Samsung’s new approach is not only refreshing, it’s paying off big time

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Things looked bleak for Samsung a year ago. It’s flagship phones were under-performing and the mobile market was heading into a recession. Fast forward one year and things are better than ever, but it’s not because the mobile market is back on course. It has more to do with Samsung’s philosophy.

For the first time, the company decided to go completely against the grain by not trying to out-spec everyone else. It also stopped the “satisfy everyone” approach characterized by offering every type of smartphone imaginable.

The camera on the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is the perfect example of not trying to out-spec the competition. Samsung always offered the same or higher megapixel count with every Galaxy S release, but the S7 and S7 Edge were downgraded from 16 to 12-megapixels. “In the past, based on our past decision-making process, we never would have gone back,” said Kim Gae-youn, vice president in charge of Samsung’s smartphone product planning.

Executives at Samsung argued about it until the last minute, but the decision to go lower was the right one. The lower megapixels meant better camera quality than its predecessor with unbelievable low light performance and a super fast autofocus. Consumers agreed. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are doing amazingly well in a depressed market, and the latest survey from Katner Research indicates more than half of all S7 buyers rank the camera quality high on their list.

Another major change has to be Samsung’s commitment to phase out useless hardware. Samsung used to offer every type of smartphone possible in order to flood the market. That did work for a while, but that was when smartphone growth was at full steam. In a slower-growth environment, Samsung had to stop the “satisfy everyone” approach and streamline its portfolio.

According to Counterpoint, Samsung cut a third of its product portfolio. On top of that, it brought high-end features like metal designs and OLED displays to low and mid-range products. This enabled the company to use the same parts for many of its phones, which cut costs. More importantly, consumers were no longer confused with the plethora of phones available.

This move was yet another tough decision for Samsung. Kim said executives had a hard time with it because the regional sales staff felt each market needed a specific phone to satisfy those local consumers. However, the company made the right decision again as it spurred a recovery in big markets like India.

With a banner first quarter, things are as solid as ever at Samsung, but analysts are only cautiously optimistic. Global smartphone growth is still expected to slow to 7 percent this year and the company hasn’t recovered in China, the world’s top smartphone market. Samsung is ranked sixth in China behind the likes of Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo.

Samsung might not be completely out of the woods, but the company made the tough decisions to put it on the right path. Only time will tell if this path will continue to lead toward prosperity, or if another fork in the road lies ahead.

Mobile

The Galaxy A8s is Samsung's first with a hole-punch camera cutout

Samsung is building exciting, technologically innovative midrange phones, and the latest to be revealed is the new Samsung Galaxy A8s, which may give us an idea of what the new Samsung Galaxy S10 will look like.
Mobile

Upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 trio may all have different camera setups

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Today’s best Amazon deals: Bose, Keurig, and Butterball

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but for retail giants like Amazon, the savings are only getting started. We've scoured the depths of Amazon to find you the very best deals going on right now.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Movies & TV

Ice meets fire in HBO's latest 'Game of Thrones' season 8 teaser

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Mobile

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.
Outdoors

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Smart Home

Uber Eats is testing a system for cheaper meal delivery

You know how Uber Pool offers cheaper trips if riders share a car? Well, Uber Eats is currently testing the same idea for meal delivery, and it could mean cheaper orders for customers.
Mobile

New Apple Watch begins saving lives one week after getting EKG feature

The Apple Watch Series 4 was updated almost a week ago with a new feature that allows users to take electrocardiogram tests -- and already it seems like the new feature is saving lives.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.