Another bug on a Galaxy: is Samsung paying attention to software quality?

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Another bug from Samsung: is Samsung paying attention to software quality?
Samsung has long been a major player in the smartphone market, consistently bringing exciting innovation with technology and gorgeous designs. However, recent news about yet another software bug, this time related to the Clock app, has made me question whether Samsung is truly paying enough attention to software quality.

This isn't the first time a bug has affected Galaxies, and the issue raises serious concerns about Samsung's commitment to a seamless user experience. Here are my thoughts on why this ongoing issue is troubling and why Samsung needs to prioritize software quality control.

Samsung is no stranger to software bugs


Samsung's latest flagship models, including the Galaxy S24 Ultra, have been plagued by various software issues since their launch. For example, shortly after the highly-anticipated Galaxy S24 release, users reported issues with the camera app freezing, glitching, the display flickering, and unexpected battery drain.


These problems have understandably made the tech world frown and somewhat ruined the initial user experience. Of course, it caused lots of frustration, with Samsung fans and even our own Sebastian complaining about it.

This pattern isn't unique to the S24 Ultra though. Previous models, such as, for example, the Galaxy S22 series, also had their share of annoying software glitches. We've had Wi-Fi connectivity problems and broken GPS functionality, issues with biometric security features, and many other little things here and there. And that's not even limited to the S-series. The Galaxy Z Fold 5, for example, experienced issues with delayed notifications and apps crashing, among other things.

These unnerving bugs have me thinking about a systemic issue with Samsung's software development and quality assurance.

I mean, once - it's fine, even two times - it's okay, it's understandable... this is tech, after all, and nothing is perfect in life. However, the persistence of these problems indicates that Samsung may not be focusing as much attention as it probably should on software and testing it before release. For a huge and influential company like Samsung, this is a very concerning trend.

The Clock app bug: a new low for a basic feature



The latest bug involves Samsung's Clock app, a basic "dumb-phone" feature that users rely on daily for alarms, timers, and reminders. Samsung has now advised users to download a recently updated version of the app to fix the issue... While details of the specific bug weren't disclosed in the announcement, any bug in such a crucial and basic app is... well, unacceptable.

Users have reported several bugs to the Clock app recently, from time freezing and weird alarm notifications to silent alarms.

Consider the potential consequences: missed alarms can lead to people being late for work, missing important appointments, or even failing to take necessary medication on time. The Clock app is a basic but essential tool that should function flawlessly, and any failure to do so can have significant real-world effects.

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This incident is particularly alarming because it actually shows a failure to ensure the reliability of core applications. I am not talking about a fancy new camera feature malfunctioning and you missing a chance for a cute photo of your pet. I'm talking about a fundamental tool. We expect certain apps to be rock-solid and dependable, and the Clock app definitely falls into this category.

You know, there are real-world issues that can happen if you're late for work, or you miss an important meeting. And this bug makes me question the overall reliability of Samsung's software altogether.

Samsung seems to need enhanced software quality control


Given these repeated issues, I have to wonder why Samsung isn't applying tougher quality control. Ensuring that software runs smoothly is not just about fixing bugs after they occur but about preventing them in the first place!

How important is quality control?


Quality control in software development is crucial for several reasons:
  • Ensuring user satisfaction: For buyers, the expectation from a premium device like one from the Galaxy S-series or a Fold is that it works flawlessly. Bugs and software being selfish ruin the user experience and can lead to frustration and disappointment. And when such core apps fail, it may even decrease trust and loyalty towards a brand.
  • Maintaining brand reputation: Samsung's reputation as a leader in the smartphone industry is built on delivering premium products. Repeated software issues can damage this reputation and make people wonder if Samsung's products are worth the dollar. Just like our own Seb was wondering. And this can mean people leaving the company and looking at alternatives.
  • Having a competitive edge: The smartphone market is a highly competitive place. And every little thing matters. Superior hardware should be matched by equally powerful software to maintain a competitive edge. Companies like Apple are proud of themselves for seamless software experiences, and this is a big reason why many people seek Apple. Samsung needs to match this!
  • It's also crucial for the company's efficiency: For Samsung, addressing software bugs post-release is most likely costly. It involves developing patches, delivering updates, and having to answer to user complaints and returns. Samsung can reduce this issue by investing more in quality control up front.

Why isn't Samsung doing more?



I'm pretty sure Samsung knows these things I've listed above. However, the recurring nature of these bugs suggests Samsung is probably not investing enough in quality control.
 
Potential factors for this include:
  • The race towards a new model release: It's a quick upgrade cycle and Samsung must provide a new flagship series each year. And, contrary to Apple, Samsung also makes and upgrades midrangers, budget phones, foldables, and what have you. Samsung might be cutting corners in the testing phase. I can't imagine the tight deadlines that pressure development teams to prioritize quantity over quality...
  • Samsung doesn't exactly make Android: Samsung's devices run on a customized version of Android, which adds layers of complexity and sometimes, can lead to bugs that are not in Samsung's hands. Integrating Samsung's features with Android updates and ensuring compatibility with a wide range of apps and services probably requires a lot of testing.
  • Focus on innovations: Although I don't work for Samsung, I can speculate that Samsung focuses more resources towards innovation than quality assurance. However, as much as hardware advancements are important, they need to be complemented by reliable software.

Samsung's persistent software bugs, with the most recent example by the Clock app, highlight an area that definitely needs attention. Samsung needs to focus more on software quality control in order to retain its fans, attract new ones, and remain competitive.

After all, the competition is tougher than ever now, with many companies improving on software quality. It's a battle, and Samsung should upgrade its army in order not to be overtaken. 

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