Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One
There's still a week or two until the Samsung Galaxy S4 goes on sale, but already there's a prevailing opinion that Samsung has lost the Android phone zeitgeist to the HTC One. Why? Because the HTC One is made from sleek aluminium, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is made from ‘cheap’ plastic.
It's a simple difference and it has already sparked a great deal of debate. In our initial Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One comparison, opinions were evenly split. Everyone agrees the HTC One looks and feels nicer, but plenty pointed out the S4's pop off back and built-in microSD card slot made it more practical.
That's a perfectly valid argument. In the wider world, however, the first opinion anyone remembers is this: 'it feels cheap'.
This is a problem for Samsung and it knows it. This week's story that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 could be metal has more than a whiff of speculative rumour about it, but it's one I believe for two reasons:
1) Samsung is very sensitive to criticism and bad press
Like any successful company, Samsung understands the power of good press and positive momentum. It listens very carefully and cares deeply about what people, whether it’s the press or the wider world, think of it. When people say your flagship smartphone, nay the flagship product of the whole company, ‘feels cheap’, important people stand up and take notice.
2) It acts faster than any rival
And this is why Samsung is as successful as it is. It’s easy to listen; it’s easy to pretend to listen. It’s much harder, and far more important, to listen and act. Samsung is better at acting fast than any tech company I know.
It was the first to respond to the original Apple iPad, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab; it swooped in and dominated a large part of the netbook market thanks to the Samsung NC10, a product that was conceived, designed and built in mere months; and it has used its manufacturing might and expertise to trounce its rivals in the TV market.
It listens hard, it analyses and it executes faster than any of its rivals. That's why Samsung has gone from being a backwater budget electronics brand to one of the leading lights of the industry.
A metal Samsung Galaxy S4 before Christmas...
That's why I'm making a prediction – the kind of prediction that people will point and laugh at me for if I’m wrong.
Samsung will launch a metal design Samsung Galaxy S phone before Christmas.
It may be an update to the S4, it could even carry the Samsung Galaxy S5 moniker, but in a year when another iPhone is due and HTC has stolen a march in the quality stakes, Samsung can’t afford to stick with a phone that ‘feels cheap’.
If it does, it risks denting the value it has built-up around the Galaxy phone brand. That’s worth a lot and Samsung isn’t the kind of company that stands idle.