To say that it was a letdown is an understatement. With Samsung's profit tanking, thanks to sluggish sales of their flagship Galaxy line, most everyone would have thought the giant would come out swinging with some massive mobile tech.
The closest thing we got at CES 2015 was a glimpse of Samsung's throwback to Iron Man 2 and Tony Stark's completely clear mobile phone. This phone was "for Avengers use only" — which was a cute way of saying "We're not producing this device."
Outside of that, the only smartphone to be seen at the Samsung booth was the already released A5. Instead, Samsung decided to hedge much of its bets on televisions, which they did to excess (and quite well).
But Samsung's lack of a true mobile presence at CES 2015 should be a concern for the company that, at one time, led the smartphone industry. Why? Take, for instance, the Saygus V2 — an Android phone that offers a 5-inch screen, full HD resolution, and 320 GB of storage space. Oh, and let's not forget the 3 GB of RAM and the 21 MP camera. It also includes Harman Kardon-enhanced sound and is provision for root.
But let's not get carried away. Or maybe we should. There was also:
- BLU Products revealing user-friendly priced, unlocked Android phones
- Lenovo's dual-SIM capable Vibe X2 Pro phone
- LG's G Flex 2 (huge battery, Android Lollipop, and a curved screen)
- ASUS revealing a beast of a phone in the Zenphone
- The Briggs and Spriggs 7-inch display Boss phone
- Kodak's first foray into the Android smartphone market
And all Samsung could do was show off a device they'd already released.
This might well be the year that either makes or breaks Samsung as a presence in the world of smartphone technology. Since CES is the platform for which to release and reveal what companies have in store for the future of technology, 2015 is going to be a long, slow year for Samsung.
CES should have been the place where Samsung unveiled the one device that would herald a new day for the giant — a smartphone that would rekindle the love affair that slowly faded with the S4 and S5. Samsung could have re-invented that line with a new design, better specs, and some killer features. Instead, it found itself overshadowed in the smartphone arena by companies that had previously struggled in the smartphone market or no one had heard of.
Am I ready to pronounce Samsung dead in the smartphone water? No. Not yet. Here's what I believe. Samsung played it very, very, very safe at CES. They knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the television market was their best bet. So, they unveil some remarkable tech in that arena to remind every attendee of just what they are capable of pulling off. Then, later in the year, they'll rebrand the Galaxy line.
My only question is this: Is it too late? The giant has stumbled far longer than the tech-centric public allows. With so many amazing devices being released, there will be a point at which the Galaxy line is no longer relevant. CES 2015 proved that just about anyone can bring out an Android smartphone and turn heads. Couple that with the rise of OnePlus One and other newcomers, and Samsung will very soon be faced with an uphill slope they might not be able to climb.
What do you think? Was Samsung's vanishing game at CES 2015 a death knell — or can Samsung rise from the ashes and climb to the top of the Android heap? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.