COMMENT: First Dice Rolled In Apple Vs Samsung Smartphone Battle, New Alpha Galaxy Revealed
Now the ultimate battle is being played out and Samsung has rolled their dice early with a brand new metal case 4.7″ Galaxy Alpha announced overnight.
Shortly Apple will roll out their new offering which will include a larger iPhone, as for Samsung, size has won them market share as Apple doggedly stuck to a one sized model. Consumers looking for an easier to use smartphone moved to the larger Galaxy S3 then the S4 and of late the S5.
Now Apple is set to launch a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch iPhone with analysts tipping that consumers could desert their Android devices in droves and return to back to the Apple stable.
This is a dangerous time for Samsung who are already under siege after their Galaxy S5 failed to inspire consumers. Two weeks ago the company reported a 31% decline in profits in their mobile phone division and a 20% overall decline.
One thing is guaranteed: Apple and Samsung are set to make media Companies happy as they tip hundreds of millions into marketing their smartphones.
The Galaxy S5 should have been the contender but its failure has forced Samsung to rethink their go-to market strategy, the solution appears to be a move to the Alpha a metal case handset which throws down the gauntlet to Apple.
Under the bonnet there appears to be little difference in their software offering.
On one side is the Galaxy Alpha 4.7-inch Samsung offering Vs the iPhone 6 4.7-inches.
For Apple, the new iPhone represents a big step up in screen size from the 4-inch display seen since the iPhone 5. For Samsung, the Alpha represents a step down from the 5.1-inch display on the Galaxy S5.
This is a true size-to-size fight that could leave blood on the floor for one of these manufacturers. The betting right now is that Apple has the upper hand.
Leaked reports claim the new iPhone has a 1704 x 960 pixel display that creates a pixel density of 416ppi (pixels per inch) compared to the Alpha whose screen is 1280 x 720 pixels at 320ppi.
This is a strange move as Samsung has stepped down from the Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel displays it has used in flagship phones for the last few years.
Given how close the 320ppi pixel density of the Alpha is Apple’s claim that a ‘Retina Display’ (the point where your eyes cannot distinguish individual pixels) starts at 326ppi, it remains to be seen how much difference there will be in reality.
Samsung is hoping that the AMOLED technology it uses in the Alpha and S5 will be enough to impress consumers Vs the IPS Sharp-made screen found in the new iPhone.
The looming battle will see Samsung move back to delivering a metal case smartphone, in the past Samsung has preached plastic as being the material of choice for their Galaxy smartphone range.
The new Samsung metal extends to the edges of the Alpha while the rear remains plastic, the screen is Gorilla Glass 3.
The iPhone 6 will be a combination of metal and sapphire, with Apple ditching their glass back in favour of an all metal chassis. The screen is tipped to be sapphire layered with glass.
As such the durability may not be as indestructible as many hope but it should still represent a step up from Gorilla Glass 3.
At the scales, Samsung appears to have an advantage, the new Alpha is slimmer at 6.7mm, the iPhone 6 is tipped to be thicker. The new sized Alpha is the slimmest smartphone ever delivered to market. Overall size is 132.4 x 65.5mm.
From the dummies that have been leaked, the new iPhone 6 has a thicker bezel however this does not mean that the go to market model will be the same as the leaked dummies.
Apple has played the subterfuge game in the past and what could be delivered is the real deal Vs a carefully orchestrated leak program.
Now we come to the processor battle, Apple has an unknown in the form of the A8 chipset, Samsung have their Exynos 5 Octa 5430 chipset with 8 cores – but still no 64bit processing.
Apple has doubled the power of its A series of ARM-based chips with each generation so the dual-core 1.3GHz CPU and quad-core GPU in the already fast iPhone 5S A7 chipset should see major gains and there is also talk of a step up to 2GB of RAM.
The Galaxy Alpha should be able to match anything the iPhone 6 throws at it. The Alpha is set to be launched with 2GB of RAM and Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa 5430 chipset which the company claims will outpace the Snapdragon 805 ARMs which are expected to appear in the Galaxy Note 4 and Nexus 6.
The Snapdragon 800 chipset is believed to be on par with Apple’s A7 with Qualcomm adding more power and battery performance.
For Samsung this is a high risk fight, they are exposed as Apple has the brand clout that Samsung has spent billions trying to buy, and now they are looking for a return on their investment.
They are praying that the consumers who have switched from an Apple to Samsung product will stay loyal to the Samsung brand, if they don’t Samsung has a serious problem that could see billions stripped from their value.
The failure if it happens could also see consumers switch back to a new generation of Apple iPads Vs a Samsung tablet and this leaves Samsung in a hole similar to what happened to Sony when Apple launched the iPod.