Today, the South Korean giant Samsung has written on its blog about the company's vision for innovation in the smartphone department. The article, drafted by the Vice President and head of communication of the mobile division of Samsung, gives a clear signal of how the company intends to be part of a new era of smartphones, with folding phones, obviously.
According to Samsung, notches, triple camera configurations and sliding devices do not represent innovation at all in the smartphone industry, but simply low-level alternative solutions. The Seoul-based company has a very different idea of how the industry should be driving innovation and states that the time has now, finally, arrived.
In a post on Samsung's official blog, the company's Vice President, Hark-sang Kim, stated that sales in 2018 were modest. This sentence is addressed mainly to shareholders, who have trembled a bit seeing the latest smartphone sales results for the last quarter of 2018, marked by a sharp decline in sales and profits compared to the same period of the previous year.
But the VP reassures everyone in the second part of his editorial, when he starts talking about a new era of smartphones that has finally arrived, and Samsung is ready to unveil it. Kim explained that the company had to work for seven consecutive years to perfect its folding smartphone, not counting the new user experience and interface. Not to mention the sums of money that the company has had to invest in its partners and third-party manufacturers to develop the materials that make up this new technology.
We also had to rethink the placements of the battery, cooling system, and camera so that they can be placed inside the slim body efficiently - Hark-sang Kim
Finally, Kim also briefly explained the enormous work behind the software department, reassuring users that the new user interface and applications will be able to adapt naturally to the new form factor, switching easily and quickly from extended to reduced mode. When it comes to "applications", however, it is not clear whether the VP is refering to redesigned system apps or to certain third-party apps developed in collaboration with Samsung.
It is not uncommon to see Samsung make agreements with certain companies to have their apps pre-installed on its devices, Microsoft and Facebook for example. Moreover, considering that the new One UI user interface dedicated to folding smartphones has been developed in close collaboration between Samsung and Google, it is possible that even the big G suite may be quite different from "old" smartphones.
For sure, whoever buys the new Galaxy Fold (if it is called that) will find themselves in situations of incompatibility with some third party apps, at least until developers have access to a dedicated SDK that will give them the opportunity to update and adapt their apps to switch between the "normal" and extended modes. This is where, in my opinion, the challenge will come alive: will developers be encouraged to create apps for this new ecosystem, or not?
After all (and unfortunately, I would add), ever since apps existed, they themselves have been moving the scales several times. Remember Microsoft's Windows Phone (RIP)? One of the many reasons the devices failed miserably in sales was certainly the absence of apps. Even the most popular ones, such as WhatsApp and Facebook, were unmanageable in every respect.
Samsung's trump card on the app side is to have chosen to use Android as the operating system and not to venture into the development of a completely new one, at least not now. We will know more in less than a month when the company will lift the curtain on its latest creations during the first Unpacked event in 2019. Stay tuned!
Do you agree with the words of the Vice President of Samsung Mobile?