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.

Movies & TV

In Avengers: Endgame, Marvel saved its best (and biggest) for last

Marvel Studios concludes its 22-film saga with Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War and the culmination of more than a decade of movies. It gives fans one of the franchise's most epic and emotional installments so far.

Here's how much it will cost to buy the Galaxy S10 5G, and when it releases

Samsung announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show, as it will be the first 5G-ready smartphone to hit the market.

iFixit's teardown might show the reason the Galaxy Fold keeps breaking

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

Solve a galaxy of problems with a simple reset of your S10

If your Samsung smartphone is acting up, then you may want to try resetting it. We'll show you how to overcome simple issues with a soft reset and also how to tackle bigger problems or prep it for sale with a factory reset.

Step into Childish Gambino’s musical universe with the Pharos AR app

Childish Gambino seems to be on a mission to take over everyone's smartphones. Now you can experience his musical and visual universe through his new Pharos AR app, available on Android now and iOS soon.

Need a minute to yourself? Buy some alone time with the best tablets for kids

Looking to keep those tiny fingers and brains busy? Tablets aren’t just for grown-ups, and many are kid-friendly! Here's our list of the best tablets for kids, with parental controls and plenty of tempting features to satisfy your…

Bigger isn’t always better: 5 of the smallest smartphones worth buying

Phones are getting larger and larger, but what options exist for the small-of-hand, or people who just want a phone they can use one-handed? In a world of phablets, some of the smallest smartphones can still pack a punch.

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?

Waze and Google Maps are two of the most popular apps for those looking for turn-by-turn navigation, yet there are some notable differences to point out. Here, we examine both to decide which offers the best feature set.

Before buying a Fitbit, check out these Garmin fitness trackers under $100

The Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, but it's not cheap. Thankfully, there are plenty of fitness trackers under $100, and they offer many of the same features. Here are the best fitness trackers under $100.
Health & Fitness

Google’s redesigned Fit activity tracker is now an iOS app

Google Fit has landed for iOS. The activity tracker offers the same clean design that arrived with the major revamp of the Android version a year ago, with features such as Move Minutes and Heart Points also included.

Stunning photo shows Honor 20 will get the full Moschino designer treatment

Honor will launch the Honor 20 on May 21, at an event taking place in London. A special Moschino version will also be revealed, potentially with a Lite version, and perhaps even another model also showing up on the day.

Leak says Huawei will supply 5G equipment to the U.K., but with a caveat

A leak from the U.K.'s National Security Council says Huawei has been approved to supply certain 5G infrastructure equipment, but not the core components related to secure aspects of the network.