This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. OK
3 min read 4 Shares 20 comments

Is Samsung the most boring company working in tech today?

When it comes to Samsung phones, you know what to expect. Look at the Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Note 2, Note 3 and the countless variants. Notice anything? To put it kindly, they're all kind of same-y. Samsung has found a look it likes and has decided to stick with it time and time and time again. But why does this massive Korean company keep churning out handsets that are so similar to their predecessors?

galaxy s5 back
Is Samsung a deliverer of consistent looks, or just unwilling to take risks? / © Samsung Mobile

While the likes of LG, Sony and others have a wide range of handsets with discernible differences between them, Samsung has taken a rather different approach. In essence, the company has decided on a baseline handset as a starting point and then added a few extras to produce a higher-end model, or trimmed a few bits here and there to create an entry level handset. The point is that if you pick up a Samsung handset you know exactly what to expect – there are no surprises whatsoever.

Why is this? Why would such a recognized manufacturer tread such a conservative and unadventurous line? There is the old saying: "if it ain't broke, don’t fix it", but Samsung now feels like it's just treading water. Innovation and excitement have all but vanished.

As (a different) Mark Wilson points out over on Fast Code Design, it could be down to adopting an approach that's not dissimilar to that used by Apple, or it could be something to do with Korean culture and the effect it has on the design process.

androidpit at t galaxy s6
Will the Galaxy S6 introduce a radical redesign for the Galaxy series? / © AT&T

Of course, the company has designers lining up with extraordinary ideas for new handsets, but Samsung seem intent on opting for the one-size-fits-all solution. Rather than being happy to try out something new, to take risks, Samsung squeezes design proposals through layers of scrutiny, bureaucracy and criticism that manages to produce handsets that are pale imitations of what was originally suggested.

There's also a suggestion that Samsung knows what it wants to put out there and is unwilling to be led by designers. It's a decision that is not really paying off. Samsung's handsets are not pulling money in anything like the quantity the company would hope, and it's not clear how to rectify this. Samsung may have called in Western designers to help with its handsets, but the way Korean companies work is so fundamentally different that it's almost impossible for things to work out.

Designers come furnished with new and thrilling ideas, but the company commissioning the designs need to balance this against what fits in with its own ideology as well as what is technically possible. Samsung – but let's not pretend that the company is alone – is happy to simply coast. The excitement is lacking, and we need the spark back.

What do you think? Has Samsung become boring? Are things about to change with the Galaxy S6 and/or Galaxy S Edge? Let us know in the comments below. 

Readers' favorite comments

  • Lee Feb 23, 2015

    BORING! That's an understatement look how many devices they have on the market, there's nothing boring about Samsung. it's about choice and they have loads, Apple now that's boring oh I can choose between a iPhone 6 or a 6+ and that's it I've come to a FULL STOP!

  • GrossDad Feb 24, 2015

    Frankly, I use a case on my phone, so looks don't matter anywhere near as much as quality of display, camera, etc. TouchWiz doesn't bother me, but I use Smart Launcher because it matches so much better than any other launcher the way I use my phone. I bought Samsung last time around because it has a replaceable battery and an SD card slot. Loss of those would be a deal-breaker for me.

  • Rogue Tomato Feb 24, 2015

    I'm not the biggest fan of Samsung, but same-y? Really? Okay, find me a non-Samsung phone that has the edge. Find me a non-Samsung phone that has a stylus and the features to go with it? Samsung innovates more on phones than any other company I know of, and some of the innovations are incredibly useful. The only other useful innovation I've seen in other phones is in the LG phones that put the button and volume controls on the back of the phone (I like that, lots of people hate it).

20 comments

Write new comment:
  • Reg Joo,
    I think you have it wrong when you say that samsung wants to be like apple. Samsung has always been the first to move with new ideas and build rheir new devices to accommodate these ideas. while Apple waits 2-3 years or sometimes even longer to add it. that's why they had apple users didn't have things like NFC or larger screens until last year while samsung has had them for almost 4 years and android as a whole for 3.
    If anyone is imitating the competition, it's apple.
    the company built on "innovation"

  • samsung may not change their design very much, but there is still more of a difference between each phone than there is with IPhone.

  • Stefanos Feb 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Personaly i had the s3 and now the s5 and the most of the peoples who know me are like "why yiu are with this phone" but i loved, i love, and i will love what Samsung is doing... It is jus about inovation. And if it was SOOO BORING as you say i don't think that some of Samsung's phones could be in best sellers of the year... THINK BEFORE WRITING SOMETHING!!!

