Looking back, Samsung had a pretty rough 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic made things difficult for pretty much everyone, but Samsung watched as its two star products — the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines — saw dismal sales. Meanwhile, its foldable phones were selling better, but the disaster of the original Galaxy Fold was still fresh in our thoughts.
Unfortunately, the Note line is probably no more. Samsung’s first foray into Wear OS watches has been somewhat unimpressive and the company is still trailing behind Apple in the tablet market.
What can Samsung do to make 2022 even better than 2021? We have some thoughts on exactly that below!
1. Do the Note line proud
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Samsung hasn’t come out and directly said so, but all evidence suggests the Note line is done. The company did not release any Note devices in 2021, and rumors say there’s no Note on the docket for 2022, either.
Further reading: The Galaxy Note line is clearly done, and I’m OK with it
Instead, there’s a sizable amount of evidence the Galaxy S22 Ultra will take up the Note aesthetic in everything but name. The S22 Ultra looks like a Note, has an S Pen slot, and appears to be more of an evolution of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra than the Galaxy S21 Ultra. In essence, it’s likely the next Note even if it won’t be labeled as such.
The Note line is legendary amongst long-time Android fans, many of whom visit our site often. While most are sad the series is probably coming to a close, hopes appear to be high that Samsung will do it proud under the Galaxy S banner. We hope the company can pull this off, as eliminating the line altogether is a huge sting. If Samsung also tarnishes the legacy by somehow mucking up the Galaxy S22 Ultra, it could lose a lot of its core audience.
There’s also the problem of people who really like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Those folks might not appreciate the Note-like redesign of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which could cause some friction. Samsung has to play this delicately from all sides, and we hope it’s up to the task.
2. Push the Android tablet market forward
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Samsung makes the best Android tablets, hands down. It helps that it’s one of only a few notable companies that actually makes Android tablets, but that’s beside the point. The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, for example, was the best Android tablet you could get in 2021 — and it came out in 2020!
The problem, though, is that Samsung seems to think making its tablets as powerful as an iPad is all it needs to succeed. In the world of tablets, hardware is only half of what matters. Software is the missing component, and Samsung just isn’t doing enough to bridge the gap between Android and iPadOS in this regard.
Great tablet hardware doesn’t mean much if the software doesn’t work well for tablets.
We’ve talked about this problem before. iPadOS offers so much more for the tablet user and gets better and better each year. Meanwhile, Android tablets still feel like big phones.
If Samsung really wants to make Android tablets a thing, it needs to address these software concerns. Obviously, it would be wonderful if Google helped out with this. While Android 12L seems promising, it also seems like too little too late. A potential solution could be Samsung and Google working together, just like they did for Wear OS. Samsung could also leverage its money and size to push developers to make more tablet-centric versions of their productivity-focused apps. Samsung is a huge company with a ton of weight behind it. Why isn’t it using that weight to make its products better and more competitive? Let’s hope we see some changes on this front in 2022.
3. Keep the ads off our flagships
Luke Pollack / Android Authority
In October 2021, Samsung fans found something missing from many of the apps on their phones: advertisements. The Samsung-branded weather app, Health app, and a few others suddenly lacked banner ads, which was certainly nice.
Samsung had promised it would start cutting down on the ads within its applications, so this wasn’t wholly unexpected. Since then, though, there have been fewer ads seen on Samsung phones than earlier in the year, which is terrific no matter how you slice it.
Related reading: Is selling your privacy for a cheaper phone really a good idea?
Of course, the very idea that any ads would appear on a $1,800 smartphone such as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is just laughable. Likewise for a $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra, or even a $1,000 Galaxy S21 Plus. Really, what Samsung started doing in 2021 was just long overdue.
Granted, advertisements appearing on lower-end phones are more forgivable. Those phones need to stay cheap, and user data can help do that. This is basically Xiaomi’s entire business model, after all. But flagships? No. Samsung needs to continue the trend it started in 2021 and make sure no system ads appear on any of its premium flagships in 2022.
4. Treat wearables just like phones
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
One of the more surprising announcements of 2021 was the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Unlike previous watches from Samsung over the past few years, it comes with Google’s Wear OS on board rather than Samsung’s own Tizen.
On paper, this was great news. Wear OS has a lot going for it, but Google just doesn’t give it enough attention. Samsung’s work ethic when it comes to software, mixed with its ability to craft stellar hardware, was just what the doctor ordered.
Required reading: What you need to know about Google’s Wear OS
Unfortunately, things haven’t been as good as we hoped. Neither Samsung nor Google will commit to a solid update schedule for the watch, for example. Google Assistant still isn’t available on the Galaxy Watch 4 either, despite launching months ago.
Frankly, if the Galaxy Watch 4 was a smartphone, these problems wouldn’t be there. The Samsung of 2021 would never have launched a phone without an update promise and certainly would have waited to launch it if it didn’t have an integral feature present on all other Wear OS-based wearables. This can’t continue. If Samsung wants to knock Apple down a peg in the wearables market, it needs to treat the Galaxy Watch line just like it would a Galaxy S or Galaxy Z phone.
5. Seamless updates
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
I’ve saved the best for last. Frankly, the fact that I need to request Samsung support seamless updates as we enter into 2022 is just ridiculous. It’s been over five years, Samsung!
If you’re not aware, Galaxy phones must be completely shut down during an operating system update or upgrade. With pretty much every other phone on the market, the update gets downloaded in the background so you can continue using the phone. The installation also happens in the background, with only a quick reboot needed at the end of the process.
See also: Everything you need to know about One UI
For whatever reason, Samsung thinks it’s totally fine to force users to not use their phones for the installation procedure. Depending on the size of the update, this could take 10 minutes or more. This gets doubly ridiculous if it happens on your $1,800 foldable.
I understand that fixing this would likely involve some incredibly difficult rewrite of the fundamental code of One UI. That’s the only explanation I can think of for why Samsung hasn’t made this change yet. Regardless, 2022 is as good a time as any to right this wrong.
You tell us: What do you want to see from Samsung in 2022?
We’ve told you why we think these five things are very important for Samsung in 2022. Which of them do you think is most important? Answer our poll below and we’ll see which request is the most popular for our readers.
What do you want to see from Samsung in 2022?
Do the Note line proud
Better tablet software
No ads on flagships
More focus on wearables
Did we miss something? What do you hope to see most from Samsung in 2022 besides the five things listed here? Let us know in the comments!