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Former boss of Tangerine will shape Samsung's design future

Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae, who previosuly held the position of President at UK-based Tangerine, the design firm started by Apple's Jony Ive.

Published onJanuary 16, 2015

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Correction: Jonathan Ive was an early employee, not a co-founder of Tangerine.

Original post:

There is arguably no consumer electronics company in the world that releases as many smartphone and tablet variants as Samsung does per year. Tune out for a bit and you’re liable to miss one, or an entire series for that matter. The company is trying to shape things up in 2015 after a period of poor fiscal returns, and taken an affinity towards metal. Still, one might be hard pressed to find anyone who drools over a Samsung device like some do over an HTCphone, or Apple anything. Samsung knows this, and thus things are about to change.

In a move that can only be taken as a hard-line stance against stale concepts, Korea JoongAng Daily is reporting that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae, a “design entrepreneur”, as team leader of the Global Design department. Don-tae is a Professor at Hongik University’s Department of Industrial Design, but, perhaps more interestingly to the tech-crowd, was also President of London-based design firm Tangerine, a position he earned after just seven years working there. Of no small trivial matter is the fact that a certain Jony Ivy was one of the first employees of the nectarine-named studio prior to being recruited by another fruit company.

Only time will tell if even this newest of Samsung design’s is to be replaced by something entirely new and possibly award-winning

While Lee has actually been working at Samsung since the start of the new year, the news itself indicates the company may be trying to build up some hype before the presumed launch of the Galaxy S6 and new Gear watch (rumored to have a round display) that may take place at MWC this March. Still, given that he’s only just joined the company, it would be highly unlikely he could have an influence on the S6 should it be announced in the near future: work inevitably began some time ago, and any kind of new frame or shape would be subject to possible manufacturing issues, not unlike those rumored to be occurring for the Galaxy A3 and A5.

Still, at the very least, the idea of a new Samsung device with a fresh design would definitely go a long way in making sure the company can attract new customers in the future. Then again, how much can be done with a slab? We shall just have to see.

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