There are many reasons for Samsung’s (005930) recent success but one of the under-appreciated ones is their willingness to crank out new products at a rapid pace without fear of diluting their brand. In a lengthy profile of South Korea’s largest company, Businessweek contrasts Samsung’s gung-ho approach to releasing products with Apple (AAPL), which typically releases fewer products each year and prefers to enforce a certain uniformity of user experience across its product lines. Samsung, on the other hand, has made its name by cranking out smartphones and tablets of vastly different sizes, builds and prices aimed at appealing to as many different markets as possible.
“Nobody had any idea what the right screen size was, so Samsung made all of them and saw which one worked,” Enders Analysis researcher Benedict Evans tells Businessweek. “They’re not stopping to think. They’re just making more phones.”
If you want evidence of this, look no further than Samsung’s major product launches in 2012: The Galaxy Note II was an enormous “phablet” with a 5.5-inch display, the Galaxy S III had a 4.7-inch display and the Galaxy S III mini had a 4-inch display. In all three cases the display size on the device either matched or exceeded the display size on the iPhone 5. What’s more, the popularity of larger screens on Samsung devices has reportedly got Apple thinking about releasing a “phablet” of its own within the next year.
Samsung marketing chief DJ Lee tells Businessweek that his company early on decided that a one-size-fits-all approach to consumer gadgets wasn’t the right way to go and that the company would try everything it could think of to find just the right sizes and builds for its devices.
“When we released the Galaxy S III, our research showed that, for some people in some markets, the handset was too big,” says Lee. “So we were able to create the same phone with a 4-inch screen, and we called it the Galaxy S III mini.”