Samsung’s decision to slash the number of smartphone models it makes by between 25 and 30% is no surprise.
The company is in an exceedingly tight spot, having seen profits in its mobile division drop by almost three quarters in the third quarter of the year.
Sales are down and consumers are looking elsewhere, both for higher end phones in developed markets and budget handsets in developing territories.
Frankly, this move needed to happen a long time ago.
Samsung was riding so high thanks to record sales and profits that it failed to see the sheer array of products it was producing served only to confuse consumers and cause them to look elsewhere.
The number of phones is almost impossible to recall.
There were Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Zoom, Galaxy Edge and Galaxy Mega offshoots, with each one then broken down into various screen sizes and shapes.
As an effort to swat aside then top dog Nokia as the world’s biggest mobile maker, it was impressive, but foolhardy.
As Nokia could have told Samsung, trying to be all things to all people simply doesn’t work.
So now Samsung says it’s going to make sure components in its low and mid–range phones are shared more widely.
It’s already said to be working on a new, simplified smartphone brand for next year, perhaps even ditching the Galaxy S name for good.
It has served it well for five years, but surely now is the time for a change.
Its new Galaxy A phones suggest more of what we can expect: slimline metal design, sharp looks and solid specs.
But is it all too late? At the moment it’s hard to tell, but it’s fair to say that Samsung is being hammered from all sides.
There have been a string of better top end Android phones released in 2014, from HTC, Sony and LG among others.
Then there’s the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Samsung can mock Apple for copying its larger screens all it wants.
With projected sales of 60 million by the end of the year and over half of all mobile revenue share, Apple is still hitting it where it hurts.
In the low end, China’s Xiaomi and cheap Android One phones from Google in India are not helping matters.
Releasing countless phones laden with bloatware has backfired spectacularly and left Samsung having to play catch up in the countries where it needs success the most.
2015 will be a telling year for Samsung. It seems to finally be acting after years of inertia, but the question is whether it’s too late.
Has it done a BlackBerry or a Nokia? Or will it be able to use its impressive brand awareness to fight back with a better range?
It’s too early to say, but the struggle starts now.