The long wait and the the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge are here. However, the news that Samsung, the South Korean company is struggling to meet demand for the curved screen Galaxy S6 Edge smartphone is a double-edged sword.
Ewan Spence (via Forbes) reveals:
The immediate reaction should be ‘great, demand outstrips supply, that’s a great PR message!’ but even a tiny look at the situation and it’s actually more negative than that. The issue has been clearly pitched by Samsung’s J.K. Shin as a “difficulty in supply” (reports the Wall Street Journal) with warnings that the issue could persist for some time. That’s not a good message to be pushing out on the eve of the retail debut of one of the most critical smartphone launches for the company.
Previously Samsung executives had indicated that carriers had placed orders for twenty million Galaxy S6 units, with fifteen million vanilla Galaxy S6 units, and five million S6 Edge units. If that five million unit has to be lowered, there’s a danger that those sales will simply be lost, rather than transfer back to the regular Galaxy S6. Given the initial sales of twelve million Galaxy S5 units last year heralded the reduction in Samsung’s profits, the South Korean company needs to keep as many of those lost S6 Edge sales as possible.
While it would be easy to compare this to Apple’s supply issues around the iPhone 6 Plus in September and October last year, there is a marked difference, and it is down to volume and perception. Given the sheer number of units sold by Apple, the supply constraints on the iPhone 6 Plus were seen as a mark of popularity and a factory complex running at full speed to keep up with demand from consumers. While the S6 Edge appears to be striking a chord with consumers, the factories are not running at full speed – instead they are constrained by the curved screen production.
With relatively low quantities of S6 Edge handsets available, the message being picked up by the public is less ‘everyone wants this handset’ more ‘Samsung didn’t plan this very well.’
What I find interesting about all of this is that while Samsung’s hardware engineers will have spent significant resources to design, develop, and manufacture the curved touchscreen, the software team has not matched those levels of innovation. I’ll be talking more about the lack dedicated ‘edge’ software and UI considerations in my full review of the S6 Edge this weekend here on Forbes , The bottom line is that Samsung is not making best use of the ‘edge’ display on the S6 Edge (it’s far less functional than the earlier ‘edge’ on the Galaxy Note Edge) and that makes it a less attractive alternative to the regular Galaxy S6 than first thought.
In the rush to try to do something different and to be seen as innovative, Samsung has over-extended itself. The hardware is watered down from the useful yet severe edge and curve of the Galaxy Note Edge, the software has been compromised in terms of functionality and integration in the bundled applications, the UI does not take into account the potentially dead spots along the due of the screen, and these misfiring design goals have been compounded by the inability to actually build enough handsets.
I’m sure that the Galaxy S6 Edge was designed to show Samsung on the cutting edge of design – and I argued that it should have been the only Galaxy S6 handset released to emphasise those credentials. Yes the S6 Edge is innovative, but it doesn’t stand out to any great degree, it has a number of ergonomic physical issues, and the construction methods used are either too slow or have too low a yield to allow any significant volume.
Rather than show Samsung’s skills at innovation, it shows a panic and desperation to have ‘something’ new to show the world.
CREDITS: Ewan Spence (Forbes)