My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Samsung Galaxy Alpha with Metallic Band - Last of the 5” smartphones with decreased Battery Life as the Luddite Camp gets Larger

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Alpha with Metallic Band - Last of the 5” smartphones with decreased Battery Life as the Luddite Camp gets Larger

Looks like the Samsung Galaxy Alpha IS a real smartphone after all, Pinocchio Style, based on the preliminary details in the article “Samsung goes metal with Galaxy Alpha's 'new approach'”, published August 13, 2014 1:49 AM PDT, CNET Reviews!

And here was I thinking it was a codename for the Samsung Galaxy 6 that’s slated to come out on  Wednesday September 3rd 2014 as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “Samsung Unpacked 2014 Event coming September 3 2014 - Samsung Galaxy S6 with a dash of Note 4, Tizen OS and Samsung Galaxy Glass”.

Possibly I need to switch from Lime Tea to Mint Tea, as I’ve heard that the Tea leaves for Mint give a better reading of the Future. Either way, this is indeed a new day on one front for Samsung. I’m obliged to finally stand up and give Samsung a rousing applause; they’ve finally begun to use metal in their design, with some design cues clearly cribbed from the Apple iPhone!

However, this is not the smartphone that I seek to declare myself no longer a Luddite as I’d opined in my blog article entitled “The Reason why I don't like Smartphones - Location Privacy and How to disable Location Services on Android and iOS”.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha, is instead, a signpost of things to come in the smartphone World!

Samsung Galaxy Alpha – Samsung gets Artsy and bathes the Samsung Galaxy S5 in a Metallic Band

Based on its name, Samsung may be positioning this smartphone as a leader of the Galaxy Pack as they’ve now stepped into the ring in terms of design, putting them toe-to-toe with the Apple iPhone.

This is basically a somewhat toned down version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 as described in my blog article entitled “Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S5 – 16 Megapixel Camera with Fingerprint Scanner and Fitness Tracker is Improved Fun Experience in a better Business Suit” but with a metallic Business Suit!

The metal in the design I’m going ga-ga over is just a band of metal that covers the Alpha from edge to edge and is machined to an aesthetic prowess on par with the Apple iPhone. It’s even got the dual Left and Right mini speaker Grille like the Apple iPhone!

As for that “toning down” bit, it's obvious in both the dimensions as well as the specs when compared to its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S5, it’s a bit….less. Oddly, the slimming done, again, makes it more like the Apple iPhone, clearly the Target Samsung is gunning after in this design. However, this may really just be a side issue of another reason and not the direct aim of Samsung!

Samsung Galaxy Alpha - Smaller, slimmer and lighter with decreased Battery Life

First the Good News though.

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha’s packing Google Android 4.4.4, which is at least a step up from the Google Android Jellybean that the S5 was preloaded with. Whether this will make the design more appealing isn't clear, as dear reader, I must warn you, from here it's downhill all the way, starting from the physical dimensions down to the Battery Life.

For one, it's a lot smaller, slimmer and lighter than its predecessor. The Alpha measures a clutchable 132mm by 66mm wide (5.2" by 2.6") when compared to the bigger Galaxy S5 which measured 142mm by 72mm (5.59" by 2.84").

It's also thinner than the Galaxy S5; 6.7mm (0.26") compared to 8.1mm (0.32") thick and most troubling. Also it’s not waterproof, albeit with that much screen real-estate, Samsung can’t protect you from your clumsy self. Still, with those dimensions shrinking, it's also bound to be lighter as well, weighing in at 115g (4 oz) and thus making it a much easier phone to handle like the Apple iPhone.

But it's the other changes that are somewhat troubling. The screen is also smaller at 4.7" compared to the ginormous 5.The Resolution of 1,280x720-pixel resolution with 317 ppi (pixels per inch) not only falls below the Super AMOLED Full HD 5´1” Screen of the Samsung Galaxy S5 that's packing 441ppi, but the competition as well! Specs oriented types will oogle over the LG G3 which comes with an Ultra HD Screen that has a 538ppi, that is, if you care about such things.

The disappointments don’t end there.

The Camera's been downgraded from the Galaxy S5’s 16 Megapixel to a 12 megapixel deal. At least they've kept the choice to have either an Octa-Core Processor (for South Koreans and East Asians) and Quad-Core (for American and everyone else), the always-on HDR mode and the 4K (3,840x2,160-pixel) Video resolution mode, suggesting that the 16 Megapixel in the S5 may have been overkill.

