Samsung smartphone division head admits 'crisis', putting all hope in 'Galaxy 10' and foldable devices

Samsung smartphone division head admits 'crisis', putting all hope in 'Galaxy 10' and foldable devices
Samsung has been breaking financial record after record lately thanks to strong sales of memory chips and steady display business profitability, but in the face of strengthening competition and a global smartphone market slowdown, the company’s Galaxy handsets are nowhere near as hot as they used to be.

The problem lies mostly in the mid-range segment, where the Galaxy A and J families are simply incapable of keeping up with the affordability and innovation of key rivals from OEMs like Xiaomi and Huawei.

At the same time, the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 flagships haven’t exactly set the world on fire either, building up immense pressure for 2019’s Galaxy S10, Note 10, and foldable Galaxy F.

After staying optimistic all year and trying to put a positive spin on an obviously struggling business, Samsung’s President of the Mobile Communication division has finally acknowledged the situation, as reported by The Korea Herald.

In a recent corporate message, Koh Dong-jin even used the word “crisis” to describe the current state of Samsung Mobile affairs, while vowing to do his best to overcome this delicate position with the “upcoming Galaxy 10 and foldable phones.”

Wait a minute, is the Galaxy S9 successor called Galaxy 10?! The Korea Herald seems to think so, also labeling the device with a possible name that almost sounds like a joke. If Samsung unveils the Galaxy X in February 2019, the company is setting itself up to fail, pure and simple.

Interestingly, unnamed “foldable phones” are also mentioned as strong candidates for February announcements, followed by March commercial rollouts, although we’re not entirely sure the plural means anything. March 2019 sounds a little early for the release of one “Galaxy F” model, let alone more of them. 

Back to Koh Dong-jin and Samsung’s current smartphone “crisis”, it appears the situation is so bad that a replacement President might be in the cards. Koh is being blamed for a “top-down and rigid decision-making system”, although going forward, the executive does plan to “listen to voices from consumers and reflect them in product development more actively in order to meet their needs better.”

Can Samsung bounce back and fend off the rising Huawei threat? We’ll just have to wait for the “Galaxy X” and see.

Related phones

Galaxy S10
  • Display 6.1" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3400 mAh

FEATURED VIDEO

39 Comments

1. Whitedot

Posts: 811; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Simple, stop raising average phone price every year. People simply can't afford to buy $800-900 device every year and even every 2 years. Consumer also looks elsewhere for a better money for value prospect. Keep to their devices longer. Big companies also known to be slower adjusting to market changes. Lately Samsung marketing is fun and eye catching but is this enough? Probably not.

5. notfair

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

True. and why do we need a flagship every year? why can't we have something really new and innovative once every 2-3 years? outing hundreds of millions of phones every year just for the sake of growth is retarded at best, infinite growth is unsustainable, at some point all will collapse, what they do instead? they raise the prices and then afterwards they complain that the phones are not selling well and we have difficulty growing. 2019 will be the $2000 USD dollar phones year, f**k those who will buy them.

7. stulla

Posts: 92; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Spot on & with devices from their rivals offering quicker & long term over the air Software updates people are going away from Samsung who seem to both Apple in ads but trying to makes their devices "Apple like" e.g the S6 with no expandable memory,the taking away of the I.R blaster and one my biggest annoyances support for accessories for their range of products. Got so fed up trying to get a decent Tempered glass for my S7 edge I just rock it now without one,had a Note 3 & couldnt find any site with a genuine OEM replacement S pen

9. TheOracle1

Posts: 2264; Member since: May 04, 2015

Samsung have spent too much time and energy focusing on Apple and the US market and have been blindsided by the Chinese. What Xiaomi did to them in India in a very short time shows that. Huawei have also proved that you don't need the US market to succeed. They've also overpriced their mid and low-range phones whilst using inferior soc's and other internals. Their flagship designs are very nice but that's not where their bread and butter lies. How many $1,700 foldable phones can they sell? A $750 Galaxy S10 would be a big hit in my opinion and really hurt Apple's XR and other OEM's.

