Samsung Electronics replaces mobile design head

SEOUL Thu May 8, 2014 4:39am EDT

A man uses his mobile phone in front of a giant advertisement promoting Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy S5 smartphone, at an art hall in central Seoul April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A man uses his mobile phone in front of a giant advertisement promoting Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy S5 smartphone, at an art hall in central Seoul April 15, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

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SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world's biggest handset maker, has replaced the head of its mobile design team amid criticism of the latest Galaxy S smartphone.

Chang Dong-hoon offered to resign last week and will be replaced by Lee Min-hyouk, vice president for mobile design, a Samsung spokeswoman said on Thursday.

"The realignment will enable Chang to focus more on his role as head of the Design Strategy Team, the company's corporate design center which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung's businesses, including Mobile Communications," Samsung said in a statement.

Lee, 42, became Samsung's youngest senior executive in 2010 for his role in designing the Galaxy series, a roaring success which unseated Apple Inc's iPhone as king of the global smartphone market.

Samsung now sells two times more smartphones than Apple, largely thanks to the success of Galaxy range.

But the South Korean firm has also been battling patent litigation the world over, with Apple claiming Samsung copied the look and feel of the U.S. firm's mobile products.

The Galaxy S5, which debuted globally last month, has received a lukewarm response from consumers due to its lack of eye-popping hardware innovations, while its plastic case design has been panned by some critics for looking cheap and made out of a conveyor belt. The Wall Street Journal said the gold-colored back cover on the S5 looked like a band-aid.

Chang, a former professor who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will continue to lead Samsung's design center which overseas its overall design strategy.

Lee, who acquired the moniker of "Midas" for his golden touch with the Galaxy series, started out designing cars for Samsung's failed auto joint venture with Renault in the 1990s.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Comments (3)
Neurochuck wrote:
Despite Apple’s lawyers claims, it is hard to imagine a different and better hardware design for touch panel, pocketable smartphones. Flat, thin, rectangular, rounded corners, light, rigidity bevels, …
But from what I have seen of people trying to learn to use Samsung, particularly if not well acquainted with PCs, they have problems with inconsistency in the user interface look and feel of supplied and marketplace apps. Part of it is flexibility in Android, and its evolution of versions, but Samsung also add their own divergences.
Some engineering improvements of the S5, such as strengthening and waterproofing do not seem to have received adequate approval by reviewers.
Easy plugin of charged, travelling extra batteries rather than skimping use and fear of bad connections and a flat battery would suit some users.

May 07, 2014 11:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
zigo wrote:
It’s a lot harder to do something new than to copy.
They need to develop Tizen: at some point, customers will catch on to the fact that Android’s ‘privacy’ agreement explicitly allows Google to log customers’ calls (incl which numbers they called) and locations, and to record any personal information on the phone (i.e., things like pictures, addresses, personal notes, etc). The NSA would be jealous.

May 08, 2014 1:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
KDJ99 wrote:
Samsung’s product launch execution has been consistently bad. The company proudly boasted that the Galaxy S5 would be released in four colors and both 16GB and 32GB versions. Now, a month after launch, we still have only black and white models, no 32GB variant from any U.S. carrier, and utter silence as to the fate of those missing models. That gives potential buyers who have been holding out for, say, a blue 32GB Galaxy S5, time to consider other phones including the soon-to-be-launched flagships from LG and OnePlus.

May 08, 2014 2:28am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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