Also making the transition from the Samsung Galaxy S5 is the Fingerprint scanner, which like the Apple iPhone still sits in the Home Button of the Galaxy Alpha. The 3.0 S Health Tool, the Emergency Mode and the Ultra Power Save Mode that gives you 24 hours more on your final 10% of Battery life as explained in my blog article entitled “Samsung Galaxy S5’s Ultra Power Save Mode - Samsung gives you 24 Hours to Die Another Day as This is Not The End” are still back for the sequel.

But the real disappointment for me is the Battery.

Samsung could have chosen to make a statement with the Battery life by figuring out some way to increase its potency and extend its life even while getting smaller. Technologies such as using Solar and Kinetic Charging coupled with a built in Inductive Recharging option readily come to mind. Instead, they've halved the Samsung Galaxy S5's 2,800 mAh battery down to a 1,860mAh cell, which may result in a halving of the 10 hour Talk Time, as it STILL packs the 5th generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 2x2 MIMO and a standard category 4G LTE.

Samsung the Apple Supermodel – Demand for Larger Screen smartphones going South

At this point I am compelled to say that if this is real, then Samsung is becoming like a Supermodel trying to fit into the Apple iPhone's Clothes. But that explanation doesn’t make sense, especially as they're selling more smartphones Globally than Apple as concluded in my blog article entitled “IDC Stats for Second Quarter of 2014 points to Asian Smartphone Rise – How cheaper smartphones are slowly killing BOTH Apple and Samsung marketshare”.

Most likely what's happening is relate to the size of the Screen relative to cheaper 7” Tablets and the 5.7” Samsung Galaxy Note 3!

Samsung is beginning to realize that they're facing some push-back from customers due to cheaper 7” Tablets from Chinese and East Asian Suppliers as concluded in my blog article entitled “IDC and NPD Group record Tablet Decline and Phablet Rise - “White Box” Chinese Tablets and Wearable Computing in First Quarter of 2014 making Tablets obsolete in the Year of the Sheep”.

At 5.7”, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, based on my analysis of the stats from analysts IDC and NPD Group, is just as susceptible to these cheaper smartphone and 7” Tablets. The perception by the buying consumer is that the 5” Phablet is really just a more expensive Tablet with a Two (2) Year Contract as well as unlocked from their various Networks. So many customers are opting for lower cost smartphones as well as 7” “White Box” Chinese Tablets from these Chinese and East Asian Suppliers.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad are facing competition from the cheaper Chinese 7” “White Label” Tablets, not 5” Phablets. 5” Phablets, rather than being the Killers that analysts IDC and NPD Group hold them up to be, are really just a minor trend that will eventually fall victim to Cheaper 7" Tablets as well. The Bigger Samsung Galaxy S5 was just too big at 5.1”, which was too close for comfort to the 5.7” Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

So they've scaled it back in terms of its main spec, that being the screen size......and everything else as well so differentiate it in the market and make it cheaper. The fact that it's beginning to look like the Apple iPhone may be deliberate.

But I'm betting that in reality they're facing pressure from consumers as it relates to accepting such a large smartphone that can barely fit in your hand, muchless in your Back Pocket. Especially as it's a fingerprint magnet with a crackable screen that's not so easy to replace and 7” Tablets, including 7” “White Box” Chinese Tablets are in that same price range and cheaper.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha – Last of the 5” smartphones as the Luddite Camp gets Larger

Many regard me as a Luddite for not wanting a smartphone as declared in my blog article entitled “The Reason why I don't like Smartphones - Location Privacy and How to disable Location Services on Android and iOS”, opting instead to stick to my little Nokia cellphone because of my grouse over Battery Life and location security.

But if Samsung really thinks that making this Alpha will entice Apple lovers to ditch their Apple iPhone 5S in favour of their Samsung Galaxy Alpha before the Apple iPhone 6 launch date on Tuesday September 9th 2014 as I’ve prophesied in my blog article entitled “WalMart Sale on Apple iPhone 5S and 5C - Apple iPhone 6 expected in September 2014 and is worth its weight in Gold and Sapphires”, then they've got another thing coming.

Customers, especially Americans, upon seeing the lower batter spec of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha when compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5 father, will naturally conclude that the Apple iPhone with its Sapphire Screen, Touch ID security and 10 hour Talk time and 250 hour Standby time is much better than Samsung Offer. That’s my prediction for the Samsung Galaxy Alpha!

Either that or the Luddite camp that I'm occupying by my lonesome might just start to get bigger as we await our Saviour.....a Smartphone with Battery Life numbered in Weeks, not hours or days! For now, the Apple iPhone 6 lines will start getting longer as Winter is Coming! 

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