Samsung has done a lot of things right in 2021, but there are a few areas that need attention.
Samsung performed strongly in 2021, and the South Korean manufacturer continues to maintain its position as the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer. This is mainly due to the Galaxy A series, Samsung has witnessed a substantial increase in sales in the past two years.
Samsung’s foldable strategy has also paid off; the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are as reliable as the Galaxy S21 series in daily use, and this time they even include water resistance.
Wearable devices are also progressing well. Google and Samsung teamed up to integrate Tizen into Wear OS, and the resulting Wear OS 3 platform made its debut on the Galaxy Watch 4 series. Samsung is in a leading position in many areas, but there are also some problems. This is the problem that the brand needs to solve when we enter 2022.
Launched non-crease foldable products
Samsung doubled the foldability on Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 this year. Both devices have a stronger chassis, better durability, IP68 water resistance, and similar internal hardware to their Galaxy S21 siblings.
Samsung needs a foldable, non-crease product to compete with Find N in 2022.
After using Z Fold 3 for nearly four months, I can prove its long-term durability. Samsung has shown that it can launch foldable products that can withstand daily wear and tear, which is a huge achievement.
Although Samsung has successfully achieved a good leading position in the field of foldable products by being the first to go public, there will be several Chinese manufacturers entering this field in 2022. We have already seen the launch of OPPO Find N, which offers a folding design similar to Z Fold 3, but without a crease in the middle.
Samsung also needs to develop a way to eliminate the creases of its 2022 foldable products. I have always believed that the entry of Chinese manufacturers will promote the development of foldable products, because this will inevitably reduce costs, and we will start to see this next year. Therefore, it should not be difficult for Samsung to maintain its leading position—after all, it is the only manufacturer that sells foldable products in North America—but it will see greater pressure outside the region.
Make a cheap phone as good as Xiaomi
Samsung is clearly the best Android phone, and the Galaxy S21 series continues to perform well nearly a year after its debut. One area where Samsung has reversed the situation in recent years is the mid-range category, where the Galaxy A52 5G provides an excellent overall solution.
But when it comes to budget phones, Samsung can’t compare with its Chinese competitors. This is not because of lack of experimentation.Samsung has one a lot of Devices under $250, including Galaxy A03, A13, and even A32. These devices are now marked in the Galaxy A series. Despite this, Samsung is still using the same strategy as the Galaxy J series. In this series, the hardware of the new models it released is lackluster, and there is no meaningful difference from the previous models.
Samsung has a lot of cheap phones, but they can’t be compared with Xiaomi and Realme.
If Samsung wants to maintain its market share in major global markets, this situation needs to change. As Xiaomi enters the UK and other countries in the region, Samsung needs to reconsider its budget strategy.
The situation in the UK and other Western markets is the same as in India. Four years ago, Xiaomi surpassed Samsung in the country, and has still not given up its position. Since devices under US$300 account for the vast majority of sales in India, Samsung has nothing in the Galaxy J series that can challenge the strong strength of the Redmi Note product portfolio.
Samsung has turned its strategy into credibility and released Galaxy M and Galaxy F models in selected Asian countries/regions. These models offer much better hardware than their Galaxy A siblings in similar products. However, it now needs to do the same on a global scale to keep its crown as the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer.
Provide faster updates for its cheap phones
Samsung has reversed the situation in terms of software updates, and the brand now guarantees three platform updates and four-year security updates for its mid-range Galaxy A and flagship devices. It can also provide timely updates; Galaxy S and Galaxy Z series phones and Pixels receive monthly security updates at the same time.
Samsung has the resources to provide three platform updates for all devices in its product portfolio.
The stable update of One UI 4 based on Android 12 is now entering the Galaxy S21 product portfolio. Apart from some initial failures, there are many things to like in the UI. However, Samsung’s shortcomings lie in updating cheap phones and low-end Galaxy J, Galaxy M and Galaxy F. Not to mention, cheap Galaxy A devices have not received almost as many updates as the Galaxy S series, nor have they received timely platform updates.
For example, the Galaxy M and Galaxy A models launched this year will not switch to One UI 4 until the second quarter of 2022 at the latest, which is eight months longer than the Galaxy S21 series. Understandably, the brand’s focus on its cheap phones is different from its focus on foldable phones and Galaxy S devices, but if anyone has the resources to provide long-term updates to all devices in its portfolio, it’s Samsung.
As I said above, Samsung has no advantage in this category of hardware, so a good way to differentiate its budget products is to provide more software updates than competitors. Offering three platform updates for its cheap phones will greatly strengthen Samsung’s position in this category, especially when you consider that most phones under $300 get only one platform update.
Launched a small tablet computer equipped with high-end hardware
If you want a 2021 tablet, then your best choice is the iPad Air. Unfortunately, the Android tablet segment has stagnated in recent years. The problem is Google-it has not done enough to extend Android for tablets.
Samsung needs to launch an iPad mini competitor in 2022.
Therefore, even the best Android tablet — ostensibly Samsung, because it is the only manufacturer that still releases high-end tablets at a regular tempo — cannot be compared to the iPad. Fortunately, with the widespread use of Android 12L, this situation should change in the next few months.
When it comes to hardware, Samsung needs to launch a small tablet with high-end hardware. The brand has done a good job with the large 10.4 or 11-inch tablets in the Tab S and the budget-focused Tab A series, but it hasn’t launched a smaller model with a powerful internal structure for some time. The Galaxy A7 Tab Lite is close in terms of screen size, but it is aimed at the budget category, and the hardware provided is mediocre at best.
Samsung needs a tablet computer comparable to the iPad mini, which is a small tablet with a screen size of less than 9 inches and equipped with the latest hardware. This form factor has great potential, and with the advent of Android 12L, now is the ideal time for Samsung to redouble its efforts in this regard.
Solve the quality control problems of wearable devices and earplugs
Samsung makes the best Android smartwatches, and currently it has the exclusive right to sell the Galaxy Watch 4 series on Wear OS 3, which led to the initial sales boom. Although smart watches have many things to offer, they are not without problems. The recent update has made the Galaxy Watch 4 series unusable on non-Samsung phones, and Samsung has not taken too many measures to solve this problem, nor has it even acknowledged it.
Samsung needs to do better in acknowledging and solving problems.
This is not new to Samsung. The brand sometimes tends to be stubborn—especially when admitting hardware or software problems—that attitude needs to change. Because the problems of the Galaxy Watch 4 series cause users to find solutions on their own without any guidance from Samsung, this is not a good idea for the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer.
The failure of Galaxy Watch 4 is not the first problem this year. My colleague Chris Wedel highlighted how Galaxy Buds Pro caused ear infections due to the materials used. It took Samsung more than a month to admit that there may be a problem with the earbuds.
Obviously, no brand is willing to admit that they messed up, but Samsung needs to lead by example because of its position in the industry. It needs to do better in acknowledging problems and making corrections.