Ahead of the Galaxy S5 launch, there were multiple rumours circulating the internet suggesting Samsung was about to make a step-change in the way it designed its flagship smartphones.

For years the company has been seen as producing plastic-feeling phones which lacked the premium feel of Apple's iPhone or more recently HTC's One range.

But in February the company duly unveiled the Galaxy S5 which continued to use lightweight plastic materials and uninspiring design, and just over two months after launch the person ultimately responsible for the phone's overall design has been removed from his position.

Writing on the wall

Chang Dong-hoon, head of Samsung's mobile design team, clearly saw the writing on the wall and last week offered to resign. Today Samsung confirmed he has left his role as head of mobile phone design, adding that he will be replaced by Lee Min-hyouk, vice president for mobile design.

In a statement to Reuters, the company said: "The realignment will enable Chang to focus more on his role as head of the Design Strategy Team, the company's corporate design centre which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung's businesses, including Mobile Communications."

Lee - who has the nickname Midas within the company - is the man who is seen as largely responsible for the runaway success of Samsung's Galaxy smartphone range, which includes dozens of different smartphones ranging from budget devices to the flagship S series.

Chang who is a former professor who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, won't be leaving Samsung entirely, and will still head up the company's design centre, overseeing the overall design strategy.


The success of the Galaxy range of phones has seen Samsung catapult itself to the top of the smartphone market, becoming the dominant player in the last couple of year, now selling twice as many smartphones as Apple.

Yet despite this success Samsung's smartphones are seen as somewhat of a downmarket version of the iPhone.

The Galaxy S5 was launched in a blaze of glory at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February but reviewers took against its lack of originality, seeing it as an iteration of last year's Galaxy S4 - which was seen as somewhat of a disappointment for the company.

It is unclear if this change at the top will see a radical change in approach to design at the company, but Samsung will be wary that despite its huge success, the smartphone market is one of the most competitive in the world and it will need to continue to evolve if it wants to retains its place at the head of the table.