We recently did some analysis for the Embedded Vision Alliance looking at consumer adoption vision technologies in consumer electronics. If you’re curious, you can see the slides here. The shocking result was how little of the Galaxy S4 customers even mention the eye-tracking features. The graph below shows the volume of eye-tracking mentions compared to the overall mentions. Previously we’ve commented on the S4’s poor launch into the market but this may shed some light as to why that’s was the case.
Samsung’s biggest push in the marketing was the ability of the Galaxy S4 to do cool things by tracking your eyes. It was featured in all their commercials and was the backbone of their “next big thing is already here” campaign refresh. Turns out it wasn’t that important to consumers. Less than 5% even mentioned what Samsung considered to be the most important feature of the Galaxy. Let’s put a fine point on that. Samsung spent millions of dollars telling the world about these vision based interface features and it only resonated enough with 5% of their customers to even mention it?
Here’s the kicker, of that 5%, over 60% did not like the feature. They found it “twitchy” or “erratic”. One particularly passionate consumer even called it “fake.” The other theme that arose from the naysayers was the impact these features had on battery life, causing their S4 to lose joules faster than Coca Cola’s share price evaporating.
To be fair, those that loved these features, really loved them and found Samsung’s brand promise of a “Life Companion” rings true. But that was for just 2% of all consumers that bothered to review the product.
This could be the reason the S4 was slow the launch. The features that Samsung pushed in an effort to drive demand literally no one wanted. When you strip the vision features from the S4, it looks a lot like the S3 (which is still doing brisk sales by the way). Like selling solar powered heaters in the Sahara, Samsung staked their flagship launch on what the market did not want. Pushing features over experience will do that to you. While the Galaxy S4 seems to be recovering now, its not that more consumers are discussing Smart Pause. Consumers cite the screen size, application responsiveness, anything but the vision based features, as reasons for purchase. LG just released a firmware update to enable the same feature set on the LG Optimus G Pro and so far no one has even mentioned it. The market is not yet ready, partly for performance issues, partly for not finding compelling needs that these features solve for. Maybe the S5…