Last week, Samsung held a small press event in New York City to brief members of the media on its two latest smartphones, the Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge, ahead of today's official device launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Samsung sent a number of product marketing and PR representatives to discuss the latest features and answer questions as journalists experimented with the two sleek new gadgets. However, it was Hong Yeo, senior designer with Samsung's Mobile Electronics Communications division, who provided perhaps the best insight on the new Galaxy S6 devices.
Yeo called the Galaxy S 6 initiative "the most exciting design project" he and his team have ever worked on and explained that the group's goal with the Galaxy S 6 devices was to "represent Samsung as not only a technological leader, but as a design leader."
For years, Samsung has been accused of copying the iPhone with its Galaxy S form factors, so all eyes are on Samsung's design team whenever a new Galaxy S device is released.
As such, the designer also broke the ice at the New York media event with a bit of levity. "I know it's not every day that you hear the words 'exciting design project' from an actual Samsung designer," Yeo said, possibly playing off of the market perception that Samsung's last Galaxy S device was somewhat uninspired, at least from a design perspective — or worse, that it was inspired by the iPhone.
"This really is a sign of things to change, and the Galaxy S 6 is just the beginning."
Darkness and Light, Warm and Cold, Metal and Glass
Within Samsung, the Galaxy S 6 initiative was dubbed "Project Zero," according to Yeo, who says he and his team were given carte blanche to create the company's next flagship smartphone.
"We were given the freedom to design our dream phone, and we were free to use any materials that we liked, as long as they met with our performance and our production standards," Yeo says.
Modern mobile phones just keep getting smaller and more compact, and this trend presents a unique challenge for designers, according to Yeo.
"One of the big challenges of being a mobile phone designer these days is the devices are getting thinner and thinner by the year," Yeo says. "If you take the traditional industrial design approach to it, you inevitably end up with a device that's very cold and very industrial."
With this in mind, Yeo says he set out to create a thin, light phone that's also welcoming and warm, colorful and bright.
"One of the key highlights of the Galaxy S 6 is the use of glass and metal," Yeo says. "It's not just any glass that we use, it's beautifully crafted, and we added a reflective structure underneath that glass that really captures the light movement."
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