The Korea Herald


Samsung Electronics Galaxy smartphones embroiled in ‘GOS’ scandal

By Kim Byung-wook

Published : March 7, 2022 - 14:44

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Roh Tae-moon, chief of Samsung Electronics mobile business (Samsung Electronics) Roh Tae-moon, chief of Samsung Electronics mobile business (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics is facing accusations that it exaggerated the performance of its flagship smartphone Galaxy S22 series.

The controversy revolves around an application called game optimizing service, or “GOS.” When users play games with Galaxy S22 smartphones, GOS is activated and adjusts the performance of smartphones to help batteries last longer and prevent overheating issues.

Gamers have complained about GOS for some time because the app, which cannot be switched off by the user, significantly limits the smartphone’s performance.

As it turned out, however, Samsung Electronics has been turning on GOS for other heavy-resource apps as well, without telling users. Infuriated users are crying foul, arguing that Samsung Electronics falsely advertised the performance of the Galaxy S22 series.

Samsung Electronics is feeling the heat over the GOS scandal. Last week, Geekbench -- a global platform that measures and compares smartphone performance -- discovered that Samsung Electronics had deliberately restricted the performance of 10,000 popular apps and removed all Galaxy S22, S21, S20, and S10 devices from its website.

On Friday, users filed an online petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website, arguing that Samsung Electronics had failed to provide users with accurate information.

“When GOS is activated, the performance (of the Galaxy S22 series) becomes worse than that of 2020 models,” the petitioner claimed. “This is a false advertisement and hiding this issue for a long time is an issue that should be addressed.” As of Monday 5 p.m., about 6,900 people had signed the petition.

Samsung Electronics could also face legal action. More than 3,300 users have joined an online community to prepare a lawsuit against the South Korean tech giant. The community is reportedly in talks with legal representatives.

Users are pointing fingers at Roh Tae-moon, chief of Samsung Electronics’ mobile division, as the person responsible for the GOS scandal.

For the Galaxy S22 series, Samsung Electronics took out a vital component in called a vapor chamber. This component helps release heat generated by chips inside smartphones. Users suspect that Roh replaced vapor chambers with the GOS app to cut costs in terms of hardware.

Despite users’ discontent over Samsung Electronics’ cost cutting, the company seems satisfied with Roh. Ahead of a shareholders meeting scheduled on March 16, Roh was recommended as a new board member on Sunday in recognition of his effort for maximizing profit by “cutting expenses.”

Betrayed and deceived by Samsung Electronics, some users are canceling their Galaxy S22 preorders to buy Apple’s iPhone instead, ready to ditch two key functions of Galaxy smartphones -- Samsung Pay and phone call recording.

Samsung Electronics has announced that it will conduct a software upgrade of the GOS, but it still denies that GOS has been utilized for apps other than games.