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Opinion 4 min read 24 comments

The Galaxy S9 shows Samsung is no longer a market leader

Apart from the variable aperture, Samsung did not show a single innovation of its own at the Unpacked event for the launch of its top-of-the-line Galaxy S9 smartphone. Instead of shiny new features which Samsung has copied from competitors, I expected a completely different unique selling proposition. The fact that Samsung still offers something is a glimmer of hope. But I wanted more from a market leader.

I would have antcipated more from one of the world's largest corporations. Not only do the new Galaxy smartphones look almost exactly like their predecessors, they also offer the same features. Apart from the new two-step adjustable aperture in the main camera, you can get all the other features elsewhere.

  • AR Emojis are called Animojis by Apple and you can get them with the iPhone X.
  • Sony offers slow motion with 960 FPS, same as in the Xperia XZ Premium.
  • Huawei has already shown something like DeX, where the smartphone is used as a trackpad for the mouse, with the Mate 10 Pro.
  • Bixby does not offer anything that Google Assistant or Google Lens doesn't offer.
  • HTC already had mega loud stereo front speakers in its smartphones in 2013.
  • If I want to use the home screen horizontally, I install one of dozens of alternative launchers from the Play Store.
AndroidPIT animoji android 0036
Animojis solve all our smartphone problems - not. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

Is Samsung over or is it the whole industry?

Samsung's Galaxy S-series has a reputation to maintain. It is not only the flagship series for Samsung, but a standard bearer for the whole industry. What Samsung delivers, the others do a little later. Admittedly, Samsung had always done a little bit of the same thing with Apple. But this time, Samsung is pushing its eclecticism too far. 2018 shows that Samsung no longer leads the way.

There are so many obvious issues that Samsung could tackle. Instead, the core problems of smartphones remain untouched:

  • The battery life will not increase massively even with the revised Exynos chipset (or the Snapdragon in the US version). And there is no longer any talk of a replaceable battery.
  • The smartphone is still glazed on both sides, making it both fragile and expensive to repair.
  • No one will understand why you should buy an S9 instead of an S8. Samsung has to bribe people to do it with incentives.

In order to solve the last problem, Samsung starts trade-in promotions in cooperation with many dealers. So you can turn your old smartphone (be it an S8 or not) into money if you buy the S9 immediately afterwards. This is definitely a good thing, and I'm all for big brands supporting sustainability.

But Samsung seemed quite modest about this effort when instead, it could be used to really promote a new way forward for smartphone brands. Instead of Bixby and a closed Internet of Things ecosystem, Samsung would have been popular with myself and many others by sounding out their commitment to take care of our real-life ecosystem.

Everything stays the same

Instead, we get another fragile smartphone, which is supposed to make last year's offering obsolete and is yet not really able to do so. Samsung does not spare a single word to address the glaring spare parts situation.

This is a development that passes not only by regular and new customers but also by all people. Samsung is certainly not the only manufacturer with fingers in their ears about this issue. But as the market leader, it should take a better position on one of the most important issues of the future. With its current attitude, Samsung is falls from being a market leader to just one among many in the crowd.

Were you also disappointed by Samsung's showing at MWC? What do you think they should do differently?

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  • Huawei, as good as Samsung, ya ill try Huawei instead of the S9, .


  • I'm disappointed in the s9s specs. I might as well keep my S8 for another year. even without it's Oreo update. S9 is not an upgrade, unless you spend too much money on the plus version.and that's not even a big deal. I would wait for a note 9, or s10 before wasting a thousand dollars. the Samsung string along. I'm not loyal after this scam, i was loyal to Samsung , not anymore, I see their scam. in fact I'm gonna take my sister's extra iPhone 8 plus and use that for a year, let my S8 shutdown, let it die. I'm done with Samsung.


  • Dave 5 months ago Link to comment

    I agree that it's unfortunate to see more copying than leading, but I am by no means ready to rag on Samsung. The S9 has merit that goes beyond the fancy new camera...

    No one (even Samsung themselves it seems) ever talks about the major improvement to the phone's ability to hold signal in locations that are typically weak. The one thing I hate about the S7 and, yes, even the S8 is lousy signal reception in various areas. The S8 Active fixed that issue (introducing 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM), and this will be standard now on the S9 going forward! That's a big deal to those who live in areas with reduced signal or are just in a building with walls that pose an issue for reception and performance. In fact, it's the main reason my wife and I opted not to upgrade to a reduced price S8 because the S8 just doesn't have the power! The S8 Active has it, but lacks other features and design perks. With the improvement in hardware the S9 includes, it's the effect of adding a couple more antennas to the receiving capability of the device... Not to mention big improvement in data handling speed and efficiency. These are welcome improvements that you just don't get with the S8 or S8+. The S9 is NOT the same phone!

    Samsung also has improved its SmartThings app just for this device (which I guess isn't news unless you use it). I love SmartThings and they seem to be effectively rivaling Amazon and Google for tools to engage the smart home environment. Bixby blows away Alexa, plain and simple and the SmartThings system is really great. I'm excited to take my smart home to the next level with this phone! Thank you Samsung!

    Samsung is also pioneering some pretty amazing technology in the battery industry and their charging platform is faster than ever and I expect will only get MUCH better as we move forward. The S9 looks to be much faster at charging than prior models and, hopefully, longer lasting... That's pretty important.

    All that having been said, I can agree that the S9 does appear to be more of a refinement of the S8 in many ways, but that's alright with me because while the S8 is a great phone, the S9 is better and with the added perks, performance, and the amazing camera, I think Samsung remains a top performer no problem and still able to compete in the industry.


