This week the web was hit with glorious images of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha. What makes the Galaxy Alpha different from all the other Galaxy Phones? With the release of the Galaxy Alpha, it marks the first time Samsung will offer a metal chassis on a Galaxy phone. This is something that Apple has already been offering on the iPhone for years. With Apple’s iPhone 6 already going after Samsung’s larger screen dominance, Samsung is going after Apple’s premium design. The Samsung Alpha will feature several color options that include clean looking white, black and silver. I also saw a blue one in there too.
Can changing over to a metal chassis turn Samsung’s year around? I think that this is going to be a tough sell unless these devices support a sub-premium price tag. Metal chassis are expensive to build in the high quantities that Samsung will need to churn out to make a profit. Samsung is already losing out in China to manufacturers who are able to undercut their lower end smart phone pricing.
Samsung is in a pickle now and I think that they have to choose wisely when selecting the target customer they are looking for. Apple does a good job of holding on iPhone customers. The few customers who were leaving were drawn in to android because manufacturers were creating larger screens that Apple didn’t offer just yet. Apple is reportedly releasing larger screen iPhone 6’s that should put an end to any exodus of iPhone customers that Samsung and the rest of the android device builders may hope for. Android is already the market leader in terms of pure numbers, so any iPhone converts won’t really do very much to help Samsung’s bottom line. The android manufacturers are fighting it out among themselves because they are going after larger pieces of the already large android pie. At this point Samsung is fighting to keep its large slice of android domination.
I think that Samsung is heading in the right direction with a more Moto or HTC-ish feeling phone design, but they have to make some difficult choices with the UI that they skin over android with. Samsung has some nice software features and decent design elements, but there is a movement towards clean and pure android installs. Customers don’t want to have to wait for new versions of android for months after it is publicly released. Google is doing a great job of pushing updates to its app suite, but Samsung’s TouchWhiz takes awhile to be baked into their version of android. I think that Samsung has to offer two modes on every device when its is initially being set-up. The first option would be the standard TouchWhiz UI and the second option should be a clean android install. I know that it is possible to install a clean version of android on basically any android device, but it should be an initial setup option.
The next thing that Samsung and all other android phone manufacturers are in dire need of is a PREMIUM CAMERA. I don’t know of any android device that can complete with an iPhone camera. The iPhone 6 camera is reportedly going to be even better this time around. This is why so many people love their iPhones. I own a Samsung device and I get truly jealous when I see the photos that co-workers take with their iPhones. My Samsung Galaxy Note II cannot compete with the pictures I see coming from even older generation iPhones. Samsung should search the globe and put together a stellar group of engineers to fix the Samsung Galaxy line’s camera. The average user doesn’t want fancy filters and 3D photo options on their smart phone camera because they already have a favorite app to customize their pictures. Samsung needs to focus on the camera hardware and software improvements that directly improve the quality of pictures we can take in every possible lighting situation. That is how Samsung can again become a KING in the smartphone wars.
I must note that after years of being a Samsung customer, I am seriously thinking of making the move over to Apple when the iPhone 6 is released. One of the main things holding me back are the lack of removable storage and the horrendous battery life.
Early reports on the Alpha point that it may not be as premium of a device as we expected. The specs indicate that it will not support an external SD card and it has a lower quality screen and processor than the Galaxy S5. I guess they had to make some serious tradeoffs to offer such a thin profile on the device. We give them thumbs up for the design and thumbs down for the specs.