back to article Samsung: Is gadget lust still a thing in 2016? Nope

Samsung Electronics has forecasted weaker smartphone and tab sales for 2016 amid concerns consumers’ gadget lust is waning - well, if there’s no compelling reason to upgrade, folks don’t upgrade. “[We are] expecting challenges in 2016 to maintain earnings due to a difficult business environment and slowing IT demand,” the …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    It's their own fault

    Too confusing a product line

    Too confusing product names

    Too many phones and tablets that all look the same

    Removal of SD port and changeable battery

    You reap what you sow

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: It's their own fault

      Don't forget spotty and or tardy support as far as updates (even critical security ones) are concerned in much of their product line.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: It's their own fault

        I've never heard a real person (i.e. not someone on an internet message board) complain about the lack of SD card or removable batteries on Samsung's newer phones.

        The confusing product line with too many similar devices with similar specs, with certain models or colors only available to you if you're with a particular carrier - that I've heard mentioned more than a few times!

        1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

          Re: It's their own fault

          Exactly this. If a techie decides not to buy a phone because they've not embraced streaming and so need massive onboard storage, that's one thing. But it's not a deal-breaker for most people.

          And really, how many people have ever purchased a second battery and bothered swapping them over? I don't think I've ever seen that.

          The real reason sales are slowing is that there's been no great "must have" innovation in the last few years. Incremental improvements, but nothing "wow". Manufacturers have been clutching at straws with increased screen resolutions (almost to the point of absurdity), ever-shrinking dimensions (and so shooting themselves in the foot by still not being able to offer significant battery life improvement), button placement oddities and other such nonsense.

          It's far from a case of "we've invented everything that will ever be invented" but there's not been a feature that generates consumer interest for quite some time.

          1. Tony Paulazzo

            Re: It's their own fault

            The real reason sales are slowing is that there's been no great "must have" innovation in the last few years.

            Bingo. Bought my Nexus5 at release, Oct '13, and, apart from fingerprint reader (which I'm sorry, but not paying £500 for just that), there's been little of interest. Maybe a wearable comms badge (ala Star Trek - no separate phone tho, just a tiny bluetooth headset and foldable plastic pocket screen <TM>) would generate some interest, but my Nexus5 is still fast enough, with good battery life and a gorgeous screen.

            Gadget lust wise tho', it's alive and well, watching with interest the VR stuff coming down the line.

          2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: It's their own fault

            As to swapping batteries : I have two spares. My 2011 phone has never needed more than three batteries a day under very heavy usage (light usage is less than one battery), and a swap out takes less than twenty seconds.

            A lot of the battery and CPU appears to be eaten by running K9 Mail using push e-mail; I may have to investigate other offerings.

        2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: It's their own fault

          Obviously I am just 'someone on an Internet message board' but the lack of a micro SD card slot and a removable battery are major factors against buying certain phones, unless the battery is truly, staggeringly huge (practically none are).

          I really want a landscape Android phone with a keyboard (don't like the Priv : too expensive, not landscape, no removable battery, not rootable. Considered the Blackberry Passport, but BBOS10 is dead, and I want to absolutely control what each app can access). This will replace my 2011 Android landscape keyboard phone, and I'd pay a reasonable amount (300-400 quid) for it.

          It doesn't exist. So, I'm importing a 2012 landscape Android phone from the US, then going to either whip out the soldering iron, or send it to someone in mainland Europe to mod a SIM card slot into it, then I'm going to mod it to support a removable battery, and flash a third party Marshmallow ROM plus XPrivacy on to it.

          This is a huge pain in the arse, but I don't like keyboardless phones. Swype just isn't as good, although it's technically impressive.

          I don't want Apple's vision of computing, and there's not the same range of apps in other non Android platforms. Tried flashing Sailfish onto an Android phone - useless, as it has no Android app support unless it's an official Jolla phone. I really, really, wanted to like Blackberry, but it's obvious it's a dead platform. If they put Android on the Passport, and made it rootable I'd consider it - the battery is so huge it should last an entire day, even under truly heavy use.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's their own fault

          Dougs: I can assure you that I am a real person despite my presence on this forum and so are the various other Samsung purchasers that I know who refuse to buy a Samsung device without an SD slot (soon to return, look at the Marshmallow specification) or removable battery (there's no way a smartphone battery will last 2 years or more). Your inability to accept that this issue has inconvenienced a very large number of people is perplexing unless you have a vested interest.

