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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 144
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


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

  • Reply 2 of 144
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Why am I reading about how Samsung builds its phones on an Apple site?
  • Reply 3 of 144
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    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.

  • Reply 4 of 144
    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. :no:
  • Reply 5 of 144
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    LOL!

    Plus Apple bought all of the material that was our first choice...
  • Reply 6 of 144


    Ah, kind of plastic. Yepp.

  • Reply 7 of 144


    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

  • Reply 8 of 144
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 144
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,160member


    'Manufacturability' and 'premium feel'?


     


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

  • Reply 10 of 144
    allenbfallenbf Posts: 993member


    What's the saying about polishing turds?

  • Reply 11 of 144


    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. 

  • Reply 12 of 144
    zurizuri Posts: 3member
    How about giving our good earth a break ... with so much plastic, looks to me its a step backwards.
  • Reply 13 of 144
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    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. :no:

    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.

    daharder wrote: »

    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.
  • Reply 14 of 144
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 144
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    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. :no:

    How many premium made iPhones are in a cheap plastic case? Premium feeling out the window.
  • Reply 16 of 144
    chandra69chandra69 Posts: 638member


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

  • Reply 17 of 144
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    allenbf wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 144
    Yeah like when did Samsung start caring about "beauty" and "premium feel"?
  • Reply 19 of 144

    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?

  • Reply 20 of 144
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    chandra69 wrote: »
    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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