30. emitchell4luv

Posts: 24; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

U made the most valuable point......put cheap....chips in their phones and over pricing them

21. midan

Posts: 2884; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

"True. and why do we need a flagship every year? why can't we have something really new and innovative once every 2-3 years?" Are you serious with this? You think people who for example have galaxy S7 want to wait another three years to get new phone?!?!? Of course we need new flagship every year because most people doesn't own the newest device. I'm sure S7 users would be very happy with S10 and even with with S9 It Sounds like you think that world is full of tech geeks

8. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 930; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

They think they can do the same as Apple and get away with it.

2. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

PhoneArena can finally celebrate. In fact I can already even see the 'Samsung the next HTC' article coming.

3. mikedemoda

Posts: 128; Member since: Mar 19, 2010

maybe they should bring it every time, cuz the S9 was a fiasco

15. TheOracle1

Posts: 2264; Member since: May 04, 2015

Here's an idea. Put a one or two year old high-end Exynos and a decent camera in a midrange phone with good design and sell it for $350. It will sell like crazy in a place like India. Those two items are made in-house anyway and will just gather dust. It would give buyers a great user experience and be a good deal.

4. Nimbus

Posts: 442; Member since: Apr 02, 2018

Next 2 years is their last chance for bringing innovation and affordability to their midrange smartphones A series.If they can't get it right even with this president and new president base on market changes,competition and demands then they bound to fail and get overtaken by Huawei very much and Xiaomi for sure.Even if they get it right later 2 years it will be too late.

6. hjl2345

Posts: 89; Member since: Aug 11, 2018

Well they have been slacking off in some hardware departments compared to other Chinese companies. I hate to admit it, but most of them now have slide mechanisms for their front/back cameras for really immersive screen to body ratios, they have an in display fingerprint sensor, and some offer ridiculous charging speeds compared to other Samsung flagship phones. While the Samsung phones might have a very strong brand recognition around the world, it is slowly being chipped away by fierce competition from other Chinese phones.

13. Cingano

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 20, 2018

This is a great point, the only reason I am not using one of the phones you described is availability and I can't use it on my carrier. If those limitations weren't there I would definitely be trying a different device. I'm not sure how responsible they are for keeping phone choices low in the us market, but it seems every phone I'm interested in doesn't come to Verizon. Leaving Samsung as the best choice for me on the only network that works for me.

39. hjl2345

Posts: 89; Member since: Aug 11, 2018

I feel you as well. It seems to be the same in South Korea as well. Our only option is Samsung , LG or Apple. While there are Sony options, they are not really practical in terms of the fact that they only have 2 repair shops and all of them rely on 1 of them to fix your device if it needs fixing. So far we had a few Xiaomi phones that came in here officially, but at the cost, it seems like it would be better off just importing those phones rather than buying through carriers. Really hope we get some more variety here. The Nokia brand seems nice along with Oppo and Vivo's complete edge to edge screens with sliding cameras seems really nice too, but those are out of the question unless if you are willing to take the risk of importing them.

10. Venom

Posts: 3574; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

With the amazing OnePlus 6T at an affordable cost, why would you want to spend $1K on a phone? Samsung and others need to step up and I don't mean price either.

16. Whitedot

Posts: 811; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Spot on.

27. Venom

Posts: 3574; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I agree. OnePlus is killing it and I'm glad. I thought I was going to get a Nokia, but they are still dropping the ball when it comes to the US. OnePlus is the best fit imo.

29. meanestgenius

Posts: 22072; Member since: May 28, 2014

I'm going to take advantage of that OnePlus 6 deal, as I already have picked up two of the newer Nokia branded smartphones that are sold here in the U.S., despite what some people say about them dropping the ball in the U.S. OnePlus makes some great smartphones, and the 6T launched without a hitch, unlike a certain flagship from Google that has launched out the gate with a myriad of issues.

