Dear Samsung, Y U NO INNOV8?Nikhil Pradhan, 11 Oct' 2011
I want to like you Samsung. After all, you have the obvious best smartphone in the market today in the Galaxy S II. Your phones also tend to blow segments wide open like the Galaxy 5 did to the budget phones segment. Consumers love you because your products tend to provide the best value-for-money. You are one of the champions of Android, an operating system that I love.
So, why is that you continue to wrestle in the mud, being "inspired" by your competitors instead of forging ahead being a true innovator?
For a long time, I was a Samsung apologist. I looked at the Galaxy S UI and saw how it was "inspired" by the iPhone's. However, if anyone brought that up, I would keep using the words "price" and "VFM" to make them go away. But then you released the Galaxy Tab, a product that was launched just because you wanted to capitalize on the iPad's launch. Unfortunately, many Android aficionados (me included) were so besotted by an Android tablet, that we overlooked the fact that in many aspects (such as when it came to Web browsing), the Tab was a broken product. And now, when I caught sight of the Galaxy Tab 750 (10.1 elsewhere), the fact that it looked so much like the iPad 2, made me seriously question you.
I remember a time when your TouchWIZ UI while not the most usable, looked and worked uniquely. Like on the Symbian Omnia phones when you had touch widgets and homescreens when the concepts weren't even popular. Nowadays, you seem to be happy rolling around in the cash, content with not innovating.
The thing that makes me mad is when your name gets associated with Android. You are a market leader, yes, but I'm not sure fans of your phones would like to think too hard about how you managed to climb to the top of the pile. Instead of using the fact that you are the biggest player in the Android segment as a plank to come up with new exciting things to take the OS ahead, you seem to be caught up with looking back at what Apple is doing.
Now let's get to your Bada OS. I appreciate the risk you took with coming up with your own OS and manufacturing great devices such as the original Wave and the Wave II smartphones. But did you have to again get so hung up on the design and usability elements introduced by Android and the iOS?
Maybe all the patent wars that have sprung up now will do you some good. Maybe, the various lawsuits will make you sit back and think about how you want to exist in 2012. Maybe, you will realize that with all the goodwill that you have and capital you've collected, you can actually develop Android in a way that will make the Galaxy S III, not only the best phone in the market, but also the most innovative one.
But till then, Samsung, you might make me agree to the fact that the Galaxy S II is indeed the best phone in the market, and you might continue to make tons of money, but it makes me sad to see you following someone else's footsteps when you could be leading the way.
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Nikhil Pradhan is a die-hard PC gamer who pities the fools that look at any other form of gaming. He has lost countless hours in the various worlds that make up Western RPGs and also arguing about why Metallica has never lost their mojo.