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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Designed For Humans? My Thoughts about the Galaxy S III Industrial Design

Months before the Galaxy S III announcement, I was quite excited to see what it has to offer especially in terms of industrial design. Now the waiting is over. The latest Samsung flagship device was just unveiled. It looks like this:



Here are my thoughts: coming from the point of view of a Samsung aficionado, I believe the new flagship phone failed to capture the imagination of the public who waited for the phone with much excitement. It doesn't look that bad. But it doesn’t have that distinct look or that stunning identity that people are looking for in a high end mobile category. 

The exterior of the Galaxy S III is made out of plastic, which is reputably a cheap material. I don’t think the choice of material is something bad at all. When you look at the functional value of plastic on a mobile phone, it doesn’t interfere with the phone’s reception. Furthermore, plastic is a very durable material. It doesn’t break easily, unlike the materials used in the iPhone 4S.



One has to be impressed with the designers of Nokia, who also opted to use plastic in their latest flagship smartphones. The unique distinct flow of curves and lines on the phone using a polycarbonate unibody is something that the market hasn’t seen before.


HTC has also done a masterful job in crafting its HTC One X.  Also using a single piece of plastic shell to encase the phone, the phone can be praised for its ergonomic design.


Both the smartphones mentioned have successfully exhibited unique identities through. On the other hand, Galaxy S III is not an ugly looking phone. But it just looks too ordinary to me. 

Samsung stated that it’s "Designed for humans, inspired by nature". The phone’s design philosophy is taken from a flat stone in a pond, and I think they would like people to feel relaxed when holding this device. Their objective is to make the phone feel more natural. But really, who would be inspired by a piece of stone?

I believe Samsung should have stuck with the design philosophy of the Galaxy S II. The former’s design utilizes distinct straight lines and more pronounced corners. It is simple and straightforward. It communicates that the phone is a piece of technology and an icon of human advancement. That is Samsung’s image in the mobile world. I also wished that the texturized back was retained because it reduces smudges and surface scratches.

One of the reasons consumers buy smartphones is because they want a unique device, for personal enjoyment and to be proudly seen in public with the device. In a very competitive market, this is a very important factor in deciding among alternatives. Design would not be among the deciding factors for purchasing this one. But the Galaxy S III would still be successful in the market because of its superior specs.

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