Samsung’s Design 3.0 strategy could prove decisive in the smartphone race

It seems redesigns are the flavour of the season. After many months in development, Apple showed off a revamped iOS 7 yesterday, and it takes the popular platform in a new direction – one which could endanger Android and Samsung’s comfortable position at the top of the market.

Apple’s salvo means Samsung, the leader in the smartphone market, will need to revitalise its efforts at least as far as UI design and user experience is concerned. Just like iOS had been accused in the past, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI for Android has started to look a bit long in the tooth. The redesigned TouchWiz, which was launched on the Galaxy S3 last year, was just an evolution of the original UI seen on the Galaxy S and S2. The Galaxy S4 was expected to bring a redesigned Samsung UI, but it’s more or less the same as the S3’s original interface.

Will the S4 Active follow the same design language?

How will Design 3.0 change Samsung's phones?


However, it would seem the company is working on bringing a new design language to its Android smartphone UI. One report says there have been several high-level meetings at Samsung with regards to a new "Design 3.0" strategy.  The Korea Herald reports that Samsung execs met last month to discuss a new design approach for future smartphones and tablets. According to the report, the Korean smartphone leader wants to build an experience that not only looks great and feels practical, but also helps make a positive impact with consumers. The company has spent the past half decade establishing itself as a market leader, and now it’s hoping to consolidate its position by creating a design language that’s instantly identifiable as Samsung’s, according to Yoon Boo-keun, an exec at the company.

There are no definite answers as to what Design 3.0 entails, but if Samsung is hoping to connect with fans or prove that it listens to their feedback, then the first thing that they would do is move on from plastic to aluminium for the phone’s construction. Android Geeks says their Samsung source has confirmed that the successor to the Galaxy S4 will have an aluminium unibody construction, which obviously means there will be trade-offs in terms of battery replacements and weight.

HTC is struggling to keep up with the Samsung onslaught. (photo credit:iletisimhaberleri)

Aluminium vs plastic (photo credit:iletisimhaberleri)


When it comes to UI design and interface of Android phones, Samsung has something of a Catch-22. For the last couple of years, its TouchWiz has become highly ubiquitous; so much so that some other low-cost manufacturers ship phones that riff on the Samsung UI. Just look at the button setup on any Galaxy smartphone, where the back button is on the right hand side, and then have a look at the stock Android setup, where this is on the left. But pick up any new low-cost Micromax or Karbonn and they all have their buttons on the right-hand side. So Samsung has in a way informed the design choices of other manufacturers too. We don’t think Samsung would change much in the way of how the interaction happens on its smartphones, although the look and feel of the OS (icons, menus and fonts) will certainly get revamped – in fact, it must be.

Much of the smartphone debate revolves around Android vs iOS and there’s no doubt that Samsung’s brand of Android is the most prevalent in the world. Any changes in Samsung’s design language and the UI of its devices will not only affect Samsung but also Android as a whole. In that sense, Design 3.0 could prove to be a watershed event for the smartphone market.

Published Date: Jun 12, 2013 10:26 am | Updated Date: Jun 12, 2013 10:26 am