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Why the Galaxy Alpha is such a big deal for Samsung and its customers

Tony Ibrahim | Aug. 15, 2014
Samsung is readying for the launch of the supposed Apple iPhone 6 with its premium Galaxy Alpha.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha

For four years Samsung has been putting to work the same formula for its Galaxy smartphones, and for four years it worked. Up until now.

Samsung's global smartphone share has slipped 7 percent over the past year. The company's plastic-clad flagship, the Galaxy S5, missed sales targets -- a rarity for Samsung devices -- and has contributed to its mobile division's 30 per cent profit fall. That winning Galaxy formula isn't holding up against rivals as they champion flagships free from compromise on the design front.

Samsung's head of mobile design called it quits a month after the Galaxy S5's launch as a plethora of tough reviews lambasted its lack of craftsmanship. Making matters worse was the smartphone's growing waistline as it was taller, wider, thicker and heavier than its predecessor, the Galaxy S4.

Taking a sales hit is reason enough for Samsung to change its ways. Overnight Samsung revealed the Galaxy Alpha, a smartphone indicative of a fresh approach destined for upcoming Galaxy smartphones.

The Alpha is the first Galaxy smartphone to come with a metal chassis. Select Samsung tablets already come with a metal chassis and make a noticable difference to the overall feel. Taking a sense of pride in the Alpha's construction is one way Samsung can continue to fend off metal Apple iPhones and HTC's One range.

But the Alpha is more than a metal skeleton; there's a bigger picture behind the scenes. Samsung smartphones often play the numbers game with specs. Only Samsung smartphones have 8-core CPUs in Australia, heart sensors and software that knows when you're eyes glance away from the screen.

The Alpha has two cameras: a 12MP rear and a secondary 2.1MP front facing camera

Scrawling over the Alpha's spec list reveals it's not playing the numbers game. Rather, it's focusing on the user experience, and that's a game Apple has been champion of for some time.

The Alpha's most confronting specifications are its thickness and weight. The Galaxy smartphone is a thin 7mm and light at 115 grams. This makes it thinner than Apple's iPhone 5S and only 3 grams heavier than the smaller screened iPhone.

Specifications concerning the display shock next. Samsung's ongoing trend involves increasing the screen size and cramming more pixels in for increased clarity. The Galaxy S5, for instance, has a large 5.1in display and 441 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

The Alpha does not conform to this spec pissing contest. It has a 4.7in, HD screen with a responsible 320 pixel-per-inch density. The size resonates as 5in screens aren't nearly as comfortable. Samsung can also rest knowing it has a rival ready when Apple launches its mythological 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

 

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