end as you already have many options with different manufacturers. Why not have Samsung phones be two among many options? 

Samsung should do what it excels at and forge a new market. Compete with Chinese manufacturers and Apple simultaneously in its own territory. All of Samsung's research and manufacturing power trained on two affordable devices will draw iPhone buyers and mid-range smartphone buyers alike. 

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 REVIEW 10
Samsung should redirect its resources into affordable devices. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Galaxy S7 should have been a mid-range smartphone. I was very impressed with the device but I'm not impressed with the price. I want to see Samsung play its mid-range game again, not Apple's. Call it nostalgia, call it whatever you like, but I want to see the Samsung that wooed me away from an iPhone upgrade years ago. 

Do you think Samsung should focus on mid-range devices? Let us know in the comments. 

Readers' favorite comments

  • Ryan Damper Mar 13, 2016

    You can't entice apple owners , they aren't sold on specs or price, or even what they are buying. They want the latest apple product. No one who is interested in technology buys apple products, it's all last gen low res junk in a fancy package. Fair play really , the profit margin is huge and it works year after year. Personally I can't wait till 2025 when we get i virtual reality touted as the latest thing.

  • Mark Mar 14, 2016

    People buy I Phone because they are the cool or in phone to own. Not because they are better built or have better software. I agree with Kyle, People will buy the I phone at twice to three the price just because of the status symbol mystic, which I do not get. I like android because of the adapt ability. They also come with removable batteries and Micro SD support that Apple has never had.

  • Neil McVicar Mar 14, 2016

    Rubbish. I want a fast premium phone that looks good and takes brilliant photographs. I also don't want a product made by Apple. Samsungs S and Note series offer the best alternatives.

39 comments

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  • I think it's good thing that Samsung is struggling with all it's might to compete with Apple for "premium" customers who will shell out near $1000 for a phone. Although it might be bad for Samsung itself, Android platform needs OEM's in all category. Even if Samsung Galaxy S7 is a loss leader, it's better for Android platform as a whole. I don't care much for new Samsung Galaxy design with glass back and sealed in battery, but if Samsung can snatch some customers who would've bought an iphone otherwise, all the more power to Samsung!! In the end, Android platform will excel at mid-range devices because there are so many good OEMs in that category. Android needs more companies like Samsung who will compete head on with Apple to steal oxygen frim Apple (not that Apple iphone isn't slowly going the ipad route under it's own power thanks to Apple brass's myopic mis-management of putting profit way over market share and mind share). And in the final anaysis it' doesn't matter. Flagships of last year become mid-range of this year. Notice LG G4 which can now be found for around $300 brand new. So Galaxy S7 will also become mid-range next year or afterwards, and that's fate of all current flagship phones.

    • Thank you for your comment hotspring. It's true that premium devices come at mid-range prices in just a couple of years. Samsung usually takes a generation or two before the prices drop to mid-range levels. That makes me wonder what we're paying so much for in the first place :)

  • Samsung competes in every segment in the smartphone market. Diversification means reduced exposure and risk. Android needs a handset in the premium segment, and Samsung is the only manufacturer that can compete there successfully and profitability.

  • I 100% agree with the article as much as Samsung is going in the right direction in terms of design they just cant defeat the experience the iPhone brings and its loyal fan base. Ive owned every smartphone under the sun and a moto g can compete with an iPhone in terms of performance no problem but what iOS has over android is simplicity and refinement. The majority of the world wants a phone that works and is simple to understand without having to tweak or customize to an extent that android has to offer. Android is catching up fast though and nipping iOS in the heels with each revision and if somehow they can get updates across all android phones on time as nexus devices it will help propel it greatly. What android really has to its advantage now is to run on low/mid range specs and still run just as smooth as on high end specs. Thats where money is now not the flagships but what you can get for 100-300$ and still have a great smartphone experience just look at the moto g thats Motorola's best selling device and there true flagship because they defied the logic that we had to spend 500-1200 just to get an exceptional smartphone. Hardware and screen technology advances are starting too slow dramatically and there is really so much innovation you can do before there is nothing truly innovating. Thats why the amount of interest in new flagship phones each year is declining and even midrange hardware is pretty good these days especially when you compare it to how much you get for your money. Samsung should definitely go that root of putting their time into building a phone that gives you excellent smartphone for value, just look at lg, xiaomi, motorola, lenovo, Oneplus, asus, google, all of them giving you much better hardware per $ then what you get from a galaxy s7 or iPhone 6. If Samsung can put that much effort into the perfected galaxy s7 then they can surely dominate the midrange market.

