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Samsung exec: Galaxy S IV's plastic body balances manufacturability and 'premium feel'

post #1 of 132
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In an interview on Tuesday, Samsung's executive vice president of mobile Y.H. Lee said that the company's forthcoming flagship handset will carry over the use of plastic materials in a bid to strike a balance between manufacturing efficiency and customer demand for a "premium feeling" product.

Samsung


Talking to CNET, Lee said that Samsung doesn't limit its focus on mere aesthetic beauty when when designing a new smartphone, but instead accounts for a variety of concerns including how materials affect the manufacturing process.

Lee said the next-gen Galaxy S IV is no exception, and will utilize plastic in the same fashion as previous products in the popular Android-based smartphone lineup.

"I think the next product has a nice balance between this," Lee said. "We listen to the market and try to accommodate."

As Samsung ships millions of units a quarter, effective manufacturing techniques are key, and Lee noted that the Korean company must consider how quickly it can get new products into the hands of customers. This raises the question, however, as to why companies like Apple have successfully moved to glass and aluminum enclosures, seemingly leaving plastic behind.

Even other Android handset makers are making the switch to higher quality elements. HTC's One, for example, uses an aluminum frame, while Nokia has opted to use harder polycarbonate for its Lumia series of phones.

Samsung has argued that the plastics used in its smartphones are light but durable, making it better equipped to absorb shocks due to the material's properties, but many have knocked the handsets' feel for not being as "premium" as offerings made from metal alloys. Lee believes that the company struck a balance between practicality and premium looks with the S IV, and the world will find out whether her comments ring true on March 14, when Samsung is scheduled to unveil the S IV at a special event in New York.
post #2 of 132

They really just need a rubberized rim around it. Make it all soft, like the first Zunes.

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post #3 of 132
Why am I reading about how Samsung builds its phones on an Apple site?
post #4 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Even other Android handset makers are making the switch to higher quality elements. HTC's One, for example, uses an aluminum frame, while Nokia has opted to use harder polycarbonate for its Lumia series of phones.

 

The Galaxy S3's body is polycarbonate.

post #5 of 132
Plastic is never a premium feeling. It's always the second cheaper choice to realize mass products without premium strategy. Plastic means: We want your maximum bunch of money but we don't give any high quality. We are just looking how to maximize our profit without a real interest in user experience.

Hey, if you ask somebody: Do you want the same product cheaper the answer is always: YES. Samsung says: We heard what our customers want. OK - cheap products. But pls don't tell us lies like: plastic is the coolest material for high end smartphones. 1oyvey.gif
Edited by MacHarry de - 3/5/13 at 2:15pm
post #6 of 132
LOL!

Plus Apple bought all of the material that was our first choice...
post #7 of 132

Ah, kind of plastic. Yepp.

post #8 of 132

LOL - our first choice had been USB, Slots, batteries to change, ... No. Apple delivers all the material that is the best before the consumer knows it ;-)  Hehe

post #9 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

 

The Galaxy S3's body is polycarbonate.


Exactly... and the polycarbonate Samsung utilizes is some of the better advanced composite currently available, as it's light-weight, durable, highly scratch and impact resistant and can maintain its coloration throughout the entire substrate, which can never be said of devices manufactured from any type of metal alloy.

"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #10 of 132

'Manufacturability' and 'premium feel'?

 

I'll bet these guys think that plastic boobs do too....

post #11 of 132

What's the saying about polishing turds?

post #12 of 132

My iP4s is beautiful. I use it w/o a case. I find the cases add bulk to the phone and also make it difficult to get out of my jeans pocket. 

 

The iP5 is a definite improvement not having the glass on the back and a lot less vulnerable edges.

 

I would not be adverse to Apple putting a sort of suedey/rubberized thin coating on the back. It would definitely be thinner than an snap-on case. 

post #13 of 132
How about giving our good earth a break ... with so much plastic, looks to me its a step backwards.
post #14 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHarry de View Post

Plastic is never a premium feeling. It's always the second cheaper choice to realize mass products without premium strategy. Plastic means: We want your maximum bunch of money but we don't give any high quality. We are just looking how to maximize our profit without a real interest in user experience.

