Samsung boss says being first is no longer important

By | 28th February 2018

  • During a press conference at MWC 2018, DJ Koh stated Samsung Mobile is no longer interested in being “first” with any new feature.
  • Samsung has a long history of firsts in the mobile industry, so this represents a big change for it.
  • With the Galaxy S9 having few “firsts” to it, future Samsung devices may be less about innovation and more about a refined experience.


Samsung already announced the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, but Mobile World Congress 2018 is still in full swing. During a press conference with Korean reporters, head of Mobile at Samsung DJ Koh had some interesting things to say about the future of the company and innovation.

“We were obsessed with being the world’s first and industry’s first, rather than thinking about how this innovation could be meaningful to consumers,” said Koh.

“Being the first is no longer important today, and our strategy is to launch something that consumers believe is meaningful and valuable at the right time.”

Samsung certainly has its share of firsts, but not all of them are particularly memorable. The Samsung Galaxy Round was the first smartphone with a curved display, which would be notable if it had it sold well, or if curved phones ever became a thing. Samsung was also the first to utilize what it referred to as Air Gestures, controlling your smartphone without physically touching the screen. The technology first appeared in the Galaxy S4, but didn’t make anyone’s life much easier. Samsung stopped promoting the feature in future phone releases, eventually removing it entirely from the Galaxy S line.

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Generally, Samsung deciding to only focus on being the best rather than the first is a good thing. After all, the most exciting thing about the Samsung Galaxy S9 is the AR Emoji feature, which the company cribbed from Apple, and the fact that they moved the fingerprint sensor back to where it should have been in the first place. The days of being “first” should be behind Samsung, and instead, the company should focus on delivering the best smartphone experience it possibly can.

All the real innovation is happening in the mid-range now, with things like Vivo’s underglass fingerprint scanner and pop-up selfie camera concept. Samsung would be smart to let other companies take risks while it works on refining the user experience to the max.