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Memo could sink Samsung’s case against Apple

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The second week of the Apple vs. Samsung case began with a bang yesterday, courtesy of a 2010 memo written by Samsung’s own president of mobile electronics. In it, J.K. Shin repeatedly calls for a drastic improvement to the design of the company’s phones — and he repeatedly points out the iPhone as the standard to be met.

Early in the memo, Shin relates a scene he says he experienced again and again with carriers who have spent their subsidy budget on buying Apple’s handset: “I hear things like this: Let’s make something like the iPhone. When everybody (both consumers and the industry) talk about UX, they weigh it against the iPhone. The iPhone has become the standard. That’s how things are already.”

'When it comes to the ease of use of our [phones vs. Apple's], I lack confidence.'

- J.K. Shin, Samsung’s president of mobile electronics

“Do you know how difficult the Omnia is to use? When you compare the 2007 version of the iPhone with our current Omnia, can you honestly say the Omnia is better? If you compare the UX with the iPhone, it’s a difference between Heaven and Earth.”

It’s easy to see why Samsung didn’t want this note released as evidence.

Later on, Shin moves on to the interface specifically. He’s fine with the external design of Samsung’s phones, he says, “but when it comes to the ease of use of our (user interface), I lack such confidence.

“Influential figures outside the company come across the iPhone, and they point out that “Samsung is dozing off. All this time we’ve been paying all our attention to Nokia, and concentrated our efforts on things like Folder, Bar, Slide. Yet when our UX is compared to the unexpected competitor Apple’s iPhone, the difference is truly that of Heaven and Earth. It’s a crisis of design.”

In the wake of the iPhone, Shin says, the company needs to cater less to the whims of carriers and create phones with more natural interfaces and metallic exteriors rather than plastic ones. “The iPhone’s emergence means the time we have to change our methods has arrived.”

AllThingsD has a transcript of the complete memo.

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