I’m a big basketball fan, I have loved the sport since I was a kid growing up in New York City rooting for Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. In the game of basketball, a team will inevitably have a bad season for whatever reason. That could be injuries, bad coaching, etc. But oftentimes there is a silver lining even in a bad year, where a young player will show promise or the star player on the team will play at a high level despite losing. When it comes to phone manufacturers, this seems to be an appropriate analogy for what we have seen in 2020. Objectively, 2020 was a terrible year for almost everyone. Yet in the phone space, Samsung has had quite the year, perhaps one of its best since it started making Android phones. And they have done so by staying with their plotted course and it seems to have paid some dividends in the result this year.
The Steady Excellence of the Galaxy S
The Galaxy S line was the one that got Samsung to be the relevant Android manufacturer that it is today. I often look back at the Galaxy S3 as the Samsung phone that got the masses to take notice of what the South Korean company was doing with phones. It is the device lineup that I think of whenever Samsung phones are mentioned. But in recent years, it seems that the Galaxy S line was getting stale and uninspired.
The peak of this lack of inspiration seemed to come from the Galaxy S8 and S9 feeling like the same phone sold twice by Samsung. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Note 8 and 9 were powerful devices that seemed to take the mantle away from the Galaxy S as the true Samsung torch bearer device. For a while, it seemed like the Galaxy S was just there, a device that was meant to fill in the release cycle void of the first quarter to reach customers that would not be willing to wait for the Note in the 4th quarter.
But this year felt different. Samsung announced its S20 range of devices (Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra) in February right before the COVID-19 pandemic caused mass shutdowns across the world. The reviews of these phones were exceptionally positive. Android Central called the S20 a “near-perfect, pocket-friendly…