These are the 3 smartphone strategies Samsung should borrow from Apple

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 30 Jan 2015

at goes up must come down—that was the gist of Samsung’s dnesday earnings report. The company revealed that profits for its mobile business slid a whopping 64 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. That’s really bad news considering Samsung remains the world’s top phone manufacturer. (For now.)

But there’s a reason for everything. Samsung’s phone business is feeling pressure from Apple on three key fronts: br identity, software simplicity, hardware sophistication. Samsung might be the reigning King of Android, but if it wants to continue to rule the entire smartphone world, it will need to get serious about overhauling its business, , dare I say it, borrow strategies from Apple.

Samsung needs a personality

en I see an Apple or commercial on TV, I instinctively know which company is making the pitch, even before a product pops on screen. Both companies send such distinct marketing signals: Apple’s commercials are overtly emotional, are usually set to some kind of acoustic soundtrack. ’s ad spots, either for Android or Nexus devices, show how Android gear will help edify our lives. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve teared up over that one commercial with the little girl who wants to go to space.

But Samsung’s advertising spots have never appealed to me emotionally. Sure, Samsung’s got a memorable slogan—“The Next Big Thing”—but why do I want what’s next? y is my current gadget always not good enough?

Samsung’s commercials often feel like they’re more about showing off talent (see the Kristen Bell spot above) rather than illustrating how Samsung gadgets improve our lives. But the bring problem goes beyond TV advertising. Even Samsung keynotes—videocast to would-be phone buyers around the world—lack a specific identity (other than oftentimes being just plain bizarre). ere Apple cultivates cults of personality around its presenters, Samsung wheels out executives no one really knows. 

Bottom line: Samsung’s marketing arm needs to stop whatever it’s doing, explore a top-down overhaul designed to capture the hearts minds of a broad, diverse user base. At its keynotes, it should employ just one very personable executive to highlight a few of the wonderful, key features of its next “big” device. And when that device finally goes on sale, its TV spots should focus on explaining the features that justify that “next big thing” tag in a human, resonant way.

Samsung needs a simple UI

stock kitkat versus touchwiz

’s stock KitKat (left) Samsung’s Touchz Nature UX (right) are vastly different UIs, though they’re built on top of the same code. 

Samsung’s Touchz Nature UX is gaudy busy, while there are certainly worse Android overlays out there, that’s no excuse when you’re the largest Android device manufacturer in the world. Apple’s iOS is far, far from perfect. It doesn’t really do that much. But it’s generally dead-simple, that’s why mainstream normals love it.

Step one: Ditch the bloatware, Samsung. Apple doesn’t tack on any bloatware to its devices, even when a carrier begs them to. Step two: Cut down on the UI overlay. know you’re obsessed with becoming a platform in of itself, but near-stock software typically runs the best on Android devices. This approach would also speed up your ability to roll out faster updates when revises Android itself.

Finally, enthusiasts want pure Android, not over-customized versions of it. So appeal to a passionate base that can evangelize your products. From there, a broad base of consumers will follow.

Thankfully, there are already rumors that Samsung is on the path to UI simplicity. t’s just hope it sticks to it.

Samsung needs better looking phones

Samsung has shown it’s capable of sophisticated industrial design with the recently launched Galaxy pha the Galaxy Note 4, but it’s still seen as the company with big, plastic phones. As competition increases both stateside overseas, design will become ever-more important. That’s right: Don’t assume “emerging markets” will accept commodity-caliber hardware. Apple is kicking ass in Asia,  brs in China are selling relatively well just because their products resemble the ione.

galaxys5 9 Homnick

Nope! That’s not metal! It’s just plastic on the Galaxy S5.

Of course, Samsung shouldn’t design ione rip-offs. But it does need to convince consumers that owning one of its smartphones is a status move. That’s exactly how Apple has convinced (fooled?) its ione users. And 74.5 billion iones later, we see that it’s working.

A new year, a new Samsung

This was not a good week for any company to announce that its mobile business is faltering. But it is a new year, we’ve yet to see what Samsung has on the horizon. I’m already optimistic, as there was murmuring about metal casings on the Samsung earnings call. One representative outright said, “ are planning to increase the adoption of metal cases within our product lineup.” Good!

Samsung knows it’s in trouble, that it’s got a rough year ahead. But if it can skew its smartphone business to be more consumer-facing, more simple, more premium, it can reverse the tide help keep Android on top for at least another year.