Why is Samsung releasing a device like the Galaxy Alpha?

A few hours ago, Samsung officially announced the Galaxy Alpha, a device that has nothing ground-breaking but is something of a refined mix of the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S III. Its specs include a 4.7-inch 720p Super AMOLED display, an Exynos 5430 octa-core processor (one of the fastest in the market), 2 GB of RAM, a 12-megapixel rear camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Just like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Alpha has a heart rate sensor on the back, next to the camera, and a fingerprint scanner built into the home button.

Not so long ago, the Galaxy Alpha was known as the Galaxy F, with the F referring to ‘Fashion.’ Samsung used Galaxy F as an internal codename, and the device was never meant to be an improved version of the Galaxy S5, but rather a ‘Fashion’ version of the Galaxy S4/S III. This will probably make many of you question why Samsung didn’t improve an improved, so-called ‘Fashion’ variant of the Galaxy S5.

Well, the reason for this has to be that Samsung wants to stick with two flagship smartphones for each year in the form of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note line. In marketing speak, these are strong brand names, which would make it a risky move to place a model between these popular products. As we all know by know, Samsung isn’t known for taking many risks – it instead plays it safe, so much so that the company’s profits have largely stagnated in the last two quarters.

There’s another question that may arise in your mind: if it’s not an improved version of the Galaxy S5, why is there a need to release a ‘Fashion’ version of the Galaxy S4?

Well, the answer to that lies in the form of Samsung’s main competitor: Apple. According to rumors, the iPhone 6 will have a larger screen (most likely 4.7-inch) than previous iPhones. Over the last few years, Samsung has benefited over Apple because of its large-screen devices, with the Galaxy Note line having helped them found the now standard phablet market. For many people switching from an iPhone to a Galaxy device, the main reason was the larger screen.

Now that the “larger screen” motif will become a non-reason for iPhone users to switch, Samsung has naturally had to come up with a better strategy. To compete with the upcoming iPhone, Samsung is throwing the pricing strategy on the tablet, which is similar to the start of the Galaxy S line, wherein Samsung was competing with the iPhone mainly on price (and also on state-of-the-art specifications, though price was the biggest factor.)

Of course, Samsung could also reduce the price of the Galaxy S5 to compete, but in the long term, it would harm the Galaxy S series as a flagship line, especially since the Galaxy S5 is still doing a great job in terms of sales in many markets, compared to Apple’s 4-inch iPhone options.

With the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung is not just competing on price, but the company is also trying to compete through the usage of premium materials. If they want to compete with the next iPhone and have a chance at beating it, Samsung needs to look beyond price. One of the strongest suites of the iPhone is still its premium finish and Apple’s use of quality materials. To counter this, Samsung has put an aluminium frame with chamfered edges on the Galaxy Alpha, something that we’ve seen on previous iPhones.

As I mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Alpha is not a ground-breaking device and offers nothing that we haven’t seen from competitors before. However, it has some refinements compared to other Galaxy smartphones that were released earlier this year (like an improved fingerprint scanner, more premium design, and more.)

The Galaxy Alpha won’t be released worldwide but will instead be exclusive to selected markets (with a launch in late August), and one of the biggest and most important reasons for its existence is to compete with Apple’s next iPhone.

What do you think? Is this the right strategy Samsung needs to take the fight to Apple once again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Opinion 18
Related newsLatest news

Leave a Reply

2 years 7 months ago

and what now after the september Apple presentation ??? A bit of a dissapointment..?

2 years 8 months ago

Stepping back from the
Alpha VS Iphone Debate, I am a Consumer interested
in a “Pocket Sized” powerful Android Phone for Professional and Personal use.

To avoid Debates on Pocket Sized ,IMO this means a Device about 5.0″
to 5.2″ Tall .

The Alpha will give me slightly better performance and photos than the S4, judging from
preliminary specs, Camera
Samples and Alpha can fit
in a pocket even in a Case and still has a fairly large screen.

For an active athletic
person, not wanting to
wear a Belt Clip etc. this is a very good Device.

IF the Device was a few
millimeters thicker, like
the S5 is, we could have
a 2400 to 2600 Mah Battery and SD Card Storage.

I am hoping for an Alpha
Pro at about $100 more, with these features and
same Camera as Note 4 for
Architects,Interior Designers, Real Estate Pros, Athletes etc. who need a Powerful Device with back up storage, and
lots of Power.

I don’t think the extra
few millimeters thick will deter people who need the Alpha Pro, nor
will the additional Price.
The SD Card means Photos, Media, Slide Show Presentations can be stored, Archived and easily re-installed, swapped etc.
An HDMI Out would enable a Power Point Presentation to be done and Presented( and backed up) Directly from the
Alpha Pro- for Creative Pros, Artists, etc. etc.

