TORONTO – If tech reviewers say Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 isn’t as awe-inspiring as some of the company’s older phones that’s fine with Paul Brennan.
The senior vice president of mobile and enterprise for Samsung Canada admits it’s getting harder to wow tech-savvy consumers with each new release.
And so Samsung is content to focus on constantly improving its core features and sprinkling some new ones into each new model, rather than swinging for the fences every time.
“I think you will continue to see ‘wow factors’ come, but will they be as revolutionary as they once were? I think not, I think you’ll see more evolutionary things,” said Brennan on launching the flagship Galaxy S5, which hit the Canadian market Friday.
The phone’s new features include a fingerprint reader, heart rate monitor, increased dust and water resistance, and more powerful photography tools. There’s nothing revolutionary about the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch screen but maximizing its quality was a top priority, said Brennan. He noted that the video diagnostics company DisplayMate recently said Samsung’s latest phone had the best screen it had ever tested, with top marks for brightness, colour accuracy and other features.
“We still regard the screen on a device as being really the most important and first thing that you see,” added Ken Price, director of marketing for Samsung Canada’s mobile communications division.
“Our handling of colour, brightness, darkness, the ability to manage a more natural presentation is part of the value proposition.”
If there is a game-changing technology on the horizon for smartphones, Brennan bets it will involve screens.
“We’ve talked about flexible screens, we’ve showcased flexible screens at (the Consumer Electronics Show) and it’s just getting that technology down to a price point that allows you to sell it to a consumer,” he said.
Brennan expects sales of the Galaxy S5 will get a boost from the ultra-viral attention Samsung received at the Oscars, when host Ellen DeGeneres toted a Galaxy Note 3 on stage and posed for a group selfie with the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Kevin Spacey. The photo DeGeneres posted to her Twitter account has been retweeted 3.4 million times and favourited by more than two million users.
It was obvious to most viewers that Samsung had paid to be featured so prominently on the telecast. But the stunt itself seemed unscripted enough that it didn’t feel like an ad, which will probably pay dividends for Samsung, Brennan said.
“When that part came on I remember saying to my wife, ‘That looked totally random and sincere,’ and you see people trying to jump into (the shot), it was a really kind of surreal moment,” he said.
“It was very genuine and clearly there was branding on the phone so it allowed (the Samsung name) to come across.
“I think it will have a positive impact for us as a company.”
Brennan also said Samsung is excited about the chance to expand its reach in the corporate market with the Galaxy S5.
“We see the business-to-business space as a significant growth area for Samsung,” he said.
“We have great penetration inside the consumer market. There was a company that had great penetration inside the business community that is not necessarily heading in the right direction … so we believe we have a great opportunity there.”