Samsung Electronics Co. (KRX:005930) unveiled its latest smartphone, the Galaxy Alpha, which trades plastic for a prominent metal-frame design reminiscent of Apple's iPhone.
This is the latest effort by Samsung to reinvigorate its line of mobile devices after taking a big hit to its operating profit in the second quarter amid falling market share and a growing smartphone war, especially in China, where Beijing's Xiaomi dominates both Samsung and Apple in the mid- and low-end handset segment.
The new Samsung Galaxy Alpha runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat and includes an octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 12MP camera, and a fingerprint sensor, which was first introduced in the Galaxy S5. While the Galaxy Alpha has 32GB of internal storage, notably missing is a Micro SD expansion slot. The screen has also gotten smaller, shrinking to a 4.7-inch HD AMOLED display from a 5.1-inch screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixel.
The lower specs and smaller size of the Galaxy Alpha place it just under the flagship Galaxy S5, appealing to a mid-tier smartphone market. But the new metal construction also appeals to the luxury market, opening up the possiblity of the Galaxy Alpha cannibalizing the S5. However, the presence of an octa-core processor --likely an Exynos 5430 -- may limit the Galaxy Alpha's exposure to primarily Asian and European markets.
While Samsung describes the model as a “sophisticated design in a carefully constructed compact body with a metal frame and solid finish,” watchers will be quick to compare its metal band to the construction of the iPhone 5S or the Xiaomi Mi4, which also features a metal-frame build.
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Despite some new design elements, Samsung has maintained the soft texture and dot pattern on the rear cover that it introduced with the Galaxy S5.
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha will be available at the beginning of September, which will coincide with the anticipated Apple iPhone 6 launch. The Alpha will come in black, gold, white, silver and blue.