back to article Samsung to boot out Shin after Galaxy S5 tanks – report

Sales of the Galaxy S5 have so disappointed Samsung that it is reportedly looking at ousting mobile boss JK Shin and parachuting in appliances and telly tsar BK Yoon – who would oversee mobiles as well as his existing remit. Whichever way you cut it, the S5 has done badly:revenue, margins, year-on-year sales against the S4 or …

  1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    Good hardware... but

    I'm sure they'd do a whole lot better if they stopped filling their phones with bloatware. Wouldn't you be much more tempted if the Android installation was kept cleaner like the Google Nexus, rather than trying to push loads of un-removable and crappy Sammy apps? Also, why not put the Android update process in the control of users?

    Shazam, instant success follows.

    1. BigAndos

      Re: Good hardware... but

      Completely agree! I rooted my S4 and put Cyanogenmod on it, I got sick of all the mandatory installed cr*pware and Kies (the syncing software) is an abomination.

      As you say they are great at hardware. I've had two Samsung TVs, one which lasted me 15 years and one which is about 6-7 years old and going strong. However, my Samsung "Smart" blu ray is absolutely horrendous to use due to terrible software.

      If they kept focused on making meaningful hardware improvements with each model and made it run as close to stock Android as possible I think they would see bigger sales in future.

      1. Shane Sturrock

        Re: Good hardware... but

        I stopped buying all Samsung gear after they dropped support for my almost new Blu ray player just because they had released a new version. The last firmware update they put out for mine knocked the audio out of sync and after months of waiting for a fix which never came, I returned the player (it was 6 months old at this point) to the store for a Panasonic - the consumer guarantees act in NZ gives you the right to reject a device as unfit for purpose if the manufacturer has failed to rectify the issue and I had returned my original one which was replaced and as soon as I tried to play a new Blu ray it needed the update and bam, the audio was out of sync again.

        Samsung may make good hardware, but their software is appalling and I won't be caught dead with their kit again.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Good hardware... but

      Some of the software is pretty good but it should all be easily removable. Fortunately, rooting Samsungs is pretty easily done.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Good hardware... but

        This may be my bias showing... As like 90% of my rooting experience has been on Samsung... But, yeah the above statement is 100% correct. It also helps to have a rather Large & Dedicated Community of Hackers / Coders at one time working together to crank out those Nightly Updates...

        Not really the kind of thing you'll likely find with Xioami Phones at the moment. Though I'm sure this may well change soon enough...

      2. lotus49

        Re: Good hardware... but

        You can root it if you don't mind it tripping the Knox efuse.

        I have an S4 that's almost out of contract. It's a great phone and I was able to root it before they rolled out the Knox-enabled firmware but I shan't be buying any more Samsung phone for this very reason.

        My next phone in a month's time, will be a Nexus 6.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Good hardware... but

      Samsung adds the extra stuff to differentiate themselves. They want to create an attachment to Samsung phones so if you own one you'll want to upgrade to another Samsung, as opposed to upgrading to another Android.

      You guys might wish everyone sold generic Android, but that's Samsung's worst nightmare - then when Xiaomi expands to the US and EU, why exactly would anyone pay 2.5x the price for the latest Galaxy S when it is running identical software?

      1. ScottME

        Re: Good hardware... but

        The trick to differentiating yourself is to offer something different - not like Samsung's "me too" apps which have absolutely no compelling advantage over de-facto standard Android apps most of which are popular, well-established, trusted, and free. Samsung Push Service - WTF?

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Good hardware... but

        >why exactly would anyone pay 2.5x the price for the latest Galaxy S when it is running identical software?

        That is why its tanking. We don't mind paying more if the thing is better but the software differentiation is not enough to make it worth that much more. They need to stop matching Apple and make the best phone hardware they can.

        That means - put an SD card slot in it, look at making an aluminium casing, invest in the Kies stuff to make it usable - maybe PoE/mini-DVI for thin-client work. Get some sync going for people with itunes libraries to ease that transition. If they are not good at the UI (which Kies suggests) put some effort into Android itself. Pump some money into Android security projects, make it (or Tizen) properly multiuser based on thumbprint.

        It often strikes me that manufacturers do a bit of work and then stop making an effort, especially with sync software.

