Although the Samsung Galaxy S5 left some tech pundits disappointed after its anticlimactic debut, it seems to have made a great impression on customers. Samsung hasn't released the sales figures yet, but one executive says the S5 is already on track to outsell the Galaxy S4.
The S4 received a lukewarm response from customers, many of whom decided to stick with their Galaxy S3 or Note 3 instead of upgrading to the S4. This time around, Samsung was determined to focus on improving only the features that interested customers, rather than adding tons of high-tech features. According to Samsung, this new customer-focused approach seems to be working.
"[The S5] is selling faster than the S4 so far, though it's difficult to share specific numbers as we're still at early stages," Yoon Han-kil, senior VP of Samsung's product strategy team, said. "S5 sales should be much better than the S4."
Many criticized the S4 for overloading on the software features and not delivering what customers wanted. The S5 is the antithesis of Samsung's approach with the S4. Its software is much simpler and its new specifications are more practical than showy.
"With the S4, we thought smartphones shouldn't just focus on hardware. They also had to come with a lot of software and services, and that line of thinking did lead us to cram many services into the device," Yoon said. "We still feel the same way but this time around, we decided not to put in so many things and only include what the user really needs, so I cut out a lot of services and software," Yoon said.
Yoon also stated that Tizen is alive and well inside Samsung, even though the company hasn't released a Tizen-based smartphone yet.
"We had tried to launch [Tizen] with DoCoMo and Orange ... but couldn't because of poor market conditions. We have changed our strategy and will release the phones in a few countries where we can do well," he said.
He added that Samsung plans to release a Tizen smartphone in the second quarter of 2014. Yoon envisions Samsung's immediate future as mostly Android-based, but with 15 percent of devices running Tizen and perhaps a few with Windows Phone onboard.
He also acknowledged the challenges many manufacturers are facing in the somewhat stagnant high-end smartphone market. Yoon believes that the key to creating a successful high-end smartphone is tapping into what the customer wants rather than outlandish innovation. If the S5 continues to sell well, Samsung's new philosophy might just be the right one.