Samsung’s Alpha: Metal iPhone Killer?
Samsung’s smartphones are well known to take all manner of design and feature cues from Apple’s iPhone, but they’ve always been made of plastic.
Despite Apple alternating between variations of metal, plastic and glass for its smartphones, a metal body is the one thing Samsung hasn’t copied – at least, until now.
The rumours are stronger than ever that Samsung’s first metal-bodied phone will be called the Galaxy Alpha, a name that suggests it is first among unequal smartphones, with leaked photographs finally surfacing online.
From the photos, we can see a design that looks strikingly similar to the iPhone 5 design, from flat sides to seemingly chamfered edges on both front and back of the device, with a white coloured and reportedly metal back for the first time.
Unlike any iPhone, the metal back plate of the Alpha is expected to be removable, just as with the plastic backs of current Samsung models stretching back years.
This is believed not only because it is the way Samsung has always done things, but because the photos do not appear to show any cut-outs on the sides of the Alpha for a SIM card, as with iPhones, or a microSD socket.
Although Samsung is boldly calling its next Galaxy an Alpha model, which you would be forgiven for rightly thinking would be Samsung’s best smartphone ever, this might not be the case.
Rumours point to the Alpha being model SM-G850F with a 4.8-inch 720P display with 320ppi, which would disappoint anyone who has seen the gloriously sharp and large Quad HD screen on LG’s newly released G3 Android, alongside an expected 12 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel front camera, 32GB of internal storage, an eight-core Exynos 5433 CPU and Mali-T628 GPU, 2GB RAM and Android 4.4.4.
We can only imagine Samsung’s fingerprint reader will be part of the mix, as will the rest of the Samsung suite – S-Health, the other S-Apps, TouchWiz and more, although we hope Samsung will upgrade the look of its home screen icons, as you’l see in a photo below – they look very primitive in 2014 compared to the beautiful iconography on the LG G3.
Also, for Samsung’s Alpha truly to be an actual Alpha, we’d have imagined a better screen like the G3, 3GB RAM, options up to 128GB internal storage, 20 megapixel camera and a 5MP or better front facing camera – but hey, marketing terms like Alpha don’t guarantee that reality will end up like the dream that the marketing department is selling.
Unfortunately, specs like these are likely being saved for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, and even then no-one expects an Android with 128GB as standard – something definitely expected for the iPhone 6.
The images above and below were leaked via Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, with rumblings that production of the handset was due to start effectively now.
If so, it would line up with the expected September launch of the Galaxy Alpha, potentially to be held at or around the time of the IFA technology show in Berlin – and crucially, before the iPhone 6 should finally launch.
However, it’s hard to say whether the arrival of a metal-bodied Samsung Galaxy at long last would be enough to fend off the iPhone 6 or persuade iPhone fans who have been waiting for the iPhone 6 to suddenly decide a metal bodied Android is what they really wanted instead.
Indeed, it seems clear that while Apple launches one or two new iPhones a year, at the same launch event, competitors are forced to launch several new models a year just to keep up.
Samsung has launched the S5, with the Alpha and Note 4 to come. Questions remain over whether the Alpha is what has been rumoured as the Galaxy S5 Prime or Galaxy F, which then suggests Alpha is a code name, and not a model name.
Still, with the iPhone 6 expected to produce the same kind of media frenzy as new iPhones do every year, we can be pretty certain Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha is not the Omega, it wasn’t the first and won’t be the last, and is the likely the beginning of a heightened new phase of Samsung competition that still won’t see the end of Apple anytime soon.