  • The big deal for the s9 is that it comes with Oreo. Really that's a big deal halfway through the lifecycle, I don't think so. That's why I stayed away from Samsung and bought a pixel 2, for receiving timely os updates. The rest the s9 offers is fluff to me.


    • You get to be part of the guinea pig group. If you're really worried about updates, I'd go with Apple.


      • Been there done that. My work switched from BB to iPhone 6s and I'm enjoying being a part of team pixel with my personal phone. Blazingly fast and receiving timely updates from Google that don't take what seems to be forever to download and install. Apple's Battery gate via iOS updates makes me wonder what else Apple might be doing that they're not telling us.


  • Mark
    • Admin
    5 months ago Link to comment

    I think the "premium" materials BS is what is making smartphones so boring these days. Fantastic plastic there is so much more you can do with it, it is lighter and more durable. Samsung has gotten totally boring like Apple every phone looks like the last. I hate curved displays. Samsung lost me at the Note 5. and S6 came out all glass fragile garbage. The Note 4 is the last great phone from Samsung. All we get is like others have said is a slightly better chipset maybe a slightly better display, the rest is just gimmicks to sell phones.


  • S8 is garbage I barely used mine and screen broke and they wanted 400 dollars to fix it. I'll never buy another one, I'll use this cracked one till it quits then choose another brand.


  • pentel 5 months ago Link to comment

    Samsung is no longer a market leader? That's because Samsung is catering to a certain segment of the market. Here is who Samsung is selling to:
    - people who like the curved infinity display
    - people who like slim phones

    Some people don't want curved infinity display because:
    - it is easy to activate items on the side display
    - the display may break if it falls on the side

    Some people don't want slim phones because:
    - unlike a wide body phone, there is less space for the onscreen keyboard which results in a smaller keyboard, tight spacing among the keys that makes it harder to type, always hitting the wrong keys.


  • Hey, cool, it is clear that you are not a fan of SAMSUNG, so you would buy all the features that duplicate in a single phone - these are five or six phones ... And what would you buy if you do not like SAMSUNG? Let's not forget that Asians are people who show improvement, and in this case, unifying the newest and most interesting of the phones - I'm referring to SAMSUNG. Today, the G7 runs out - it's a peninsula on the display, which is the most rebellious ... I'm listening to big expectations for the P20, but we'll see it in a month. :-) At this stage I do not see what can be invented or improved. Only a bending phone will be something new and extraordinary.


  • There are no leaders.
    This is now much like the laptop or desktop game.
    It's all commodity hardware.
    Let's see.
    18x9 Screen
    Quad or Eight core Are at 2.5GHz
    4-6GB RAM
    128-256GB storage
    Premium glass and metal build.

    What phone did I describe????
    It's all the same.


  • I believe that these companies (Samsung, apple etc...) should start releasing new models every two to three years apart, since it's taking them a while to come up we new design and significant upgrade. now a day everything is the same. Samsung new features that is on the new Samsung s9, I can do that thru an app give me a break.


  • Samsung as done what it always does,copy Apple again,as Apple are just using the same design of there phones but offer updates in certain sections or features,so Samsung instead of changing the design of there successful S8 models they have just update the camera and new chips in there S9 models,plus updated the Prices of there new phones,so the S9 models might not be as successful as Samsung hoped,as the S8 phones will be more affordable now and consumers will be saving there money for the future S10 or Galaxy X phone,which will a really Top Class phone with a Fingerprint scanner under the screen,to celebrate 10 years of Samsung in the mobile market


  • "Apart from the new two-step adjustable aperture in the main camera, you can get all the other features elsewhere."

    "iPhone X Animoji, XZ Premium Slow mo, Mate 10 Pro's 'DeX' (Samsung have it first before Huawei btw), and HTC stereo speakes"

    If you want ALL these features, you have to buy FOUR different smartphone, while you only need ONE Galaxy S9 to do it all (that starts at $719). Isn't that enough?

    In case you forget, there's loads of thing that the Galaxy S9 can do that other phones can't: world's first F1.5 aperture smartphone camera, dual adjustable aperture, Dolby Atmos 360-degree sound, blood pressure scanner, Intelligent Scan (Iris+Facial recognition), 10 bit photo and video recording, etc...

    If you want to be critical, last year's iPhone 7 also lack innovation, and have the same design as the iPhone 6 from 2015. Just saying.

    Sorry, but as it stands right now, the Galaxy S9 is the most feature pack and complete smartphone in the market


  • As far as I'm concerned, there isn't ANY smartphone manufacturer that is a "leader" in the industry. Realistically, if you look back to when the iPhone came out, ALL smartphones are nothing more than rectangular slabs of plastic, metal & glass. The only "innovation" has been faster chips, better displays, and the silly trend to make everything "slim, sexy, stylish & colorful". Smartphone manufacturers, for the obvious reason, became lazy because people fell for the "faster is better" argument for years, but, now that some are starting to wise up, smartphone sales are globally starting to peak. That means a couple things. Prices will HAVE to come down, if manufacturers want to move product, and, they will have to spend the money for R&D to actually come up with something that can be called...
    INNOVATIVE.


  • I skipped the S8 because I didn't feel it offered much over my S7 and will likely do the same with the S9. Maybe it is time they ditched the Galaxy brand for something new an innovative. If it wasn't so expensive I might go back to a Note (I loved the Note 2)

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