So the Alpha Pro would also address some of the
issues some have with Alpha and also be a stronger Competitor/Alternative for Samsung in some Markets.

Alpha for sleek Fashion
Alpha Pro for raw Power.

The Alpha Pro is (would be) for Note 4 Customers in a smaller Package but would be a much stronger competitor against Iphone

What do you think ?
Forward it to Samsung if you like it.

2 years 8 months ago

Oh and as a note owner of all 3 note phones, note 8, note 10 and note pro 12.2 tablets currently…we don’t want “small” offerings. ..the size is 99% of the draw of the note series. ..the other being best specs on the market and the s pen…idk of your serious but your points make no sense I’m sorry

2 years 8 months ago

Dude the note series is literally what you’re describing…no one’s going to do any work on a small little 4.7 inch phone with 720p screen. And you’re never gonna get the note 4 camera in a mid grade phone…your describing an s5 in size and detail, and a note in terms of productivity contradicting your own points about an alpha. If only it had a bigger battery, sd slot, better camera, bigger screen lmao buy anew s5 job done

2 years 8 months ago

Apple is HISTORY now, it is not a competitor for samsung. The real competitor is Xioami with the new MI4 which is almost similar to Alpha line and xioami is top1 in sales in China.
Nowadays, iphone really is a very worst mobile device with a prehistoric iOS which is horrible.
So, alpha is Great. I love Xioami also.

2 years 8 months ago

Samsung is totally right here in order to compete at the iphone area because

1) a normal iphone user does not interest in internal spec. like processor, ram, resolution etc. An iphone user simply wants a glamor device made of nice material which shines like juwell. So the Alpha is an option

because it has these attributes and is cheaper than the iphone.

2) a tech interested user does not matter about material, he even may not want metal for some reasons. They are interested in internal things like processor, ram, resolution an there for decide for a S5.

3) if Samsung would make a S5 with metal body it would cost 800-1000 euro. That means nobody of 1) or 2) would buy it. 1) would not buy it because it is not interested in internal but the cover, and the iphone is

cheaper! 2) would not buy it because he is not interested in the metal cover and would not spent therefore 200 Euro more!

So Samsung is right to get buyers from every kind of market share!

2 years 7 months ago

With all respect to your point of view here mate, I’m an iPhone user since 2007 and I disagree on what you listed here, and I’ll tell you why without the “AppleFAN-VS-SamsungFAN” nagging.

1) A normal iPhone user DOES about specs, but we CARE MORE for real performance instead of numbers on papers*. Current generation iPhone 5S includes a desktop-class power in the palm of our hands with the 64-Bit** processor (Something only Apple, Microsoft, Intel, and AMD have mastered since the beginning of 2000s.) Also, the 5S includes a co-processor “M7″, something never been witnessed in mainstream products, neither Computers or Smartphones.

ALSO, the graphic processor in 5S provides incredible realistic visuals for console-class gaming. (Have you seen the recent Infinity Blade III? You’ll be stunned!)

*We do NOT care about the number of cores, because we know in this DNAge, cores are like V12 engines, they have power, but they consume lot more energy. “Adaptive Management” to I/O, more intelligent bus, and smarter architectures (such as 64-bit) are more like a supercharged V8.. same performance as V12 but less consumption.

**If you bring a 1 G.Hz Dual-core 32-bit processor VS. a 1 G.Hz Dual-core 64-bit processor.. the 64-bit will perform at least 50% faster.

2) Correction, A tech interested user WILL care about materials if he can afford it. Let me rephrase that, Tech users put specs first, then the glamour is an extra points. Take the iPhone 5, it drew Samsung users with its design and advancements and the news was all over the media.

3) Galaxy Alpha… Samsung is trying to restore what they lost from their customers to iPhone 5S. How? By making a premium device that uses similar design cues and language to iPhone 5S. However, putting a metallic band around the device won’t make it any premium.

4) Apple users (Not just iPhones) care a lot about the design, we expect craftsmanship for the money Apple is asking us for. Samsung on the other hand requires a lot of money for something that doesn’t look like it worth it.

SUMMERY? Apple users expect higher quality on all aspects. Galaxy Alpha is a test to see the reaction from the public. Galaxy S6 might come in two trims (plastic and metallic) if ALPHA proved to be acclaimed in the market. However, I do NOT expect it to be a game-changing step.

2 years 7 months ago

I forgot to mention iOS… the upcoming iOS 8 is the largest and most advanced Mobile OS on the planet so far. If you do care about the “Specs” and you do understand and like to read about “under-the-hood” performance.. then I would recommend you either watching the Keynote on YouTube or reading the sneak peak on Apple’s website.