    • Thank you for your insight here Jacob.
      Android N (we think Nutella) is getting there, it certainly is getting close to iOS, as you said. You make a very good point with where the money is at and it begs the question of how long until we can expect flagships at mid-range prices.

  • Kisye Jr Mar 15, 2016 Link to comment

    I personally think apple was loosing ground on samsung due to the size of their phones... Dats is until wen they release iphone 6 and 6s when it seems like a perfect move coz dats wat many apple customers were craving for.. Another reason is that the ios ecosystem is only exclusive for apple which means u have to have other apple products (laptops, ipads nd smarphone ..... But being in android ecosystem its much more challenging for samsung as there is always an alternative..... If u wanted a beter camera (sony were always there) if u wana stock android experience motorola and nexus series....For this reason dats y i think samsung has to create as many product ranges as possible in order to boost sales and remain a market leader

    • That's a very good point Kisye. I agree that Samsung remains the market leader with its current strategy but do you think it could capture even more of the market if it reduced the number of devices it has?

  • Interesting article, I always thought Samsung lacked a little design sophistication, ie fake plastic stitching lol which compared to Apples design chops was years behind, and as beautiful as the S7 is, it's still playing design catch up with Apple..
    I got into android for choice and value, which Samsung mostly does, but they could do better if they weren't trying to out do Apple.

    • Definitely more choice with Android in terms of devices and number of modifications that are possible. Sometimes it feels endless.

  • Ashley Mar 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I love Samsung galaxy S devices I currently own galaxy S6 & galaxy J7 I love these phones
    I'm seriously considering to upgrade to to S7 the reason why I'm sceptic is there is no remote control on the S7.

    As soon as S7 or S8 come with the remote control I'm there on the line to buy as the first one

  • Mark Mar 14, 2016 Link to comment

    People buy I Phone because they are the cool or in phone to own. Not because they are better built or have better software. I agree with Kyle, People will buy the I phone at twice to three the price just because of the status symbol mystic, which I do not get. I like android because of the adapt ability. They also come with removable batteries and Micro SD support that Apple has never had.

  • Kyle Mar 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Apple can triple their price tag and people will still buy from them, cause their software stability is what makes it a strong company. meanwhile samsung has been known to give impression, but after awhile, its gone. stutters, lag and other stuffs occur. Their aggressive ram management is just unbelievable, the way they abandon their customers from updates. SUPER SLOW UPDATES, with a lot of bugs. damn. this things are what makes their customers turn around.

  • Kyle Mar 14, 2016 Link to comment

    If there's someone that i would dare to compete with apple, it should be the Nexus lines. And I can see it coming. I just want google to find it's base manufacturer, or even if possible, build their own SoC to better optimize with the pure software. and be there with apple at the top cause honestly, Nexus phones are underrated as f. But I can see Nexus rising. That 6p is a bang, just need time to improve on the front design. The back? Its gorgeous. that fingerprint sensor? fastest. That overall design, UNIQUE! They're not like other oems that just copy designs and features from one another. Come on google, raise your banner. Nexus lines will dominate, ONE DAY!

    • Thanks for your comments Kyle. I totally agree that the Nexus is completely underrated. I personally see Xiaomi rising, you got the specs combined with an unreal price. It just needs to solve its availability issues.

  • All samsung needs to focus on is first cut down the price of their s line a bit...look at xiaomi m5 good flagship specs but at a midrange price and it sold like hot cakes...pricing shouldnt compete on apple range. Second area they need to seriously work on is software and firmware update. Heck s6 and s7 edge are the most beautifully designed phone ever made. For me samsung is on the right spot for hardware design now all they need to do is focus on how to optimise the software to use the beast specs inside their phones optimally. If samsung can make touchwiz faster than it is right now and provide os updates quite fast say a month after its released by google trust me people will buy their phones like iphones. Truth is people want to see samsung galaxy perform optimally. Theres a reason why people expect samsung to make that device that will challenge iphone and with s7 and s7edge samsung is on the path to achieve that but theres a lot more to do. One day apple will make a phone with oled display removable battery and expandable memory.

    • Thank you for your input Tochukwu. I think you are spot on with your analysis of the Mi 5, or as it's often referred to the 'Apple of China.' I already do think, though, that the S7 performs better than iPhones so I'm not sure if it's performance that's driving their disparity in sales. I also agree that Samsung could afford to at least drop the price of their S-line.

    • Samsung depends on carriers to push updates.

  • Rubbish. I want a fast premium phone that looks good and takes brilliant photographs. I also don't want a product made by Apple. Samsungs S and Note series offer the best alternatives.

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