A new start with Galaxy S8Samsung Electronics’ much-anticipated and skeptically-watched Galaxy S8 was finally revealed on Wednesday in New York and London. The initial response has been positive. The elegant design and generous display was augmented by removing the home button.
In a bid to redeem its revenue and reputation following the disastrous recall and pullout of the fire-prone S7 Note in the latter half of last year, the company raised the bar in the smartphone category with added specifications and features. It comes with a voice-activated personal assistant called Bixby and extra security through face, iris and fingerprint scanning functions.
The new Samsung premium phone launch was watched from home more with anxiety than expectation. The world’s top smartphone maker fell flatly on its face after much-hyped innovation Galaxy Note7 that sold 4.3 million units in its first two months since release in August had to be recalled after its battery caught fire. The company lost 2.6 trillion won ($2.3 billion) in third-quarter operating profit.
Moreover, its name as a top technology company was stained. The Korean brand’s image was damaged after retailers around the world pulled it out of their shops and airliners banned it from coming onboard.
After confirming in January after months of investigation that its battery was the primary defect, Samsung Electronics has toughened safety measures through multiple procedures and enhanced oversight. It also promised to tend to consumer needs before chasing new innovation.
The company is staking all its credibility with the new phone. It reiterated that safety had been the top priority in the Galaxy S8. Safety and quality remain critical market criteria.
What’s more important than awing consumers is gaining their confidence back. Sales and profit should come later. Samsung Electronics must continue to polish itself and keep self-indulgence at bay as the company and the Korean Inc. cannot afford to slip any more.
JoongAng Ilbo, March 30, Page 34