    4. PeterGriffin

      Re: Good hardware... but

      Couldn't agree more. The other angle which will ultimately crucify Samsung is the networks. Apple have a unified user experience irrespective of network. Samsung owners, unless willing to root and void their warranty, are at the mercy of the networks as to which software updates they get and when...

  2. g e

    S5.. .meh

    I stuck with my S4 as it's a very good phone and the S5 was not a compelling upgrade proposition. S5 is a good phone but only for people moving from, say, S3 type devices or lower.

    Sticking Cyanogenmod on the S4 has magically given it towards 50% extra battery life, too, so yeah, bloat-averse here, too, though Cyanogenmod does feel a bit basic in some screens by comparison.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: S5.. .meh

      FWIW I get the same battery life out of mine with Cyanogenmod as with Samsung's distro with energy saving options enabled. But the biggest difference is switching WiFi on only when needed.

  3. Obitim

    Samsung's Problem

    Is that it's been happy enough to rest on it's laurels since the S3.

    After losing my iPhone 4 at a festival I was swayed by the S2 and picked one up - I was impressed with the specs of the phone and how it was better than the iPhone in every way, I was impressed enough to upgrade to the S3 with it;s larger screen, extra memory and SD card expansion.

    Then the S4 happened and I didn't feel that the improvements warranted a purchase and then the S5 caused a similar lack of impressedness with a lack of innovation with the design and the extras (airtouch? Fitness? even as an avid gym goer these didn;t float my boat).

    What I ended up looking for was a phone that had the externals that I wanted, at a price I was happy with so the things that matter to me:

    SD Card slot

    Front facing speaker (as I use my phone as a radio when cooking)

    I think that Samsung's issue is slavishly sticking to a form which it can produce but showing no changes in ideology for how the sound is produced by the device (possibly the lawsuits didn't help either), and lack of updates for Android OS for the phone.

    Oh yeah, and producing duplicate apps of all the cones supplied by Google too...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung's Problem

      "I think that Samsung's issue is ...."

      I agree with your comment about small improvements, but I see the problem the other way round: With the S4 (at launch) and the S5 they created a real problem of pricing themselves out of the market. That appears to be driven by excessive ambition on margin rather than the bill of materials.

      If they'd priced the incoming handsets at more credible price then it would have been an easier upgrade decision from the previous model (or less of stretch for those aspiring to upgrade from mid-market models). But like you, I'm happy with an S3. In a year or so's time I'll probably upgrade to what will then be a discounted end-of-line S5, unless the S5 replacement comes out at a much better launch price - which I can't see myself.

      This premium pricing is just corporate vanity. Samsung need to decide if they want volume sales at lower margin, or are prepared to sacrifice volume to be able to report big margins on the new model. I think Samsung's big cheeses think there's some magic sauce, and if they can find it they'll be like Apple, able to do premium prices and some volume. Samsung are wrong - Apple have defined and filled their own niche, and own their own software - but I doubt they'll see that.

      So here's expecting Samsung to repeat the pattern: an even bigger S6, with a titanium chassis, me-too sapphire screen, rhino-horn backplate, iris scanner, pointless higher res screen, higher pixel count on an otherwise average camera. And more Sammy bloatware pre-installed, all for £1,000 a pop.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Rhino horn backplate

        Shhhh, not so loud, someone in China will see this as a market opportunity and it'll start a trend!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung's Problem

      Front based speakers + SD slot would be the HTC One M8.

      1. Obitim

        Re: Samsung's Problem

        That;s what I jumped to!

        Never looked back!

  4. djstardust

    Expensive and riddled with bloatware

    Note 4. Seriously delayed and £575. Riddled with bloatware and Samsung services EXACTLY duplicating the Google ones already on there.

    Just got the LG G3. Pretty much the same spec with very little bloat and nearly half the price. Superb handset.

    Samsung have rested on their laurels without actually improving very much. Their phones are mid range with Apple prices. Apple phones aren't that much better but they seem to get away with high margins.