Hey, if you ask somebody: Do you want the same product cheaper the answer is always: YES. Samsung says: We heard what our customers want. OK - cheap products. But pls don't tell us lies like: plastic is the coolest material for high end smartphones. 1oyvey.gif

Plastic is just a material, it can be well-designed or not. Apple uses a lot of it too. Maybe not as much, but it might not be possible to make a complete electronic device without plastics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post


Exactly... and the polycarbonate Samsung utilizes is some of the better advanced composite currently available, as it's light-weight, durable, highly scratch and impact resistant and can maintain its coloration throughout the entire substrate, which can never be said of devices manufactured from any type of metal alloy.

Polycarbonate is a pretty nice material. It isn't a composite, nor is it made of composites. It is not scratch resistant on its own, it's pretty horrible at that. You are correct that PC is highly impact resistant.
Edited by JeffDM - 3/5/13 at 2:54pm
post #15 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

Exactly... and the polycarbonate Samsung utilizes is some of the better advanced composite currently available, as it's light-weight, durable, highly scratch and impact resistant and maintains its coloration throughout the entire substrate, which can never be said of devices manufactured from any type of metal alloy.

 

You do realize that polycarbonate is just another name for mid-grade plastic, right? It is nothing fancy. They make Lego blocks out of it too.

 

Do you have any links to support your claim that it a better, advanced, composite and not just a run of the mill thermoplastic. What is it composite with? Glass, Carbon fiber? Is it recyclable? Does it contain BPA?

 

I think Apple is on the right path with premium recyclable quality alloys. They look and feel like a precious object rather than a cheap disposable one.

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post #16 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHarry de View Post

Plastic is never a premium feeling. It's always the second cheaper choice to realize mass products without premium strategy. Plastic means: We want your maximum bunch of money but we don't give any high quality. We are just looking how to maximize our profit without a real interest in user experience.

Hey, if you ask somebody: Do you want the same product cheaper the answer is always: YES. Samsung says: We heard what our customers want. OK - cheap products. But pls don't tell us lies like: plastic is the coolest material for high end smartphones. 1oyvey.gif

How many premium made iPhones are in a cheap plastic case? Premium feeling out the window.
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post #17 of 132

Good feel with plastic!  No one can change you moronic SamScum!

post #18 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

What's the saying about polishing turds?

I guess you didn't see when mythbusters did just that. To a surprisingly high gloss to boot.
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post #19 of 132
Yeah like when did Samsung start caring about "beauty" and "premium feel"?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #20 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHarry de View Post

LOL - our first choice had been USB, Slots, batteries to change, ... No. Apple delivers all the material that is the best before the consumer knows it ;-)  Hehe

 

Plastic has the right properties to protect a phone (flexibility and impact absorption and distribution) at a reasonable price point. Aluminum lacks these properties and that is why polymers are used across the vast majority of industries (most probably all) for impact protection. Not going that far, the most luxurious cars in the market do not use any form of metal in their bumpers.

It is incredibly stupid to suggest that using Aluminum, or any other metal for that matter, makes sense in a practical way for impact protection. suggesting that brushed aluminum is 'best' is pretty ridiculous as well.

There is no reason to replace plastic, unless composites get significantly cheaper (not happening anytime soon). Perhaps Samsung should use a higher quality finish but not move away from using it.

What's next? Criticize automakers for not using brushed Aluminum bumpers?

post #21 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post

Good feel with plastic!  No one can change you moronic SamScum!

Had they gone with aluminum you would have been yelling "they copied!"
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post #22 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Why am I reading about how Samsung builds its phones on an Apple site?

So people can come here and say how great plastic, sorry, polycarbonate is, how Apple has used it in the past and how we'll all be singing its praises when Apple uses it on their cheap phone for China. 1biggrin.gif

post #23 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think Apple is on the right path with premium recyclable quality alloys. They look and feel like a precious object...

