Second Chances: Samsung has a chance to rebound after complications with the Note 7
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When the Note 7 was unveiled on Aug. 2, 2016, it seemed to be the perfect handset. It had a gorgeous display, a wouldn’t say best-in-class camera and an innovative iris scanning technology. As verge.com put it, “The Note 7 is quite a few steps ahead its competitors.” However, news coverage of the device soon turned from raving reviews to reports of its design defect. After months of recalls, replacements and bans, the Note 7 was officially taken off of shelves, solidifying the Note 7 as one of the largest tech recalls of all time and leaving the future of one of the company’s flagship devices unclear. With Mobile World Congress coming up on Feb. 27, consumers will likely get their first look at Samsung’s Galaxy S8 very soon. However, what must Samsung accomplish with this new handset in order to recover from the Note 7?
The most important message that Samsung needs for its consumers is that it has learned and it will avoid another battery disaster. Clarity is key here. If Samsung does not officially recognize its failure on stage, consumers will assume that Note 7’s issue will prevail. Telling consumers that the company is protecting against another battery issue is the best way to give them confidence in the product. Samsung has already made steps in the right direction. The company has opened an advanced-testing facility to assure that devices do not suffer from the same issues again. According to Forbes Magazine, Samsung has been testing over 200,000 Note 7 units to identify the issue that plagued the device. The company has also made an official statement detailing its finding. However, for the consumer to have faith in their product, Samsung needs to show what it has learned at the S8 event, including the testing and the measures it will take to prevent battery defects in the future.
However, purely convincing users its devices are once again safe to use is not enough. Samsung must give consumers the features they want in order to truly recover. Therefore, one of the most important features Samsung must include in its new device is a headphone jack. Although it may seem like a small feature, looking back at the reactions to the iPhone 7 launch shows that it is very important to many people. Most people already have headphones, and they do not want to have to buy new products or use a clumsy adapter in order to listen to their music. In a poll conducted by Droid Life, 71 percent of voters said a smartphone needs a headphone jack, indicating the overwhelming desire for the port. Although one can argue that wireless headphones are the future of personal audio, this technology is still too expensive for most consumers and of lower quality than a wired connection. With more and more companies choosing to omit a headphone jack, Samsung can make its device the perfect option for users.
It is also imperative that Samsung impresses the general populous with its new phone. The average consumer does not consider the technical specifications of a device before making a purchase. They will decide based off of advertisement and word of mouth. Therefore, a groundbreaking device would build hype around the handset’s release, making more people consider purchasing it. S8 leaks suggest that the company is moving in the right direction. Renders of the phone show a screen that covers almost the entire front panel, top and bottom bezels only wide enough to incorporate a camera and earpiece and sides that curve elegantly to the back. Other leaks have also shown that the device may, to accommodate this design, have a fingerprint sensor built into the screen. In a world where smartphone innovation has stagnated, leading to a monotonous cycle of annual refreshes with incremental spec boosts, a device with such an innovative design could take the technology world with storm, exciting consumers and influencing them to buy the device.
With Samsung’s tainted reputation, the company has a lot of work ahead of it. Samsung needs to make a favorable impression with its next major device, not only in the eyes of the tech savvy, but also in the eyes of the average consumer. Despite its current disadvantage, the direction that Samsung is seemingly going in is the right one, and I believe the company has the opportunity to become even stronger than it was before the Note 7.