Hey Samsung, it’s not enough to beef up your phone anymore

Hey Samsung, it’s not enough to beef up your phone anymore

Hey Samsung, it's not enough to beef up your phone anymore

On Sunday at MWC 2016 we watched Samsung unveil the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge and both phones look good and have – as expected – a killer set of specs. But at a time when smartphones seem to have reached a plateau, is that enough?

(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S7 Full Specs)

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 5.1-inch QHD Super Amoled display while the Galaxy S7 Edge packs a 5.5-inch QHD Super Amoled display. As previously rumored, both phones now sport an Always-On display which will allow users to check notifications, time and date without having to wake up the device. Both will come in two storage variants: 32GB and 64GB.

Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are powered by Exynos 8890 octa-core (2.3 GHz quad-core + 1.6 GHz quad-core) or Qualcomm Snadragon 820 quad-core (2.15 GHz dual-core) SoC + 1.6 GHz dual-core) SoC, region dependent – India gets Exynos variant. Both will have 4 GB of RAM.

(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Full Specs)

Samsung also has an ecosystem of accessories that offer all sorts of new features. It eventually launched the Gear S2 smartwatch and Gear VR headset in India, and at MWC the company also launched the Gear 360 spherical camera. All of these accessories are important parts of the ecosystem and can make phones stand out from the company – but the way they are presented and talked about makes them look more like an afterthought.

On the other hand, just look at the Korean company LG – its communication for the launch of the LG G5 puts much more emphasis on the new “modular” design which can improve the phone. This means that when you buy an LG G5, you can choose from different modules that shape your experience. A busy executive who travels a lot will want a battery pack, while an audiophile might want to purchase the module which functions as a DAC and can also be used with other devices. Since this is a versatile add-on for your LG G5, the purchase makes even more sense because you’re not just spending money on your phone.

That’s not to say LG has skimped on spec updates; The smartphone uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 paired with 4GB of RAM and features a 5.3-inch QHD “Always-On” IPS display. But instead of just focusing on the hardware, LG has broadened the conversation and focused on the add-ons that will let you customize the phone you buy, even across the line, and the companion devices that the company will sell.


These include the LG 360 Cam, a spherical camera that could be used to create VR content, and the LG 360 VR, which is thinner and lighter than any VR headset we’ve seen so far, because it does not use your phone as a display. The headset will support images and videos captured by the LG 360 Cam, as well as Google Cardboard content. The company has also rolled out a spherical robot that looks like BB8 from Star Wars and can roll around and capture images with an 8-megapixel camera.

Ultimately, not everyone will be interested in all of these accessories, or LG’s modular approach. But while the two companies are building a broader mobile ecosystem beyond just phones, that’s not the impression you get when listening to Samsung. And it’s a disturbing insight into how the company is thinking, at a time when mobile companies really need to innovate.

Check out the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360, in our CES 2023 hub.


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