What follows the Galaxy S? - Mobile World Live

What follows the Galaxy S?

10 JAN 2011

Samsung is, justifiably, proud of the Galaxy S smartphone, having sold ten million of the Android-powered devices between its launch in June 2010 and January 2011. In a statement, it said that sales “outperformed even our expectations,” and that it will look to deliver “leading innovation and building smartphones that will maximise user experiences.” But the big question is, what will come next?

It perhaps seems unnecessarily negative to focus on the downside of the success of Galaxy S, when it is still at the top of its game. But the fact remains that Samsung now has to come up with something to follow it, while its rivals are also upping their game. Within the Android community, for example, Motorola announced some impressive looking devices at CES 2011 recently, with spec sheets that trump those of Galaxy S, while Samsung’s Nexus S has hardly been welcomed as groundbreaking. Does Samsung have the brand value to stop customers moving elsewhere, when its rivals are offering competing devices using the same core OS, with ever increasing performances?

There are some precedents to observe here. The most obvious being Motorola’s RAZR featurephone, which re-defined the handset industry with its appealing slimline form factor. But Motorola failed to follow up on this, with its subsequent attempts to update the RAZR line failing to impress, as the company seemed to be focusing on its past glory rather than introducing new innovations. As the RAZR slipped from its perch to become a mass market, mid-tier device, there was nothing in the Motorola portfolio able to replace it at the high-end, to create a halo effect over the rest of the portfolio.

Other devices have also had their moment in the spotlight. Nokia’s N95, for example, was the device to be seen with for some time, while Apple has done a sterling job of keeping the iPhone at the top of its game through what is arguably a series of incremental upgrades. But staying at the top is not easy – as Motorola and Sony Ericsson will undoubtedly concur.

But, to enable Samsung to bask in the glory of Galaxy S again for a moment, its dilemma is one that many of its rivals would love to face.

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