Whenever a launch of a new mobile device doesn’t go exactly to plan, there’s always at least one guy up in the higher ranks who winds up taking the fall. Scott Forstall was the scapegoat when Apple’s iOS 6 Maps app took a public flogging for its not-even-beta-worthy state, and now, Samsung design chief Chang Dong-hoon has been replaced by his deputy thanks to shortcomings relating to the Korean outfit’s Galaxy S5 design.
Even though the handset itself has been generally lauded, the initial launch at the Mobile World Congress saw many commentators and observers question why it looked so similar to its predecessor, while others mocked the rear of the gold model for its band aid-like aesthetic.
With Chang stepping down, his assistant Lee Min-hyouk will take the reigns, although as yet, it’s hard to determine precisely how this will affect the company’s overall design ethos. Lee was a part of Samsung’s collaboration with Renault in the automotive industry back in the nineties, and even though, at 42, he’s among the youngest in Samsung’s corporate ranks, he’s still racked up an impressive amount of experience.
Since Lee has been a long-standing understudy, it’s perhaps unlikely that we’ll see immediate, radical changes like we saw with iOS post-Forstall. But with a new lead comes new ideas, and looking ahead to the likes of the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6, Lee’s reign could even perhaps signal a departure from he polycarbonate finish.
Many of us hoped, in vain, that the Galaxy S5 would finally offer fans a premium, metallic finish akin to the much-lauded iPhone 5s and HTC One M8. In fact, leaks and rumors leading up to that MWC showcasing seemed to suggest that this would indeed be the case, and the perceivably cheap, plasticky feel would finally be done with.
But it wasn’t to be, and even though the GS5 has been deservedly the subject of much acclaim for its fantastic camera and equally impressive Super AMOLED HD display, let’s hope that the Lee-manned era touts a design worthy of such a high-end handset.
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