Samsung President Affirms its Own Software Needs Work, Vows Half of R&D Budget to Improve

Samsung Analyst Day 2013

When you think of a Samsung Android phone, what’s the first thing you’re likely to complain about.  Is it the hardware?  Not generally, Samsung usually packs the latest and greatest hardware around, although some don’t care for the AMOLED technology they use for their screens.  Is it the built quality of the phones?  That used to be an issue until the Galaxy Note 3, which is notably improved over previous Samsung Android phone.  Is it the software?  I’m pretty sure I heard a resounding yes from that question, and it’s this resounding response that seems to have woken the Korean giant up.  Samsung’s custom Android skin, known as TouchWiz, has been the brunt of jokes in the Android world for years now, and even though Samsung aimed to improve it with last year’s “Nature UX” that launched with the Galaxy S III, it’s still the most bloated and by far the ugliest of all the manufacturer skins for Android.  Given that most Android OEMs have taken to lightning their skins up, both in terms of look and overall clutter of the UI, we expect Samsung to do the same with their next iteration of the software.  That’s why they’ve vowed to spend half of their massive $3 Billion R&D workforce budget on improving said software, which is rather incredible no matter how you look at it.

Samsung’s President Lee Sang-hoon has acknowledged the issues they’ve been facing with software design and quality, and likened it to the Red Sox in the World Series, which he says has an ace batting team, but only an average pitching team.  He likened this to Samsung’s hardware game, in which he said was top-notch, but its software division wasn’t doing as good of a job.  Still they are winning the overall game, if sales numbers are anything to go by of course.  They’ve also got the largest mind share of any other smartphone manufacturer outside of Apple, which is equally as important as sales, since this is what drives future sales.  All this was said at the 2013 Samsung Analyst Day, which is the first Analyst Day the company has put on in over 8 years.  Likely this was due to the ailing stock prices and worry over the next round of devices from Samsung as the Wall Street Journal points out.  The Galaxy S4, while an incredible performer in the market, has constantly missed its sales goals throughout its lifetime, and that never bodes well for a company.  We’ll see with the Galaxy S5 if Samsung’s new software design mirrors that of the updates found in the Galaxy Note 3, or if they take an entirely different direction altogether.