Chang Dong-hoon, who headed Samsung's mobile design team, is being replaced by vice president of mobile design Lee Min-Hyuk, according to Reuters. He will however reportedly continue to lead Samsung's design center, which oversees the company's overall design strategy. While the Korean company has declined to comment on the change, some are attributing it to tepid responses to the Galaxy S5's design. In our own review, David Pierce described the phone as still cheap and creaky. "I wondered if HTC's gorgeous, metallic One would inspire or challenge Samsung to leave behind its cheap, plasticky ways and build a smartphone as beautiful as it is feature-rich," he said. "The Galaxy S5 is not that phone."
Will Lee take Samsung's design in a new direction?
The 42-year-old Lee Min-hyuk, who designed cars for Samsung's ill-fated Renault partnership in the 1990s, is known for his involvement with the Galaxy series, which was part of a massive patent war with Apple. "I've made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototype products (for the Galaxy). Does that mean I was putting on a mock show for so long, pretending to be designing?" Lee said in response to copycat accusations.
The basic design of Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and tablets have stagnated since the 2012 release of the Galaxy S3. Given Lee's involvement with the product line, it's uncertain if his leadership will precipitate any massive changes. However, we'll see in the coming months if Lee can take Samsung's mobile design in a new direction.