Which is why the Internet is awash with cheap rubber iPhone bumper cases.

 

<cough> Scuffgate

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post #24 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Lee said the next-gen Galaxy S IV is no exception, and will utilize plastic in the same fashion as previous products in the popular Android-based smartphone lineup.

"I think the next product has a nice balance between this," Lee said. "We listen to the market and try to accommodate."

Listen to what market? Are Android users demanding plastic cases?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

How many premium made iPhones are in a cheap plastic case? Premium feeling out the window.

The first iPhone was alloy with a plastic radio window. It was not perfect. There were RF issues with that design so they shifted to plastic because it was more radio transparent for all of the different signals the phone used. I don't think Apple was entirely satisfied with the look and feel of the plastic case which is why they transitioned glass and by putting the antennas on the outside of the case, they improved the reception even further. Glass on the back did make the phone a bit heavy and was not as impact resistant so they finally evolved to aluminum, which looks and feels terrific in my opinion. So, for Apple it was an evolution even though it created challenges in manufacturing, however for Samsung they are apparently satisfied with plastic as they continue to produce their phone cases in the same manner that they always have. It is cheaper and easier to manufacture so that is what you get from Samsung.

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post #25 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

You do realize that polycarbonate is just another name for mid-grade plastic, right? It is nothing fancy. They make Lego blocks out of it too.

I didn't know they ever used PC. Apparently, just the clear parts.
post #26 of 132
Quote:
Had they gone with aluminum you would have been yelling "they copied!"

 

Would you tell the same?

post #27 of 132

Striking a balance between practicality and premium looks, Samsung is rumored to release the Gal S, a plastic girlfriend that's better than your real one. The Gal S will be cheaper and sport a volume and mute button.

post #28 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by hentaiboy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think Apple is on the right path with premium recyclable quality alloys. They look and feel like a precious object...

Which is why the Internet is awash with cheap rubber iPhone bumper cases.

 

<cough> Scuffgate

I have had mine since day one. I bought a case but I didn't like the feel of it so I ditched it quickly. My iPhone 5 is still pristine. I think most people buy a case for their iPhone simply because they view it as a precious object that they want to protect from damage. I don't think all case users are worried so much about scratches but mostly about dropping it and damaging it in some severe way like breaking the glass.

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post #29 of 132
Of course it will be shitty, cheap plastic. Did anyone expect anything else? This is Samsung we're talking about. It's not like they're gonna invest in new materials or make a phone with top notch build quality. Can't wait for the video where they pretend they did a ton of research and were "inspired" by nature, etc.

I'm sure their designers pulled some all nighters to come up with that wallet icon too, I bet they were inspired by a square, leather, black pouch they saw lying around with some colorful, angled passes inside. Of course, it was pure coincidence that it looked exactly like the icon from another phone, clearly.
Edited by Slurpy - 3/5/13 at 3:31pm
post #30 of 132
I can understand the reasoning behind using polycarbonate and not aluminum or glass due to being able to swap batteries or insert an micro SD card but it does make it so much cheaper feeling in the hand. The iphone 5 and to a lesser extent, the nexus 4 feel much more premium feeling in the hand compared to the gs3 and note line.
post #31 of 132

You're absolutely right.  I've owned both and the Samsung build actually turns out to be more utilitarian, less damage prone and LIGHTER. :)
 

post #32 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hturt Seaker View Post

It is incredibly stupid to suggest that using Aluminum, or any other metal for that matter, makes sense in a practical way for impact protection. suggesting that brushed aluminum is 'best' is pretty ridiculous as well.

[...]

What's next? Criticize automakers for not using brushed Aluminum bumpers?

I actually liked the chrome steel bumpers of my old Tahoe but my new one uses high grade engineering plastics not cheap polycarbonates. The transition to plastic bumpers is due in large part to the 5mph no damage requirement. Even at 5mph the steel bumpers would scratch and dent.

 

If Samsung used high grade ABS for their phones I could see it as a deliberate choice to use the highest quality materials but they don't.