2 years 8 months ago

This argument doesn’t make any sense. The Alpha is not in a league where it can compete with the i phone6.What should have been done is taken the elements of the new design and incorporated same to the Galaxy S5, which would have been a far better move and strategy to compete with any upcoming Apple devices.Further if Samsung is to win over new customers and ensure current users stay loyal, customer service has to improve, in certain Asian regions customer service is atrocious.

2 years 8 months ago

Everything is very good with this device, sammy has done it very good…
except one where it is still unknown…
the price..
if it is a 720 euros(as reported) will be a big fail….. with this specs shall be less lower
even x 64 gig version, price is too high :-)

Politics apart, this will be a fantastic device..
Really who needs 2k display???

2 years 8 months ago

Just a downgraded version of the S5 pretty much.

Next, looking at the Note 4′s news…

2 years 8 months ago

I think you have missed that the Exynos-version has the first 20nm SOC on the market, coupled with the lower resolution display, battery and performance will most likely be great. And 4.7″ is sort of a sweet spot for carrying in a front pocket of your trousers. Looks like a really good phone to me, and having a SD-card is replaced by cloud storage and streaming services in developed markets.

2 years 8 months ago

Sorry but this article makes absolutely no sense. You’re actually trying to say that you believe Samsung is releasing this phone to compete with the next iPhone, except the alpha sucks. Sure you can dress up mid grade specs in chamfered edges and aluminum but this phone isn’t even good competition with the current Gen of iPhone 5s let alone the iPhone 6, and this is coming from an admitted Samsung fan/dev who hates apple. Sorry your argument for the basis of this phone makes no sense…720p screen?? Why wouldn’t they have just used the actual s4 1080 panel it doesn’t make sense? This alpha is not a competition device but it’s another galaxy round or galaxy mega…it’s Samsung dipping their toes in the water testing the market. They’re assessing if the mass market cares about metal body or “materials” or if it’s just those idiot tech reviewers who can’t actually find negative points about a note 3 or s5 so they bash the plastic. Plain and simple imo. Samsung not stupid…if they wanted to complete with Apple this would be a premium device, not this average mid ranger with a decent cpu, 1080 screen, and snapdragon 805 imo

2 years 8 months ago

To answer your 720p question is quite simple… The human eye can see up to ~330 ppi, having more then 330 ppi is quite useless because you can’t see the difference… Only if you use the phone on Big Led displays or TV’s, the higher resolution can actually help.

If you use the phone as a daily basis, the 720p screen is perfect for the 4.7 inch just like the Note 3 (~386 ppi pixel density), it’s pixel density is quite perfect.

2 years 8 months ago

You completely missed my point. The s5 and lg g3 have displays that are nearly double what the human eye can perceive…the point is mainstream consumers, apple fans in particular, buy specs based on higher is better. 1080p is better than 720p, now it’s 2k is better than 1080p. ..if it makes a difference or not is beside the point. My entire point I was making is the iPhone is a flagship…this is not…a they are in no way competing with the iPhone 6 on any level but size and an aluminum bezel to the mainstream …the average consumer will see 720, a 12 mp camera a etc a and in context those are specs from late 2012 mid 2013…

2 years 8 months ago

megalomaiac you are right. Sam tests ppl.

2 years 8 months ago

I just find it hilarious that people are acting like this little alpha phone is supposed to be some big iphone competitor…as if the entire galaxy s series was built on the competition with the iPhone over the past few years. And then for the same people to turn around and say that this watered down s4 would be a better offering than an s4 or s5 mini is laughable imo…samsung literally swapped a plastic rim with an aluminum one…wow ground breaking lol…i just wish that samsung would go back to trying to actually advance their existing phones like the note, s, and mega series, bringing truly evolutionary features instead of tiny incremental updates..the note series would be untouchable if they spent the r and d money advancing the note 3 for the upcoming note 4 rather than developing more and more watered down knock offs of their own flagship devices. I’m all for entry and mid level models, but this mid range device is flagship money for what anyone could essentially do on any galaxy device…swap the rim of their note 3 or s5 with an aftermarket aluminum one…idk I’m a huge samsung fan and have been since the note 1 days but I don’t get what the hell they’re doing with the barrage of garbage phones and tabs constantly

2 years 8 months ago

but if we see the iphone itself, it has smewat a HD screen, an 8mp camera. bt that doesnt make iphone a midrange device rite ? Galaxy alpha is also having a similiar specs of an iphone, evn iphone 6 as per its spec rumours. so it is smewat a competitor fr the nxt iphone…