Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be the phone of 2016. Up until units started catching fire, it was far and away the best Android device we’d ever used. No other handset combined design, software, and features into such an elegant, high-end package. It was the closest thing to perfection yet.
But it was too good to be true.
After being rushed to production, the Note 7 has gone out in a blaze of disappointment, with millions of units ready to be disposed of in same far, forgotten corner of the world. Instead of being our smartphone of the year, it’s one of the industry’s biggest letdowns. Suddenly, Samsung’s next move, whether it be the Galaxy S8 or something else, is more important than ever.
Until that device hits—maybe next February—Samsung has the older S7 and S7 Edge, two fantastic devices, to fend off the iPhone 7, Google Pixel, LG V20, Moto Z, and the myriad other options currently on the market. While Apple stands to reap the most from Samsung’s failure, Google and LG could also benefit if they play their cards right.
Ahead of the Pixel event, advertising for Google’s then mysterious phone was everywhere, from billboards to statues. In other words, Google was making its intentions crystal clear: watch out, competitors, the Google Pixel is in town.
With the Note 7 no longer in the conversation, Google’s task of competing with the largest Android manufacturer is made considerably easier. And if Google can properly educate consumers about the Pixel’s advantages, it just might stand a chance.
There’s no question the Note 7’s hardware is superior to the Pixel’s bland design. But Google’s software, from Assistant to unlimited Photos backup, makes for a potent weapon against Samsung’s charred S Pen. That might be more tantalizing to non-geeks than a slightly curved display and an iris scanner.
If it’s not Google’s Pixel, LG’s V20 is another high-profile contender that could benefit from the Note 7’s absence. The V10 was quietly one of last year’s best devices and LG has made several improvements with this year’s release. It’s also one of the first devices to run Android 7.0 Nougat.
When we released our “Time to KILL the Note 7” video from the other day, we saw a lot of comments about the V20 and how it’s a great alternative. We couldn’t agree more. With a beautiful aluminum design, secondary display, and microSD support, the V20 is a fantastic smartphone that more people need to experience. It certainly has the potential to attract a loyal following and is worthy of a look considering how great last year’s V10 was.
It’s unclear how badly Samsung will be affected by the Note 7’s failure. There’s always a chance the several million people who bought the device before the recall will opt for another Samsung device, of which there are many. The Galaxy S7 Edge is essentially the same phone, give or take a few features, while the Note 5 is still fantastic.
Samsung has been a dominant, unstoppable force in the Android market over the past few years. But the bigger they are, the harder they fall. With no “current” flagship on the market and its reputation in the gutter (for now), it’s time for a competitor to scale the mountain and challenge Samsung for the Android crown.
Which device, if any, do you guys think will pick up the slack over the holiday season?