Samsung wants your phone to have soul
Samsung wants to move beyond a specs race and create devices that resonate with users emotionally
Samsung's next focus for smartphones will be creating a "soul" for its products, the phone maker said during a panel on the future of mobile design at the Engadget Expand conference.
Dennis Miloseski, Samsung's head of design studio, said that the global standard for smartphones has been raised dramatically over the last few years and what we're seeing now is incremental improvements in hardware. Obviously, Samsung will play that game but it is more concerned with making sure its design is centered on the overall experience and connection with what on your screen.
"It's less about how the hardware engages you and more about building a more meaningful relationship with technology," Miloseski said.
We saw a lot of this on display when it introduced the Galaxy S4, as much of the introduction to the conference was centered around potential real-life experiences rather than benchmarks or charts comparing it to competitors. Software experiences like Air View and the Eraser mode in the camera were given scenarios that were somewhat relatable to many people.
I agree with the broad strokes about creating more harmony between the hardware and software but this terminology strikes me as a bit weird because for a lot of people around the world, a "soul" has a very specific and meaningful definition. If I drop and break future Samsung products, will they go to heaven? Sure, you can say I'm arguing over semantics but these words have been carefully chosen by Samsung for its marketing push.
I actually don't want my phone to have a soul.
Sullivan was joined on the panel discussion by HTC's VP of design, Scott Croyle, who said that HTC's approach hasn't changed that much, it still makes devices that it would want to use. It also sees these experiences as key but it is not going to let the form factor take a back seat.
I think that's actually pretty clear when you look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 versus the HTC One. In my opinion, the HTC One's form factor is much better than what Samsung is bringing out but the day-to-day interactions may be better on the latest Galaxy S4.
When asked about improvements on battery life, both agreed that there has been a lot of progress being made but we're seeing a renewed focus on the software side of that.
There's also a sense that the slate form factor has won and that we're now stuck in a mode where every new smartphone will just be a variation of the full touchscreen handset. But with flexible displays, Google Glass and iWatch rumors in full swing, the case may not be closed on how we get our mobile computing.
"We're one breakthrough away from a new era," said Croyle.