We’ve heard much about the Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy F, and other Galaxy S5 variants for the past several days and weeks, but we’ve now got some images that’ll put the rumors to rest.
Tech site SamMobile has published photos of the Galaxy Alpha, and it looks to be slightly different than what’s been reported over the last few weeks. Numerous tech sites claimed the Galaxy Alpha would offer a 4.7-inch display, but it now looks as though the Galaxy Alpha will come with a 4.8-inch screen – a display size reminiscent of the phone that changed Samsung’s image, the Galaxy S3. Along with the Galaxy S3 display size, the Galaxy Alpha will also feature the same screen resolution as the Galaxy S3 (at 1280 x 720p). Galaxy Alpha users can expect an HD screen experience, which isn’t much considering that Samsung’s latest, the Galaxy S5, features Full HD screen resolution (1920 x 1080p).
The photos leaked show us that, contrary to earlier rumors, the Galaxy Alpha will only have metal edges or sides, rather than an entire metallic back cover. Many believed that Samsung would produce an entirely metal smartphone after the outrage from some Samsung users immediately following the Galaxy S5 announcement earlier this Spring. What it shows, however, is that Samsung’s still committed to using other premium materials to set its phone apart without caving in to pressure and producing a metal phone to match the iPhone 5s or the HTC One M8.
The back of the Galaxy Alpha will use the new back cover build that’s present in the Galaxy S5 experience (the exception being that the Alpha will have a smaller display than the S5). Some call this build quality faux-leather, and that certainly seems to be the proper label for it. At the same time, however, we can’t help but think that the term “faux leather” for the GS5 back cover needs some redefinition, considering that it doesn’t have the same feel as the faux-leather build quality on the back of the Galaxy Note 3.
One distinguishing factor between the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy S5 concerns the mono speaker on the device. Whereas the Galaxy S5 speaker is on the back of the device, the Galaxy Alpha speaker is on the bottom front – which makes the Galaxy Alpha seem more like a Galaxy Note device than anything else. As for the device, Samsung intends to give the Galaxy Alpha 32GB of internal memory storage, but will abandon the use of a microSD card slot for the device. It’s a huge deal for the Galaxy Alpha when you consider that the microSD card slot is a trademark for Samsung devices.
The Galaxy Alpha: An iPhone 6 Killer?
Many have said that Samsung’s releasing the Galaxy Alpha some weeks before the iPhone 6 in order to curb iPhone 6 sales, and it seems likely that Samsung wants to launch a new phone closer to the iPhone 6 launch than the Galaxy S5 (which was launched 3 months ago) or the Galaxy Note 3 (whose S-Pen stylus functions and software may not appeal to most consumers). From the details we’ve seen, the Galaxy Alpha could fill the void.
First, the Galaxy Alpha’s got a 4.8-inch screen, which slightly nudges out the reported 4.7-inch iPhone 6 display. Next, the Galaxy Alpha will feature an HD display that’ll likely top the iPhone 6’s screen resolution (at least the 4.7-inch model). The current iPhone 5s has a screen display of 1136 x 640, and Samsung’s Super AMOLED display will make colors pop. Samsung will likely win on the display front, even with Apple launching a larger iPhone and possibly an increased screen resolution of 1740 x 960.
While Samsung’s Galaxy Alpha back cover won’t be fully metal, the company will use its firm-gripping faux leather along with metallic sides – so the experience will still seem premium to grip and hold the device. The Galaxy Alpha’s 32GB device, depending on price, will be able to undercut some iPhone 6 sales. A number of iPhone users wouldn’t mind a device that is cheaper than the iPhone 6 but features more memory storage. Since iPhone users are well-adjusted to low memory storage, Samsung’s whopping 32GB of internal memory storage (max) could appeal to iPhone 6ers if the price is right.
In the end, Samsung could very well sell the Galaxy Alpha for $99 with a two-year agreement (and possibly $400-$500 outright), which would also appeal to iPhone users who may opt for the Galaxy Alpha over the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 5C or iPhone 6C.
At this point, what we’re seeing is Samsung and Apple compete in intentional ways. Most tech analysts would have you think that Apple and Samsung don’t compete (ok, the general consensus has been that Samsung’s always trying to compete but Apple doesn’t), but you’ve got to explain the iPhone 5C launch and Apple’s desire to launch 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models this year. Samsung’s desire to put out a 4.8-inch Galaxy Alpha, and Apple’s desire to put out larger iPhone 6 models (with iOS 7’s increased Android functionality) shows that both companies are out to compete publicly. No matter the victor, Apple and Samsung really are competitors – and the new launches are more of a public testimony to that than ever before.