    • Madars G Feb 25, 2015 Link to comment

      Personaly i dont care what you had or have. I dont have to think what im writing, becouse i know what im writing. Samsung has always been shit and will be... all samsung phones are the same ugly and build quality is one big plastic clog. galaxy s5 touch id doesnt work as they should like iphone touch id is working perfect. the biggest mistake a person can tolerate is mid range samsung, becouse they are the biggest shits ever made, quality is worst thing in this world, performance is terrible it seems that death will come sooner... no any updates maybe after a year will get some update and many other things. You will think i am apple fan, but no i am not. Sony is perfect smartphone it is better than the best. my words can only challenge a person who has used or useing Sony(z2,z3 whatever) but not you. Because he understood the value of sony smartphone and excellence.

  • Madars G Feb 25, 2015 Link to comment

    its not only boring, but crappy phone also

  • Reg Joo Feb 25, 2015 Link to comment

    Samsung has the "rest on our laurels" disease, that apple has, and wants to be in-house now. Tizen, and exynos, is what they want, and it will be pushed to consumers gradually( they want to be so much like apple). It's mistake, and time will tell them that. Still good phones though, it's just the consumer, being more selective, and a little bit jaded, and the rise of other mfgs, that are getting better at making innovative phones too.

    • Stefanos Feb 25, 2015 Link to comment

      I don't think that they want to be with apple because if it's like you say the won't be continuing to use snapdragon or android but they still continue to using it, and tizen is nearly at its first year of usage and cualcom are doing the snapdragons prosesors since a lot of time ago... This is the BIIIGGG differece with apple. Samsung knows how to combine their product with other products.

  • I agree with other comments above. First with an oversize phone that nearly everyone in the media laughed at, but users loved and now all other manufacturers have copied. The Note series with the S-Pen and the ability to make notes that look natural and not like a finger painting. Now the Edge. Samsung is one of the only manufacturers that still have the ability to change the battery without having to send it in and also add an SD card and as long as that continues, I'll continue to buy Samsung. I like that every time I pick up a Samsung phone I don't have to relearn where the controls are and can concentrate on learning the more important changes and innovations.

  • sinkster Feb 24, 2015 Link to comment

    I'd say predictable rather than boring. Up to the S2 the Galaxy tag actually meant something special whereas now it's used for any old model. The S series are still good phones but they always seem to rely on 'innovations' rather than groundbreaking advancement.

  • iPhones are also samey. Once you have a design that sells you stick with it.

  • GrossDad Feb 24, 2015 Link to comment

    Frankly, I use a case on my phone, so looks don't matter anywhere near as much as quality of display, camera, etc. TouchWiz doesn't bother me, but I use Smart Launcher because it matches so much better than any other launcher the way I use my phone. I bought Samsung last time around because it has a replaceable battery and an SD card slot. Loss of those would be a deal-breaker for me.

    • Yup. First thing I do with any phone is install Smart Launcher Pro 2. No more creating folders to sort everything.

  • I'm not the biggest fan of Samsung, but same-y? Really? Okay, find me a non-Samsung phone that has the edge. Find me a non-Samsung phone that has a stylus and the features to go with it? Samsung innovates more on phones than any other company I know of, and some of the innovations are incredibly useful. The only other useful innovation I've seen in other phones is in the LG phones that put the button and volume controls on the back of the phone (I like that, lots of people hate it).

  • This post is pretty biased in my opinion. Apple literally has the same system for every one of their devices, the only difference between them is screen size pretty much. Samsung has soooo many different types of phones, people arent just forced to take flagships.

  • Lee Feb 23, 2015 Link to comment

    BORING! That's an understatement look how many devices they have on the market, there's nothing boring about Samsung. it's about choice and they have loads, Apple now that's boring oh I can choose between a iPhone 6 or a 6+ and that's it I've come to a FULL STOP!

    • +10000

      Boring is the last thing that would come to my mind if I thought about Samsung. They are one of the few tech companies that actually continues to push boundaries.

      Many of Android's feature we have today were pioneered or popularized by Samsung.

      Larger screen smartphones were brought mainstream by Samsung, The S-Pen is still a genius tool that nobody else still offers. The best displays always belong on Samsung devices. Their TV's are unparalleled, picture quality and design wise. They make awesome cameras and happen to do cutting edge research.

      You might be thinking about the wrong company, dear article-writer.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info

Got it!