For long, phones have been differentiated and chosen using their processing power, cameras, and other technical specifications. However, in recent times, it’s the design, look and feel of a smartphone that seems to be fueling the rivalry between smartphone giants; Apple and Samsung.
Charles L. Mauro, President of MauroNewMedia, which is a product-design research firm that has worked with both Apple and Samsung explained that “A smartphone’s looks now accounts for about 50 percent of a consumer’s decision in purchasing a device, with the assessment formed in roughly one second.” This is true, as high-end smartphones sometimes tend to have more processing power and capabilities that are just surplus to most user’s needs.
This, therefore, has seen most of the focus in smartphone design shift to how stylish the phone is, and how its looks appeal to the user. “Companies used to design phones to show off their technology,” said Samsung design Chief M.H. Lee in an interview. “Now the focus is on developing a product that can be a buddy to the person, inseparable to them.”
This is now evident, as Samsung has in the recent past been putting extra effort into coming up with a strong design culture. Mr. Lee, the 45-year-old design executive, has repeatedly been put in the spotlight for this. At the moment, Samsung is outdoing Apple with its phone quality and design. This is evident as Consumer Reports have ranked Samsung as the top smartphone in the market, for the second year running.
Samsung reported that Galaxy S8 sales reached 1 million sales in its home market within half the time taken by its flagship predecessor, Galaxy S7. This has raised the bar even higher for Apple, as the American tech giants plan to release their 10th anniversary iPhone this fall. However, analysts have said that if Apple is to outdo Samsung’s S8 design with iPhone 8, then they need an outstanding feature like the rumored fingerprint sensor beneath the display, rather than the physical home button they have been using.
According to Mr. Lee, the two primary design goals for the Galaxy S8 were making the phone slimmer and giving it a better grip, then extending the screen to the sides which were by doing away with the bezels surrounding the display edges. This was enabled by the AMOLED display technology that Samsung now manufactures, and they managed to come up with the 5.8-inch display that Galaxy S8 boasts. It’s larger than iPhone 7 plus display, but it’s contained in a narrower, slimmer screen.
The general design that Apple now uses in its smartphones was pioneered back in 2007, with the original iPhone. It is then that they popularized the widely used concept of the home button and the touch screen. Samsung, on the other hand, distinguished themselves by introducing a bigger more than 5” screen in 2011. They have since evolved and removed the bezels around the display, and it is expected that Apple will adopt the technology later this year.