Apple had a great quarter, breaking records for how much profit you can earn in a four month stretch. Samsung, however, had the opposite: during yesterday’s earnings report, the company revealed that its profits were down 36 percent from the same period a year earlier. As CNET reports, that’s the fifth quarter in a row the company’s seen profits fall.
Additionally, the company’s smartphone division continues to suffer, shipping between 74 and 77 million units last quarter, compared with 86 million units from the year before. In short, Samsung is hurting – though it’s not in the red quite yet.
Interestingly, a new report out of SamMobile today says that one of Samsung’s moves to help revitalize its smartphone business is to revamp its custom Android UI, TouchWiz. For those who may not know, the custom UI is pre-loaded with all kinds of unnecessary bloatware, often leading to performance issues and limited memory space. The post explains that Samsung will be “removing every add-on feature that can be downloaded as an application, and slimming down the software by a wide margin in the process.”
While this alone certainly won’t reinvent the smartphone division at Samsung, it certainly couldn’t hurt. Speaking personally, I decided I was done with Samsung devices after dealing with continually shoddy performance with my first Samsung smartphone. Bloatware was definitely partially to blame – though some problems with the GPS sensor, specifically a hardware issue, didn’t help either. If Samsung can trim down TouchWiz to something less intrusive, it should go a long way toward making its devices more attractive.
However, one of the reasons Samsung suffers is that they simply put out too many devices. The Galaxy Note 4 is great, and so is the Galaxy Note 4 Edge – but why do both need to exist? Then there’s the myriad of variations on the regular Galaxy series that finds its way into the bargain bins of every wireless carrier. Samsung has gotten a reputation for making crappy devices because that’s exactly what they do. Instead of having lots of great smartphones to suit the needs of every type of customer, it has lots of lousy smartphones that frustrate and annoy every type of customer.
Contrast that with Apple, which has exactly two new phones this year, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It issues software patches when there are problems, and its hardware works better than the competition, because it only makes two new phones. The lack of differentiation means that the production process can be mastered that much more easily.
I’m over-simplifying the differences between these two companies, sure, but in the end the results speak for themselves. Samsung ought to simplify and make two phones: a flagship, and a BIG flagship, and call it a day. Let customers go to other companies for smaller devices. Furthermore, making fewer phones would cut down overhead, and help what revenue does come in count for more. I’m no businessman, but this all seems like pretty simple math to me.