    1. Peter 48

      Re: Expensive and riddled with bloatware

      The G3 is only 1/3 cheaper and aside from the screen resolution is a step down from the Note 4, with a slower processor, lesser screen quality, less onboard memory, lesser camera and smaller battery. Plus it is missing the raison d'etre of the Note series: the digitiser and stylus. To call them "mid-range" is nonsense, considering the Note 4 has the highest spec kit available to them at the time of launch and the S5 had the same high spec.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Expensive and riddled with bloatware

      How exactly does the LG 3G "line up"? I mean wheres the S-Pen?

    3. Jah

      Re: Expensive and riddled with bloatware

      Being an owner of a Note 4 and LG G3, I don't see the bloatware as as issue. Don't forget that unless you have the international D855 LG G3 you don't have LTE-A. The S Pen, for those that need this feature, is unique to the Note 4 and the LG G3 has no parallel. However, unless you have the Octa Core version of the Note 4, the DAC in the LG G3 is better. UK price for the International D855 is still close to £360.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The S5 is butt ugly. They should get a European or US designer to do the externals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The S5 is butt ugly."

      From where I sit there's precious little to choose in looks. All modern smartphones are thin slabs, glass touchscreen, thin bezzle, slightly rounded corners. Similar weight, similar performance at any given price band. I wouldn't say Jonny Ive has distinguished himself with the latest iPhones. The nearest makers can provide on visual differentiation is the colour and material of the back, and to be quite honest that's not the sort of thing that keeps me awake at night.

      Unless somebody's offering an Angelina Jolie hide backed phone, now that would be differentiated.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      The S5 is butt ugly. They should get a European or US designer to do the externals.

      And I'm guessing that you think the Jebus Phone 6S is more elegant or something?

  6. WalterWonkite

    Samsung's problem

    They talk a great story, have a big flashy launch and then you realise that the f'cking phone is only available in one spec in Europe WHY ?? The S5 is the last Samsung device I will purchase, moreover the technology upgrades are small, and gimmicky because they want you to purchase another unit 12 months later. STOP f'cking with your customers or they walk away.

  7. Michael Habel Silver badge

    How about producing lower cost Phones? Sadly I don't really know anyone, bar a few Luddites that, still think that a Two Year Contract is actually Cheaper then the Phone itself. Of course the "snag" in that reasoning is that you have to have the +£500(GBP) to purchase the retched thing. Only to find that by the time you get it Home... Three more Generations of newer Phablets has already passed you by! Gee its almost like the 90's again!

    This is why Xiaomi can take down the likes of both Samsung, and Apple. Because they're not nearly so exuberant in there pricing as the other Two... For now. It also doesn't help there "Image" by proxy of being a maker of fine China Phones. That use the most secretive of Open Source materials (MediaTek). Thus insuring that these "Landfill Androids" land there sooner then latter.

    If the Chepo China Phones have taught me anything. Its that you get what you willing to pay for. But, when the S5, is at best only marginally better then the S4? Then wheres the "sense" to actually pay for an otherwise unnoticeable upgrade?

  8. dajames Silver badge

    I was looking ...

    ... at the S5 -- I wanted waterproof, removable battery, and SD card.

    Then I realized that the S5 doesn't have an FM radio ... WTF?

    In the end I got a Sony Z1 Compact because while I think a user-replaceable battery is important, I've never actually changed the battery in a smartphone ... but I have listened to FM radio on both my previous phones (HTC and (older) Samsung). It was £200 cheaper than an S5, too.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: I was looking ...

      Re: FM Radio... Why can't we get a Phablet that'll let us listen to the Radio with out having to bung in a pair of Cans first?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: I was looking ...

        Well, the cans work as the radio antenna, and the only other way to get good FM reception is to use a telescoping antenna like back in the days of the transistor radio.

        PS. I personally use TouchWiz though reluctantly. There may be bloat in the software I use, but it's useful bloat (WiFi Calling and Visual Voicemail).

  9. Jimbo in Thailand

    It's not just bloatware. Samsung forgot that we have a choice...

    I, too, was literally shocked and not 'awed' when I discovered all the bloatware on my then brand new Note 2 a couple of years ago. I was even more shocked to find this crap was running continuously in the background gobbling up precious CPU cycles thus killing battery life. The first thing I did was root the phone and install Super SU, ROM Toolbox Pro, and BusyBox. After rooting, ROM Toolbox Pro allows deleting or freezing (a really outstanding option) those sh1tty Samsung bloatware apps. It took me a while but I finally had a lean and mean running original Samsung Jelly Bean 4.1.1 Android version with much extended battery life.... this in spite of Samsung.

