Samsung Electronic’s head of mobile design, Chang Dong-hoon, has resigned following criticism about the Galaxy S5 smartphone’s lack of pulchritude.
Though the Galaxy S5’s design did not actually deviate too far from earlier models, its looks and textured plastic back were roundly lambasted by reviewers.
“I think I audibly let out a sound that was something along the lines of ‘aaaahuughhhh’ upon seeing the shimmering dimpled gold back of the Galaxy S5,” wrote Derek Kessler at Android Central, summing up many reviewers’ reaction to the device’s appearance.
Other Samsung smartphones have also been described as ugly. For example, some users felt that the Galaxy Note 3’s leather-textured plastic back was tacky. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S4’s glossy back looked and felt cheap, especially considering that it is one of Samsung’s pricier flagship models.
Despite their perceived lack of beauty, Samsung still managed to sell 86 million smartphones in 4Q2013, widening its lead over Apple. During that quarter, it also attained a 29.6% share of the global smartphone market, compared to Apple’s 17.6%.
But Samsung has been struggling to make a profit with its phones, thanks in part to heavy spending on marketing. In April, it also reduced the price of the Galaxy S5 in South Korea, the first time it has ever done so for a flagship phone.
Samsung said Chang will be replaced by Lee Min-hyouk, Samsung’s vice president for mobile design. Chang, who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, offered to leave the company last week, but will continue to oversee Samsung’s overall design strategy.
In a statement, Samsung said:
Vice President Min-hyouk Lee has recently been promoted to Head of Design Team within the Mobile Communications Business of Samsung Electronics. The realignment enables Executive Vice President Dong-hoon Chang to focus more on his role as Head of Design Strategy Team, the company’s corporate design center which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung Electronics’ businesses, including Mobile Communications.