          Phil Kingston: 'Embrace streaming'? What?! Try streaming when driving and try finding a streaming service that will supply flac encoded tracks AND the full range of my stored music AND for free. I'll embrace any technology that does a good or improved job for me and streaming most certainly does not. Even more so when it comes to video unless you mention YouTube perhaps with exclusive content. You people are determined to take systems and products that actually worked and replace them with other systems and products that are fundamentally flawed and hand all the control to the supplier. You are the reason that the world is a BAD place ...

        4. andykb3

          Re: It's their own fault

          Having bought 3 Samsung's in a row (Galaxy S2, S3, S5) I left them due to the lack of a removable battery. Given that only LG now offers removable battery and I won't go near them, they lost the one thing keeping me going back to them.

          SD card not such an issue now although it would have been a few years ago, but my usage has changed so I don't need it.

  2. BurnT'offering

    Samsung: Is gadget lust still a thing in 2016? Nope

    Yep. Got my eye on the new Quad headphone amplifier. And Troels Gravesen's OB15 speakers. And the new Korg synthesizer.

    Waddya mean, wrong sort of gadgets?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The solution, Samsung said, is to ... build out IoT in Smart Home and Smart Health."

    Yeah, that sounds like the iPhone-killer market - smart home and smart health. 'Cuz everybody wants smart home stuff, go ask the X10 folks. They've been around since the early 2000's (or earlier) and holy cow, they shift more boxes every month than Apple, Samsung, and Sony combined. What? They don't? It's a small niche market you say? Oh drat... Sorry, Sammy. Got your hopes up there. My apologies.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Actually, X10 patents were _expiring_ around 2000, so yeah that thing is old as dirt. But yeah, all people wish for is being told they should get healthier ten times a day, and gadgets able to freeze their homes they don't know how to set the clock on. IoT will bring in the moolah?!? Oh, Lordy...

    2. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Smart Home stuff is only going to grow. As long as the bodies involved get their standards in order. And put security up front when designing it.

      I, for one, would be quite happy for example to leave work, have my phone know this, be able to estimate the travel time home and set the heating/air-con on in the rooms I usually occupy when I get home. Sort the lighting too. And maybe fire up the oven if I've told it I'll be using it for dinner. Then as I pull close to my house, the garage door opens and all I have to do is wander in, sit down and I'm all set.

      X10 was a brilliant idea. But too ahead of its time. There's a lot of hype around IoT, but useful smart home stuff could be on the way.

  4. LINCARD1000
    Flame

    What djstardust and asdf said - upvote for you, upvote for him, upvote for EVERYBODY!

    Burned when I bought an S4 and then found it was effectively no longer being updated less than 2 years after buying it. A premium handset should have a longer effective lifespan than 18 months - 2 years, Samsung.

    That and it's loaded down with all sorts of unnecessarily fruity crapware you cannot get rid of without rooting the damned thing. And you shouldn't HAVE to do that.

  5. Christian Berger Silver badge

    If every product on the market is the same

    your market will be like the one for sugar, the cheapest seller wins.

    I mean seriously please differentiate. Build mobile devices which are different to the others. For example mobile devices that are easy to fix and can run any operating system you want. Perhaps devices with a keyboard, perhaps devices which don't follow the brain dead idea of having the front being a full sheet of glass which fractures at the slightest drop.

  6. andykb3

    The market is saturated and there's little or no reason to upgrade at the end of your contract if you are happy with your existing phone - after all there haven't been any major new features in a smartwatch that would justify the huge cost of buying a new phone - especially a flagship model.

    That said, I can't really criticize the manufacturers - I simply can't think of anything I want my phone to do that it doesn't already do.

    Good enough really is now good enough.

    This is why Apple's iThing growth is slowing too, although Samsung didn't help themselves by removing the one thing that genuinely did differentiate them - removable battery.

    Having moved onto the OnePlus 2 (from a Samsung Galaxy S5), I can't see me signing up up to a long contract ever again, or spending £600+ on a new phone. They just aren't worth it, and I think more and more people are waking up to this.

    It's going to be tough for Apple and Samsung to maintain their massive profit levels, but I'm sure they'll be OK. Both make good profits and have huge economies of scale. However I'd be surprised if the likes of Blackberry, Sony and HTC are still in the market in 2 or 3 years time though. It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft react to the new market conditions as well.

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