Flashback Fables – Five Years of Samsung’s Project Zero


Founded in 1938, Samsung is a pride of South Korea. Okay, cool, don’t worry, I’m not going to write a paragraph now about their history. Let’s fast forward this to the 2010 zone.

In 2007, the alpha iPhone was introduced and it changed everything forever. Before that, Nokia ruled the world. Samsung, at times, played second fiddle to Nokia and had some very good mobile phones which used to cost less than Nokia but never could take the actual limelight. Fast forward to the year 2010, Samsung debuted it’s Galaxy S flagship lineup. Galaxy S became immensely popular within a short span of time and quickly became an ideal Android alternative to the iOS boasting iPhone. However, even though Samsung was rising up the charts and giving Apple a run for their money, they were gradually getting stiff competition from other Android companies.
In 2014, even though the flagship Samsung Galaxy S5 sold many units, it came under a lot of criticism. And 2014 was a time when the world saw the global takeover of a cluster of Chinese companies including Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Gionee, Oneplus and Meizu. HTC was also a hit with its legendary M8. LG wowed everyone with their G3 which was a masterclass. So people weren’t suddenly talking about Samsung anymore. Samsung stopped trending. And rightfully so. They were criticized by the critics and reviewers. Because the tech world at that time had evolved to such a stage that every moment needed an update. And Samsung looked like they were too slow to match up with the global dynamic flow. And they were literally slow.

The Galaxy S5 from 2014 was a good phone that packed the highest configurations. Samsung had all the ingredients. They just didn’t know how to cook it. And decorate it. Samsung overflowed everything in its Galaxy S5. It was like an overcooked “Biriyani”. It was useful of course – it had waterproofing, a fingerprint scanner, and a removable battery – which most other flagships didn’t have at that time. They had everything covered it seemed. But there was wrong in the heart of the phone itself. That is, the software. The overblown over-bloated 32-bit software was slower than many Android phones.
It is to be noted that Google launched it’s Nexus lineup few years prior to that and it was very popular and successful in making phones with the sole purpose of being the opposite of what Samsung was doing with its software. Many other manufacturers followed the Google way in 2014 with Oneplus debuting worldwide with their legendary flagship killer Oneplus One. All these phones became immensely popular with fast and snappy youth. So Samsung was losing its feet on the software front. They were very slow and grandpa-ish compared to the other smartphone giants.

But was it the only front where Samsung was losing? Nope. They were losing on the design front as well. Their phones were plastic and looked like a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. They weren’t the gorgeous phones in the market at all, actually far from it.

They lost it in the camera department as well. Though their phone had a decent enough 16-megapixel camera, it came nowhere near to the 8-megapixel camera of the iPhone 6 or even the LG G3 which introduced us to the OIS – Optical Image Stabilization.

And about the display, they didn’t have the best display either with LG and Oppo showing the world the magic of Quad HD Displays.

So, to sum it all up, even though Samsung sold truckload units of the flagship S5 on 2014, it was a bad year for them. It hit their ego. They were called ugly and slow. It made them angry. And to such an extent that they decided to reshuffle the whole thing. That is when PROJECT ZERO came in.

Samsung’s Project Zero was the company’s name for its next major project, the Galaxy S6, according to sources of popular website Sam Mobile at that time.

Samsung needed to look like a gym-hitting athlete in his 20s again from a 70-year-old retired grandpa. They wanted to start everything up again from scratch. A new era started for Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy S6 came in. Samsung’s first beautiful classy and snappy phone. Samsung’s first metal-bodied Galaxy smartphone. Samsung’s first-ever Quad HD display phone. A refreshed TouchWiz user interface that swept out all the dirt.

There was another interesting thing that won it all for Samsung, at least among the Android phones. And that was its choice of chipset selection. They went for their homegrown Exynos chipset instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset which contributed to a dark year for many companies such as HTC and LG as it reportedly overheated their phones and had throttling issues.

Galaxy S6 still couldn’t match its counterpart iPhone 6s but it was a new dawn for them in all senses. And by far the best Android phone of 2015. 

“Like a phoenix, Samsung rose from the flames of the S5 to deliver a stunning phone with the S6.” – the words from popular tech website Tech Radar summed things up.

Wordsmith: Subhani Alfi


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