What We Want From 2015 Galaxy Alpha 2
September 2014 is the month of iPhone 6, Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy Alpha – two Galaxy smartphones to compete with two new Apples.
We covered the announcement of Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha here, questioning whether it was better than the iPhone 6, and whether the Alpha will be the top dog of true iPhone killers – or not.
The smartphones wars are the modern world’s true “Game of Phones”, where each company battles to take the throne from the other.
This has led to awkward marriages between Google and smartphone makers leading to major OEM red-ink losses making the violence-filled GoT Red Weddings look like a walk in the park.
The biggest problem with the new Galaxy Alpha, due in September, isn’t the fact that it is an outrageously bold rip-off of the iPhone 5S metal frame design, but that it just doesn’t seem Alpha enough.
Where is the 64-bit processor to rival Apple’s A7, which was released in 2013?
Where is the built-in 128GB storage option, let alone 64GB, or a microSD card for expansion?
Where is the quad HD screen with even more pixels per inch than the LG G3?
Where is the 20 megapixel camera to beat that seen on the Nokia Lumia 930 or Sony’s latest smartphones, or the laser focus on the LG G3?
There’s no USB 3.0 for super-fast wired data transfer, there’s no waterproof coating, there’s still no pico projector that will yet fit into a 6.7mm thin phone so your phone can project its images directly to the closest wall.
What about Android L, the next version of Android that will either be Android 4.5 or 5.0?
We don’t even know if the Galaxy Alpha can be upgraded to Android L or not, unlike the guaranteed upgrade path for all iPhones released over the past couple of years.
Including a fingerprint reader is good, but do we still have to swipe down as with the Galaxy S5?
When will Samsung have a fingerprint reader that you simply place your thumb or fingertip onto, as with Apple’s Touch ID?
These are all areas Samsung needs to deliver on to make any Alpha 2 a true alpha by nature, not just by name.
Samsung’s mobile division CEO, JK Shin, said the Galaxy Alpha “was built and designed based on the specific desires of the consumer market”, and in that regard, I would say he is right – at least for now in 2014, in a pre-iPhone 6 world.
The features I’ve listed above are what tech geeks would want to see, not everyday consumers who just want a stylish, long-lasting, lightweight thin phone that will let them run the apps they love, read Facebook, emails, Twitter, text messages and web browsing.
A 12 megapixel camera is clearly more than good enough for everyday users, so rather than building a phone with the absolute lot, as the Samsung Galaxy S5 tried delivering, Samsung is clearly going for the “less is more” approach that Apple has used ever since in launched the first iPhone in 2007.
That came at a time when the Nokia N95 ruled supreme, with 3G video calling and data speeds, 5 megapixel camera with video recording, copy and paste, apps, GPS and plenty more.
Back then, Apple’s first iPhone was 2G only, couldn’t record video, had no copy and paste, had no apps, no GPS and even had a fiddly headphone socket that wouldn’t work with most existing 3.5mm plugs without an extension adapter.
But Apple’s iPhone was less, and yet it was so much more that it smashed Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony Ericsson and everyone else into realising they truly were “5 years” behind Apple as Steve Jobs so boldly predicted.
Given that Apple is likely to truly knock it out of the park with two sizes for the iPhone 6, along with accompanying iTime/iWatch and other surprises it has managed to keep from leaking, the Alpha and Note 4 will have come just at the right time to keep Samsung and Android loyalists happy.
But whether it is enough to reverse Samsung’s 20% drop in profits and a 31% drop in the mobile division’s operating profit, as reported in ChannelNews, is yet to be seen when future earnings are reported over the next few quarters.
The Alpha will certainly hold the fort for Samsung, as will the stylus-enabled Note 4 with massive screen, but now that the Alpha has been announced, it is no surprise we already look to the Alpha 2 which is no doubt already under construction at Samsung HQ.
Until then, we’ll have to see whether the Alpha reigns supreme, or whether the iPhone 6 shreds the Alpha into alfalfa.