The new Galaxy S11 design is Samsung's smartest decision in years

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
The new Galaxy S11 design is Samsung's smartest decision in years
The recently announced Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 debuted a new design language that’s expected to grace all future Samsung phones regardless of their price tag. Several people have criticized this strategy because it limits the differentiating factors between devices but, in my opinion, it’s probably the company’s smartest move in years.

The iconic home button was Samsung at its best


Let’s start things off by leaping back in time to four years ago. Samsung was at the top of its game with the well-received Galaxy S6 and the much-loved Galaxy Note 5. Budget and mid-range products weren’t receiving quite as much attention but commercial results were still very strong. 

Interestingly, though, the great sales performance had little to do with long lists of impressive specifications such as the ones we see today – Samsung’s cheaper phones were quite lackluster in that sense at the time – and instead had a lot to do with brand power. 

Samsung has always invested millions into advertising to maintain awareness among consumers. But four years ago, it was also benefiting massively from a unified design made up of a physical home button and centered rear camera that made all Galaxy-branded phones instantly recognizable. 

Any advertising money spent on promoting the latest flagship phones was, as a result, also being used to indirectly promote the unified design. This meant the brand’s cheaper devices were benefitting, sales were receiving an indirect boost, and marketing budgets could be spent more efficiently.

The last three years have been design chaos


Fast forward two years and we arrive at the Galaxy S8. The smartphone marked a huge milestone for Samsung because it was the first to ditch the physical home button. However, it also signaled the beginning of what have arguably been three years of chaos in the design department.

The first twelve-month period – 2017 – saw Samsung use a new design on its flagships alongside the usual one on its mid-range and low-end models. This strategy wasn’t necessarily a bad one but it wasn’t as efficient from a marketing standpoint as the previous one.

Samsung then spent 2018 refining its flagship designs with only minimal design updates to the front and an attempt to differentiate Galaxy S and Galaxy Note-branded models by adopting different camera setups on each.

The South Korean giant simultaneously started to modernize the look of its mid-range phones by ditching the physical home button. Halfway through the year, though, it drastically switched up the rear panels with an entirely new layout, therefore ditching any efforts to achieve a consistent design language.

This year, Samsung started to find its feet again but didn't yet implement the perfect plan. Its newly updated Galaxy A series has benefitted from a fairly unified design but it’s arguably one that doesn’t really stand out from the crowd, therefore defying the point. 

The premium segment, on the other hand, has seen Samsung inconsistently use the Infinity-O display with different punch holes on each phone paired with totally different camera setups once again. The fact these phones look nothing like the Galaxy A lineup hasn't helped, either. 

Samsung's 2020 design strategy is exactly what's needed


This brings us to the present day and why Samsung’s plans for 2020 are exactly what it needs right now. 

The design presented Thursday on the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 is expected to be carried over to the Galaxy S11 and future Galaxy A models. That means all Samsung phones will soon have a unified design that consists of a centered punch hole and a rectangular camera module in the top-left corner. Effectively, it's the modern-day equivalent of the old physical home button and single rear camera setup.

It might not be everybody’s cup of tea but the combination is quite unique by today's standards and should soon become synonymous with Samsung smartphones across the globe unless every other brand starts to copy them, something that seems quite unlikely at the moment. Effectively, it's the modern-day equivalent of the old physical home button and single rear camera setup. But perhaps more importantly is the fact that it’s future proof.

The rear camera positioning means Samsung can keep adding cameras whenever necessary without it severely affecting the size of the battery or needing to move the entire module as it has done in the past. Additionally, the centered punch hole can continue to be used for several years until the transition to in-screen cameras has been completed.

Samsung is essentially planning a restart of the unified brand strategy that originally turned it into the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer all those years ago. And in a market that’s increasingly saturated and intense, that can only be a good thing because it’ll boost overall recognition and improve the efficiency of its all-important marketing campaigns.

