Given what I’ve posted about Samsung’s patent filings for revolutionary new smartphones, you might be feeling pretty excited about where the world’s biggest Android smartphone manufacturer is going. You might therefore also be worried by the exit of J.K. Shin from his position as president of Samsung’s mobile communications business and his replacement by Dongjin Koh. Does this mean we may never see those great new technologies?
According to Reuters, Shin retains overall responsibility for the Samsung Electronics mobile business, and will focus more on long-term strategic development. This presumably means that projects already in the works will continue for now. However, the pressure is publicly on Samsung to revive its smartphone business as Chinese competitors like Huawei and Xaomi forge ahead with ever-stronger products and rising brand value.
In fact, the new management changes and the sales slides underlying them might increase the emphasis on the radical new designs. Samsung’s fundamental problem, according to deeper analysis of its business worries, is the commoditization of the plain-vanilla candy-bar smartphone format. Its sales and profit slide in the second quarter of this year, in fact, are attributed to Shin’s failure to anticipate strong demand for the new Galaxy S6 Edge, with its innovative beveled screen. That contributed to a 38 percent profit drop in the quarter. If that’s an indicator of what failure to read the public’s appetite for innovation can do, we may see cutting-edge designs out of Samsung sooner rather than later. After all, out-there design is one of the areas where Samsung can still command an edge over its Chinese competition.