updated 05:55 am EDT, Fri March 23, 2012
Samsung's Lee Min-hyuk speaks out
The lead designer of Samsung's massively successful Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets has revealed how he feels about allegations by Apple that the Korean company has 'slavishly' copied its designs. In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, Lee Min-hyuk, Samsung's 40-year old VP of Design for Samsung Mobile takes affront to Apple's claims arguing that his designs are fundamentally different.
'I've made thousands of sketches and hundreds of prototype products (for the Galaxy), said Lee. 'Does that mean I was putting on a mock show for so long, pretending to be designing?'
'As a designer, there's an issue of dignity. (The Galaxy) is original from the beginning, and I'm the one who made it. It's a totally different product with a different design language and different technology infused,' Lee argued.
Lee also revealed that he aspires to reach the heights of Apple design guru Sir Jonathon Ive. Although he admits he is not currently in Ive's league, his goal is to create and design a breakthrough product.
'I might not be at [Ive's] level yet, but I believe Samsung will produce such iconic products one day,' Lee posited. 'It's not just effort that makes it possible for a new product to be a massive hit. It also has to be timely, and technology should be ready to make a certain design a reality,' he continued.
However, while Samsung may not currently be recognised as a design and innovation leader in the highly competitive consumer electronics segment, that has not stopped Lee's designs from achieving massive success globally. Last year, for the first time, Samsung's Galaxy S II and related smartphones edged out Apple to take the unofficial title as the world's leading smartphone maker.
Samsung's success in the smartphone market has also led to the division becoming the company's biggest profit maker, delivering $7.4 billion in operating profits to its coffers. However, Lee is far from finished yet.
'As a designer, my job is to blend new functions and technology with aesthetic beauty, as far as possible,' Lee said.
'I'm confident that one day Samsung will make a product that defines our time, and I hope it's one of mine.'