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post #33 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Listen to what market? Are Android users demanding plastic cases?

The market seems to demand a "premium feel." But the market also wants durability. They will likely use a better finish, but stick to plastic.


 

Quote:

Glass on the back did make the phone a bit heavy and was not as impact resistant so they finally evolved to aluminum, which looks and feels terrific in my opinion. So, for Apple it was an evolution even though it created challenges in manufacturing, however for Samsung they are apparently satisfied with plastic as they continue to produce their phone cases in the same manner that they always have. It is cheaper and easier to manufacture so that is what you get from Samsung.

 

1.- Aluminum is hardly an impact resistant material. Plastic is. Fact.

2.- Raw aluminum is pretty cheap as well. I remember getting quotes for 6061 AL ALY for $3.50 a pound. The casings are flat so they can be brushed on a belt machine rather quickly. Machining it would be the most expensive part of manufacturing it, but it is easy to mass produce. those aluminum cases are not as expensive as people like to think.

3.- Drop/scratch it enough to remove a bit of coating and aluminum will start a beautiful chemical process called corrosion.

post #34 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I actually liked the chrome steel bumpers of my old Tahoe but my new one uses high grade engineering plastics not cheap polycarbonates. The transition to plastic bumpers is due in large part to the 5mph no damage requirement. Even at 5mph the steel bumpers would scratch and dent.

 

If Samsung used high grade ABS for their phones I could see it as a deliberate choice to use the highest quality materials but they don't.

 

Regardless of regulations, the automotive industry was bound to move to plastics. They are lighter and better at impact absorption. In the aerospace industry, we started to use plastic bumpers that are painted to look like anodized aluminum in first class furniture. It is all in the quality of the finish.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

 

If Samsung used high grade ABS for their phones I could see it as a deliberate choice to use the highest quality materials but they don't.

Why would they? The plastic they use gets the job done. And its competitors are not using "the highest quality materials" either. Brushed aluminum is NOT "the highest quality material." It is not and never will. Yes, it looks nice, but that's about it.

post #35 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hturt Seaker View Post

The market seems to demand a "premium feel." But the market also wants durability. They will likely use a better finish, but stick to plastic.

 

 


Why bother? The premium Android phones are often discarded after a year or less* either for the next Android sensation or due to system failure of some sort, where as the iPhones are handed down, updated iOS and resold for years. iPhones have a long life expectancy, Androids, not so much.
 
* from my personal observations of friends' experiences with Android phones

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post #36 of 132

Further proof of where Samsung's priorities are, vs. Apple's.

 

(hint: Apple actually gives a shit about the quality and design of what they put their logo on.)

post #37 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Why bother? The premium Android phones are often discarded after a year or less* either for the next Android sensation or due to system failure of some sort, where as the iPhones are handed down, updated iOS and resold for years. iPhones have a long life expectancy, Androids, not so much.
 
* from my personal observations of friends' experiences with Android phones

 

 

 

Anecdotal evidence logical fallacy.

post #38 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hturt Seaker View Post

we started to use plastic bumpers that are painted to look like anodized aluminum in first class furniture. 

Plastic in automotive makes sense as does plastic in a cell phone. But plastic is plastic.

 

I think Apple uses aluminum because it is light weight, looks great and is recyclable. Plastic is more durable but so are plastic plates and utensils. That doesn't mean there is no reason to have fine China and silverware. iPhones fall into the latter category in terms of quality. If I planned on dropping my phone, I would probably use a ruggedized model of some sort but I don't plan on dropping it. I am very careful with it, just like I don't put the fine China in the dishwasher.

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post #39 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Further proof of where Samsung's priorities are, vs. Apple's.

 

(hint: Apple actually gives a shit about the quality and design of what they put their logo on.)


That's why Apple uses composites instead of oxidation prone aluminum. Wait....

post #40 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hturt Seaker View Post

 

Anecdotal evidence logical fallacy.

So you are saying that Android phones are handed down, updated OS, and resold for years.

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