Did you know that Samsung once struggled to make mobile phones comparable to Motorola's?

Did you know that Samsung once struggled to make mobile phones comparable to Motorola's?
While Samsung and Motorola are both big names in the mobile industry, there are huge differences between them. Samsung is currently the world’s largest mobile phone maker, generating a lot of cash from its phone business, while Motorola had troubles in the last years, this leading to its Mobility division being bought by Google, and (later this year) by Lenovo. But you probably already knew this.

What you may have not known is that, about two decades ago, Samsung was struggling to manufacture its first mobile phones, and, at first, it just couldn’t match the quality and performance of Motorola’s handsets from back then.

Of course, Motorola was a pioneer, having released the world’s first commercial mobile phone in 1983 (the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, a large and heavy device that weighed about 800 grams). So it’s probably safe to assume that not only Samsung, but most phone makers looked up to Motorola at some point in their history.

Samsung completed the development of its first mobile phone in 1991, and released various models in the next few years, initially only in South Korea. But the first devices were far from being great. It’s said that, in the early 90s, a Samsung engineer had witnessed a mountain climber making calls with a Motorola handset from the top of a mountain in Korea. The engineer then took a Samsung phone to the same location, but couldn’t make any calls, as the device had no connection at all there. This led to Samsung investing a lot more into research and development (including connectivity technology). In 1993, Samsung’s mobile phone division literally had the task of producing handsets “comparable to Motorola's by 1994, or Samsung will disengage itself from the mobile phone business."

Eventually, things got on the right path, and, in 1994, Samsung launched the SH-770 Anycall (pictured on the right). This was the first handset that the company’s execs were happy with. The SH-770 and other subsequent models helped Samsung dominate the South Korean mobile market starting the second half of 1995. Before that, Motorola was the leader in Samsung’s home country. Interesting times, isn't it?

Since Motorola had a great influence over Samsung and the mobile phone industry in general, we'll end this article with a promo video used by Motorola in the 80s, when the "cellular revolution" was only a dream of the future:



1. Manti123

Posts: 207; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

Actually, The abscence of Nokia in the Android arena enabled Samsung to be the largest phone manufacturer. So lucky Samy. Microsoft did a huge favor for you when they killed the legened Queen NOKIA

2. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

That queen died devoted to symbian

6. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Legend King Nokia. I guess.....

18. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

No. it's a queen. a sissy.

8. LeBrownJames

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 17, 2014

Actually half of that favor should go to Elop. He was the one who engineered Nokia's downfall.

24. SayMobile

Posts: 157; Member since: Jan 29, 2014

actually in around 2010 when nokia was still the leaders of the mobile phone industry and android was still young as a platform with samsung no where in the scene, nokia had released a statement saying " due to their amazing vertical integration samsung will dominate the android space in d near future" so keep calm fanboy and keep your irrelevant theories to yourself , its not d absence of nokia that has made samsung what it is today

25. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Nokia X and yeah, it sucks!

35. cncrim

Posts: 1590; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Nokia didn't make the same choice as Samsung. If everyone know the future then it is no fun, because no innovation and competition. Multi-dollar question: "Do you know what will be the next revolution product in electronic world?"

3. tatail

Posts: 261; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

I was really saddened and surprised at the same time when Nokia announced that they were not going to produce Android phones. I still remember my G1, man that device sucked but it was what started Android and look where things are. I really think Nokia in Android arena would have made the competition more exciting.

5. Manti123

Posts: 207; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

The competition would not have been more exciting, because Nokia would be a single dominant player. Like how is now happening with WP, or before with Symbian, featured phone, basic phones.

7. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

I agree.....Nokia shouldn't give any OEM chance to dominant in android.

26. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Know there would've been Nokia 8series Android Nokia Eseries Android Nokia Xseries Android Nokia Nseries Android Nokia 9series Android

19. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

well now the King is dead. Long live the King.

4. bob_monkeywarts unregistered

"...Only 30 ounces..." "...typing on an 'electronic' computer..."

9. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I remember during the late 90s MOTOROLA RAZR was the #1 flip phone in the u.s. used to own the MOTOR KRZR myself most my very first phone was a NOKIA when we used to change the face plate with custom covers. that was before we have all these fan boys based phones. Phones were great back then and they were no law suits also.

10. redmd

Posts: 1961; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Old Motorola phones have good quality cellular radios. I'm not so sure about their Android phones today.

12. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

23. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

One reason I stay a Moto fan is because of this. And this is the reason why I dont like Samsung phones. The more things change....the more they stay the same....

32. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

Late 90s? The RAZR didn't release til 2004.

11. androtaku

Posts: 246; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

so motorola was the first to make a phone! samsung is junk because they not the first

13. Droidrapist

Posts: 186; Member since: May 28, 2014

Luckily for Samsung, the iPhone was invented and they were able to steal all of its ideas and put into a cheaper package that was easy to hack and easy on the wallet so all the cheap bastards that couldn't pass AT&T credit check or afford an iPhone outright were able to now have a touch screen smart phone - and say to themselves over and over "this can do everythign the iphone can do, this can do everything the iphone can do, this can do everything the iphone can do" and they kept brewing hate against Apple to compensate for their sevire insecurity, projecting their weaknesses into an abstract company. Welcome to the modern era! xD

14. pokerc

Posts: 61; Member since: May 24, 2012

Even though I love Android, you are right

20. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

And where do you think Apple copied their phone tech from? I'll give you a hint, it's the company the article is about.

21. The13thKing

Posts: 849; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

lmaoooo. what does the iFeaturePhone do? oh yes. it can play 480p videos on it's RETINA screen, it can take photos with a featureless camera app and of course download apps and have facebook. what an achievement. glad you guys now have the AMAZING control center. hey, it's innovation. now you can access the CALCULATOR quickly.

29. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

Apple also stole the design from SONY prototype phone. so everyone copies from each other. stop saying SAMUNG copies

31. p0rkguy

Posts: 685; Member since: Nov 23, 2010

AT&T credit check, what? If you have a device on the carrier you've already passed the credit check. Easy on the wallet, what? Android is easier on the wallet, since when?

15. vijaysivakula

Posts: 229; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

Now Motorola should sue Samsung because Samsung copied Motorola or as the article says wanted to develop mobiles as good as Motorola. So they must have mentioned Motorola in one of their internal mails / communication.

17. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Moto,Nokia, and blackberry bout to be things of the past in a couple of years.

27. strikercho

Posts: 156; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Well, do you know, phonearena, that Samsung still struggles to make better phones, than not only Motorola, but also Apple, Nokia and Sony? PS: Good to see Asian money well spent for comercial articles in PA.:)

38. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

I think you are the one that gets paid, or that you're totally way behind the pack.

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