    Speaking of Samsung bloatware has anyone bothered to read their Old Testament length EULA? I didn't either. I immediately deleted every Samsung app I could and froze the rest.

    Now then, when Jelly Bean 4.1.2 became available I tried to download it from Samsung... OUCH... not gonna happen as i immediately got an error message that said my phone was customized and upgrades were now verboten. WTF?!

    The other big FAIL was that Samsung's version of Android didn't allow storing apps, etc. on the removable mSD card. Since Android takes up so much room on the internal 16GB memory this is ridiculous. I found a hack, a script, that somehow swaps the memory location of the external card with the internal memory 'card' thus fooling the system. After installing the script my Note 2 reported 64GB internal memory and 16GB external memory. That script is still working today.

    The bottom line is I had to spend waaaay too much time trying to get around Samsung crapola. I'm not likely to do that again. So like I've mentioned in previous recent rants here at the Reg, Samsung had better wake up and soon as there are just too many affordable choices on the horizon. Yes, we do have a choice.

    1. DougS Silver badge


      You rooted your phone and have the nerve to complain that the vendor won't let you install their official upgrade? You think they should test it on all possible configs of rooted phone? You think they want people coming to them for warranty service because they rooted their phone and Samsung's upgrade bricked it?

      Why didn't you just install generic Android and be done with it, why the desire to use Samsung's build or go to all the trouble to shut down their software? You could simply have installed generic Android and be able to upgrade immediately it is available rather than wait around for Samsung.

      1. Jimbo in Thailand

        Re: WTF

        Yes DougS I DO HAVE THE NERVE to complain as I certainly don't like, want, or appreciate 'walled gardens' or I would have just bought an Iphone. It's obvious that you don't understand that rooting simply gives the user 'administrator' type permissions (a la M$ Windows) that we should have had anyway. And it doesn't just apply to Samsung as Google throws in a ton of crapware in Android as well.

        Also, when I upgraded my Note 2 with Samsung's genuine 4.1.2 version, via Kies, the upgrade simply reset/unrooted it, i.e., didn't brick the phone. I just had to root it again and badda-boom badda-bing back in the saddle again. Also, the phone was under warranty when I first rooted it so didn't want to install a "generic Android" version. It's a simple task to unroot the phone and reset the upgrade counter should I need warranty repair.

        Let me ask you a question DougS? Do you use EVERY app included with your smartphone? No? I didn't think so. Obviously Samsung has to provide a wide range of apps/features/etc. to try to entice as many buyers as possible. Does it make sense for you or I or anyone to keep those apps, many of which are running in the background shortening battery life, when we have no intention of ever using them?

        Unlike some people, I do happen to like Samsung's TouchWiz interface with the Note 2 or I would have snagged a.custom Android ROM from XDA-Developers or Cyanogen, etc. like I've done in the past.

        Do yourself a favor in the future DougS... and leave the attitude at home. Have a nice day.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: It's not just bloatware. Samsung forgot that we have a choice...

      The other big FAIL was that Samsung's version of Android didn't allow storing apps, etc. on the removable mSD card. Since Android takes up so much room on the internal 16GB memory this is ridiculous. I found a hack, a script, that somehow swaps the memory location of the external card with the internal memory 'card' thus fooling the system. After installing the script my Note 2 reported 64GB internal memory and 16GB external memory. That script is still working today.

      What a shame that that little "Hack" no longer works under KitKat, and is probably Seven Sheets to the Wind by now on Lolipop. Google must really want SanDisk and, co. to go fourth and multiply... As they say...

      1. lotus49

        Re: It's not just bloatware. Samsung forgot that we have a choice...