12. Cingano

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 20, 2018

Samsung has done a great job of listening to consumers in a lot of areas but I wonder how much money they are and have wasted in the things we don't want, didn't ask for, and even blatantly opposed. I understand the desire to create their own ecosystem but Bixby and the other Samsung branded Google replacements are subpar to Google's offerings and have to be a sinkhole for $. I would imagine most people using Samsung flagships, like myself, have the button disabled in favor of Google assistant. They make an excellent hardware and in my opinion the best hardware, but I feel like they could serverly cut costs by switching to a more stock Android and cutting all these extra apps and services people don't seem to care about

17. D34ever

Posts: 228; Member since: Jul 14, 2018

Easy fix...... 1) Lower prices 2) Get rid of Bixby or give the user an option to disable it permanently 3) Get rid of bloatware 4) Faster OS updates.

18. almostdone

Posts: 448; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

I agree prices needs to be lower. Huawei and xaiomi are putting huge pressure on Samsung. The quality is very good and is only getting better every. They're offering more value than Samsung. Samsung's foldable phone can be a huge success however they need to price it right. They have to be bold and think about selling huge quantities at much lower mark up. If xaiomi can sell the pocophone F1 for 300 for flagship specs Samsung can sell the foldable phone for a 1000 and probably make only 200-300 from each. Samsung is huge and doesn't rely on their phone sales. Components are by Samsung. They can't really lose.

19. dmdzordilla

Posts: 59; Member since: Jul 31, 2018

Unify the foldable and Note line. It will be useful to put the SPen on a foldable device so it would function like a real slate with a pen when unfolded

20. anandisdbest

Posts: 3; Member since: Dec 08, 2016

Shut up & take my money(but only if I get my dream phone, an Android One Galaxy S10 plus coz Sammy ur hardware is the best in class but software is plain horrible )

23. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

While Samsung has been a leader in innovation and continues to spend one of the highest on R&D they have lacked any leaps and bound innovation moves especially around computational photography and AI in the last couple of years. That said, only the OP 6T has even caught my attention this year in terms of competition to the Note 9. There are no other considerations for me. Hauwei and other Chinese brands are out innovating everyone right now and Samsung should be worried. I think DJ Koh should step aside and let new leadership take the juggernaut forward. Thy need to make some decisions on what the midrange startegy should look like their recent move to add new and premium features is only raising pricing and putting them in the high mid range pricing which Isa tough sell. Don't go the 'build a premium brand' route as it's less stable in terms of user base than building a premium product.

25. geordie8t1

Posts: 299; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

I think they blurred the lines to much between the galaxy note and S models, then they increased the costs way to much just because apple can sell overpriced devices, doesn't mean others can, and I u want to charge more, then u gotta justify it withthe latest tech

32. Farcaster

Posts: 159; Member since: Apr 16, 2018

Can't really blame them when they're competing with the predatory pricing of Chinese (backed by the deep pockets of the Communist State), and also the increasing brand loyalty of Apple.

36. markpowervr

Posts: 31; Member since: Dec 22, 2015

In order to keep up with Huawie, Samsung must release a sub-brand like "Huawie on Honor Brand" with new light stockish ui not heavily samsung skin just like oxygen os, FLAGSHIP SPECS with again removable back, FLAT SCREEN, amoled, with replaceable battery never mind the plastic back but stainless steel frame, dont forget the HEADPHONE JACK and fm radio with slightly above pocophone price and that's for me is a WINNER!!!

37. cmdacos

Posts: 4208; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Stock UI doesn't sell in any significant numbers.

38. mrochester

Posts: 999; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Samsung truly desperately needs its own OS and ecosystem. They really need to push Tizen, Galaxy App Store and Bixby harder than ever before. They need to get their customers switched away from Google as quickly as possible. They need to give their customers a reason to keep buying their products by doing what Apple does; offer a better user experience than what Android or Google does. As long as Samsung continues to use Android, they will continue to be eaten alive by Chinese competitors who are prepared to undercut them. Everyone should be following Apple’s business practices.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.