Towards the end of 2016, any story revolving around Samsung would elicit the mention of the notorious Galaxy Note 7. Every flight around the world since then has had checks to ensure that passengers weren’t flying with a device onboard. Many questioned the impact it would have on the company as a whole.
It’s been a year since the problem broke out. The South Korean giant has initiated quite a few corrective measures since then. But the rather infamous phablet is just a speck in the distant memory now. As we head towards the end of 2017, undoubtedly, the year belongs to Samsung. Let me elaborate.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+
Unfortunately for Samsung, the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco happened not a long time after it was launched. In fact, in the early days of its launch, the company decided to recall the devices it had sold globally. India was getting increasingly sceptical of the word Note, with everyone just recalling the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
The next major launch since then was the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, which caught everyone by surprise. And it impressed consumers and analysts alike. The India launch of the two flagship devices happened in April to a warm reception.
It is far from easy to regain customer confidence after a PR nightmare as big as the Galaxy Note 7. But, Samsung has managed to do just that first with the Galaxy S8 duo, and then with the Galaxy Note 8. Besides being overall good devices, the two played a big role in the current trend of bezel-less displays. Apart from the display, the devices also came with impressive build quality, superb cameras, dual-SIM support, and water resistance to name a few.
An acknowledgment, and an apology
Several months into the debacle, the company wrote an open letter to its customers. In doing so, it dealt with the problem at hand, head on. It came across as sincere and honest that it had let down the trust, and confidence that millions of consumers across the globe had reposed in it.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The month of September was when Samsung had its moment. As the company was gearing up for the launch of the Galaxy Note 8, it simply just didn’t have to launch the upgrade for the Galaxy Note 7, it also needed to make a statement. And it did just that, in style.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was the first flagship device from the South Korean manufacturer to boast dual cameras. It retained all the best bits from the Galaxy S8 duo, and the bundled S Pen too was vastly improved.
To say that Samsung made good phones in 2017, would be an understatement. Yes, the year also saw the launch of some great phones like the Apple iPhone X and Google Pixel 2 XL among others, but it is difficult not to include Samsung’s flagship smartphones in the elite category.
With the flagship devices that Samsung launched this year, it managed to create a buzzword in the form of Infinity display. The way with it marketed the ‘world without boundaries’ captured the attention of millions who went on to adapt them like nothing happened a few months ago.
2017 will be known as the year when edge-to-edge displays became a mainstream feature. While this was first seen on the LG G6, credit has to be given to Samsung for making the feature a buzzword. In fact we have reached a point where devices with bezels around the display seem outdated right out-of-the-box.
When talking about Samsung-related innovations, one needs to really talk about Samsung Pay. While there are similar features like Android Pay or Apple Pay, the most important thing is that Samsung’s feature is in India and others are not.
Samsung Pay is also not only restricted to premium devices, but is also available on the company’s budget offerings that don’t have NFC chipsets. Samsung Pay Mini is essentially a toned down version, and comes with UPI and Paytm integration. The company claims to have over 2 million users on the platform in India, and recent rumors suggest that this feature could be made available on non-Samsung devices too.
In India despite increasing competition from Chinese players, Samsung has continued to dominate. In fact, a report from earlier today claimed that Samsung India’s revenues in FY’17 grew by 27 percent. Courtesy of the flagship Galaxy series, and the budget Galaxy J-series, mobile phones accounted for 60 percent revenue for FY17 – a rise of 20 percent year-over-year.
On a global scale, Samsung has predicted record profits for second straight quarter. During the last earnings call, the company predicted to make around 62 trillion won (approximately $54.7 billion) in revenue.
Apple iPhone X
The last reason why I believe that Samsung has moved beyond any dent in perception or business is the Apple iPhone X. This is Apple’s first phone to use an OLED display, and Samsung is the biggest supplier of OLED panels for the iPhone X.
While the smartphone faced manufacturing hurdles this year, Samsung Display has been finally able to hit 90 percent yield with iPhone X displays. This has resulted in Apple quadrupling its orders for OLED panels to 180-200 million panels.
It seems to have been an interesting year for Samsung heading in to 2018. It’s done it with resilience, by launching able devices back-to-back since then. As we head towards the beginning of 2018, we’re already hearing reports of the Samsung Galaxy S9, which too is getting quite a bit of attention.