On February 20, 2019, Samsung held the Galaxy UNPACKED 2019 conference. The event is anniversary, because this year the Galaxy line is already 10 years old.
As part of the event, we were presented with the latest Galaxy S10 smartphones and the manufacturer's first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold. A worthy upgrade. But when the first Galaxy devices appeared, no one could even imagine what they would become in a decade.
It all started on April 27, 2009, when, at first glance, an unremarkable event took place. Samsung introduced the i7500 smartphone, which was proudly called Galaxy.
The smartphone was made in a recognizable design, familiar to users of Samsung sliders, extremely popular in those years. It was equipped with a 3.2-inch AMOLED touch screen, a 5 megapixel camera, support for 3G networks and a hardware keyboard that included not only call acceptance and rejection buttons, but also a joystick. It was the first device of the South Korean manufacturer, which was running a very young even then Android operating system.
The first pancake was not that lumpy, but rather unsuccessful. The company only looked at the potential of Android, the main focus then was on Omnia smartphones (aka WiTu) with Windows Mobile. The very first Galaxy had a number of shortcomings, from small memory and battery life to poor photo quality. Firmware from Samsung also did not please users, differing not in the highest stability. In addition, the company refused to release software updates, which caused massive user dissatisfaction.
Nevertheless, the first Galaxy managed to attract the closest attention. The number of smartphones with Android at that time was not very large, and the appearance of a solution from one of the largest manufacturers of mobile devices could not go unnoticed.
The company took into account all the shortcomings of the first model, when in November of the same year it introduced the Galaxy Spica (aka Portal). This device also had an expanded hardware keyboard, improved specifications, and firmware updates were released for it. It sold well, although it did not set special records.
But the real breakthrough in the Galaxy line was the appearance in July 2010 of the i9000 model, better known as the Galaxy S, with a completely updated design (which later became the cause of protracted litigation with Apple). The main distinguishing feature of this device was the rejection of a bulky and not particularly necessary physical keyboard in favor of increasing the screen diagonal. Only the essentials of the two touch and one physical buttons have been preserved. The user was waiting for a 4-inch SuperAMOLED screen and a lot of amenities among the technical specifications. So, it was the first device with Bluetooth 3.0 and the thinnest of Android solutions at that time.
Galaxy S was created as a direct competitor to the iPhone 3GS. And it did indeed become the most popular Android smartphone in 2010, although it didn't even come close. Apple devices. Nevertheless, it became clear to everyone that the Galaxy line has a great future.
It makes no sense to try to describe in one article even half of the devices included in the Galaxy lineup over the past decade - it would take a whole book. We will consider only the main milestones in the development of these devices. Unlike Apple, Samsung could not be limited to only one smartphone model per year, so already in 2010 new solutions appeared - Galaxy 3, Galaxy 5 and Galaxy 551. 2011 became even more significant in terms of splitting the line, the most notable model of that time was the N7000, better known as the Galaxy Note. Its distinctive feature was an impressive screen for those times with a diagonal of 5.3 inches. The Note series still exists today, it still includes models with considerable diagonals - by the time the Note 9 model appeared in August 2018, the screen diagonal had already reached 6.4 inches.
For a long time, Samsung couldn't help ridiculing the not-so-sleek design of smartphones. Attempts to get rid of the similarity with the iPhone have led to the emergence of a number of devices that are quite controversial in terms of appearance. Or downright boring. But the company learned from its mistakes and everything was fixed with the advent of the Galaxy S6 in 2015, the design of which was not only original, but also truly attractive and bright. In addition, the company did not stint on materials. And although the device turned out to be problematic, there was a large amount of marriage, it can be safely attributed to the best smartphones of 2015.
To date, the line of Galaxy smartphones is represented by three main series - "S", which historically includes top solutions; "A" - typical "middle peasants", with a good ratio of cost and features; "J" - budget models with good performance, but unable to boast of the high cost of materials. There are some other series, but they are usually intended only for certain markets.
With the advent of each new model, the Galaxy series has become closer to perfection. Although it was not without serious setbacks, of which the most notorious was the story of the Galaxy Note 7, known for its tendency to spontaneous combustion. It got to the point that many airlines banned the use of this model on board aircraft. Some carriers have also followed suit. The case ended with the fact that Samsung recognized the problem and recalled all devices in the series.
Samsung's obvious shortcomings include the proprietary TouchWiz shell (since 2017 - Samsung Experience), which many users disliked for being buggy and outright slow. It often happened that a Samsung smartphone was purchased solely because of the hardware, after which the user installed a “clean” Android on the device. However, this approach requires the owner of the device to have certain knowledge, which not everyone has. But the company has worked hard in this direction, resulting in the appearance in 2018 of the One UI shell, redesigned both externally and internally.
Today, Galaxy S devices are perhaps the only ones that can compete with the iPhone, not only in terms of technical characteristics, but also in design and quality of materials. Unlike many Chinese manufacturers that literally flooded the market with inexpensive devices with advanced features, Samsung is constantly striving to create really interesting devices and innovative solutions. Although, it becomes more and more difficult to do this every year.
The company continues to experiment with form factors. So in 2015, the Galaxy Folder clamshell smartphone was introduced. It cannot be said that this device has become very popular, but the appearance in 2017 of the second version showed that it still had its fans.
The latest and most interesting step was the appearance of the Galaxy Fold smartphone, equipped with a 7.3-inch folding screen. The decision immediately attracted the closest attention, but users around the world were wary of it. First of all, I was confused by the cost of the device, about $2000. In addition, its potential is not entirely clear, it is not clear whether it will really be convenient to use it, whether it can replace both a smartphone and a tablet at the same time. Hybrid solutions rarely have a happy fate. Let's see how the life of the Galaxy Fold will turn out.
Another thing is the S series, whose devices are an example of what a really good smartphone should be. The manufacturer makes every effort to ensure that the models included in it differ not only in advanced characteristics, but also embody the latest technical achievements. And the Galaxy S10 presented during the conference on February 20 was an excellent confirmation of this. It offers users a triple camera that can take professional-level pictures, an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that surpasses optical counterparts in all respects, a Power Share function that allows you to use your smartphone as a wireless charger, and much more. The company has made every effort to ensure that the anniversary device becomes a truly iconic one. It's not perfect yet. But a good step towards it.
To date, 2 billion Galaxy devices have been sold. And the series includes not only smartphones, but also Galaxy Tab tablets and Galaxy Watch smart watches.