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Galaxy Flip 3 and the responsibility of the innovator

Thoughts Aug 27, 2022

Being an early adopter is defined easily in the tech world: you love being introduced to new tech and you are willing to endure the pitfalls of such behavior such as higher price and maybe defective/buggy functionality.

This is from the point of view of the customer. But my question is what are the responsibilities of the "innovator" (or the one providing the "early technology")? Of course, some level of instability and bugginess is expected from every kind of new technology.

What happens when this malfunction becomes obvious though? Is the innovator free of responsibilities since the early adopter opted-in to try the new technology? Or should the innovator bear the responsibility of doing whatever is possible to fix such issues?

What I have in mind is the Samsung Galaxy Flip 3 and their curved screen devices in general. It is a new and exciting technology. It's going to need some time until this technology is mature enough and Samsung has already done some impressive progress with these devices.

One of the issues is that the built-in screen protector starts failing after 6 to 12 months. And as I have said before these kinds of failures are kind of expected in products bearing new technology. And an early adopter/customer buying such a device should expect some kinds of failures and inconvenience.

Here comes the dilemma of the responsibility of the innovator. What should Samsung do in this casTheseese screen protectors are problematic since they start to peel off and air bubbles are appearing around the crease area? Should they replace them for free under warranty or just charge as they would do with a regular product?

In my opinion, the innovator bears the responsibility of doing whatever is possible to make the life of early adopters easier when possible. The feedback the innovator gets will be translated into future profits. In addition, the early adopters are the ambassadors and promoters of such new technology and they should have the best experience possible if the technology will succeed in reaching more segments of the market.

Seeking short-term gains by avoiding fixing issues that arise from new technology will backfire in the long term. Samsungs, in most countries, is refusing to replace these malfunctioning screen protectors under warranty. This leads to a swarm of unhappy customers that swear never to buy Samsung products again and spread this in their social circle.

I don't claim to always be correct but I strongly believe that in such cases, and with such big and rich companies, the approach in this situation is to make the customer happy no matter what. If this is bearing the cost of many screen protector replacements, then so be it. In a similar scenario, when Apple's butterfly keyboard turned out to be problematic, Apple committed to fixing these issues inside and outside the warranty period. Samsung should do the same and long-term those expenses will be returned in multiples when the new technology takes off and reaches the masses.


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