        That was Google's fault not Samsung's. Google doesn't want users to use an SD card instead of going all cloudy. Google disabled that functionality and it's easy enough to restore if you are rooted.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprising

    iPhone S5 sales set to PLUMMET: Bleak times ahead for Apple Samsung

    Not surprised by this. I'm a happy S4 owner and I looked at the S5 when it came out. It was heavier and bigger and the pockmarked back may have had some good reasoning behind it, but in reality it looked ugly... I know a lot of people will say well the phone is thin enough and light enough anyway and they'd happily trade that off for a better battery, but while people may say that the sales figures clearly state otherwise. My S4 is looking a bit battered and bruised now, but it runs nicely still with Cyanogenmod on it and I'll probably buy another one brand new in the box off eBay when the cosmetic damage on this one becomes too much as for me the S4 is the best phone I've had and I'm yet to see anything that beats it and justifies the price.

    My next full price smartphone purchase has gotta be waterproof / dustproof and a similar set of dimensions / weight to the current S4... However I suspect it will be a Sony and not a Samsung. I have noticed more and more punters sporting Sony phones

  11. Tezfair

    All singing all dancing

    I have an S4, it does everything I need it to do, and I prefer touchwiz to the stock android layout.

    I had the S4 18 months ago at the start of the current contract and now i'm looking to see if there's anything worth having. My lad has something called a oneplusone phone which seems to be cutting edge, but dies a death when Android 5 is installed. but other than speed, I think Samsung have ran out of ideas. S4 (like XP) was a good enough product that did a reasonable job. S5 is Vista??? I don't know. S6 is next year and will probably be faster this and a bigger that, but I think that smartphones have come to a point where the extra toys don't really enhance the usability.

    I suspect smartphones in general have stopped being 'the must have thing' and have become part of the norm now.

    Now where did I leave my phone?

  12. Dr_Cynic

    Past Peak demand?

    Couldn't possibly also be to do with the fact that most people who want a smartphone already have them, and for many there is no great incentive to upgrade as the previous models already had sufficient features and specifications for the form factor.

    More cores/faster processors may look good on paper, but in practice what is more important in a mobile device is battery life.

    Cameras have reached the limit of resolution that makes sense due to the limitations of the compact lenses (yes I know you could use all that excess processor power to compensate in software for the limitations of the lens if it is well characterised, but wouldn't you do better just to have a proper lens on a real camera).

    Most users want something that fits easily in their pocket and are only using them to browse the web, check emails and play the odd game, for which they are fine.

    Personally I'm still using an S2, and the only reason I am considering replacing it is because the usb port is a bit loose so the charger keeps poping out if you aren't careful, otherwise I would just buy a new battery and probably keep it for another 3 years.

  13. JustNiz

    My old unlocked S3 running cyanogenmod already does everything I need well enough. What extra would an S5 get me that is worth the $780 cost of an unlocked device?

    Especially at that price, it boggles my mind why Samsung didn't use premium quality materials, not just obviously cheap out again with more plastic. Really Samsung... would it kill you to spring for the extra maybe 25c per phone on some actual quality case materials for once?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Definitely downhill for them

    They still trying to do an Apple at Apple prices.

    Remember, when Crackberry ruled the roost AND took their punters for granted ? Tried to pull a similar trick (high prices - lower specs) and where they are.

    Samsung doing the same. Replica design since S2 (& more plastic), gimmicky incremental improvements only and Apple surpassing prices. Who in their right minds would be deceived by that forever? There are enough ANdroid handsets with Sub £ 200 prices, equivalent qualities and user experiences. If it wasn't for the 2 year contract tie-ins (no subsidies - mind, just deferred payments with interest APR built in), their downfall would have been faster & realistic. Replacing Shin wont help a bit. Besides, cannibalising their own sales by releasing Mini versions simultaneously and lower specced handsets hasn't helped the cause.

    Saturation has its benefits and hoodwinking retailers (CPW and others) will ensure their downfall. Phones4U was just a start.

    So China & Google (nexus range+ Motorola) , a big thank you for teaching this leacherous Capitalists a sound lesson in Capitalism.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    My wife bought a Samsung, I have almost exclusively had (cheaper) HTCs which I found very usable since my first Desire. After seeing all the bloatware on the Samsung, I steered well clear and got my first higher-end phone: the One M-8. Love it.

  16. tea junkie

    I have a note 2 since I punched my dell streak 5 to death. Extended battery and rooted. I haven't seen a reason to upgrade. When I inevitably kill this I might get an 8" note tablet and a galaxy k zoom. K zoom camera phones are utterly brilliant bits of kit. And would be better with a decent amount if ram & flash onboard.

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