Another benefit is the fact that it'll allow the company to better compete in the premium segment with Apple, who also employs a unified design, while also giving it an advantage over Huawei, who is always switching up designs and relies mostly on its ability to churn out devices with decent spec sheets and low prices.

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28 Comments

1. Gryffin

Posts: 92; Member since: Dec 19, 2018

Shouldn't that image say S11 and not S1

2. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

haha yes it should! thank you

3. kevv2288

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

Why can't Samsung make a flat screen S11. I like the look of the A51 better than the S11 but want the premium materials and specs of the S11.

7. User123456789

Posts: 1360; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Curved breaks easily. More broken screen = more money for Samsung.

12. maherk

Posts: 7065; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

The curvature is so minimal on recent Galaxy phones, where it isn't that far from the typical 3d glass used on vast majority of smartphones. The reason why Samsung is still going with a curved design, is because they're able to put larger displays while keeping their phones narrower than phones with flat but similar sized displays.

18. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Plus it helps better distinguish the premium models from the competition and its own mid-range ones.

29. PartTimePhoner

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 03, 2019

A81 and A91

4. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

I think Samsung is actually gonna ditch the infinity o display for a full screen

8. User123456789

Posts: 1360; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

For note 11 or s12. Not s11.

17. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Probably Note 12 at the earliest. I’m not sure if the tech will be ready for the S12

24. User123456789

Posts: 1360; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Oppo prototype does not seem bad. The one of few days ago. Of course it will be too overpriced like find X.

16. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Yeah that’ll eventually happen, no doubt about it. But for now Infinity-O is a good compromise

5. JMartin22

Posts: 2415; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

The S7 Edge was their best looking phone to date. At least in my view. They’ve seemed to have a conflicted design philosophy on how to differentiate themselves and stand out in the market after the S8. I just haven’t liked how most Android phone manufacturers handled “bezeless” design transition. Also, I miss color plated fronts. We haven’t had that since the Galaxy S7 days. Manufacturers opt to hide their ever increasing array of sensors on their devices with generic black fronts.

9. User123456789

Posts: 1360; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Also it is cheaper to them when all phones have black front. They just need to change rear glass.

15. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

I agree, the Galaxy S7 Edge was just beautiful!! I think it’s my favourite phone out of the ones I’ve owned.

6. User123456789

Posts: 1360; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I like when midranges have same design amd materials of flagships. M4/M5 are almost a clones of Z3+.

11. Elvis358

Posts: 292; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Making all smartphones with the same design is "the best strategy".!? -Wut???

23. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Read the article to find out why ;)

13. bucknassty

Posts: 1400; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

If I pay that much for a flagship I don't want it to look like a damn mid range

14. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Don’t buy a Samsung then. Most people really don’t care.

20. Fred3

Posts: 612; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

I agree. It might be more people buying the mid range phones simply because it looks like the premium but they can't afford the premiums. I think they're on to something

22. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Exactly!

19. Guseinguliev

Posts: 145; Member since: Mar 04, 2019

design does not always help sell the product.

21. joshuaswingle

Posts: 754; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

I agree, but it certainly helps when people see a phone and instantly know it’s a Samsung.

25. Georgio

Posts: 328; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

So the galaxy s11 it will look like a cheap mid range hahahaha Yeah that's why you pay 1000 $ plus. Now I know why I don't really see Samsung flagships ;cos people don't want to pay that much for a Samsung flagship that looks like a cheap mid range. They had that strategy for years ; their mid range phones always looked like the flagships.

26. AustinPaul

Posts: 159; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

Not sure where you live, but I see them everywhere here in Texas.

27. rkoforever90

Posts: 488; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

What's the point of buying s11 when A71 is like 1/4th of its price

28. dimas

Posts: 3448; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

I hope s11+ will have 2 high-quality cameras with 5,500 or 6,000mah battery. I don't need the bokeh lens, wide angle is more useful.

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