There was always a reason to get excited when Samsung announced a new Unpacked event. These events became synonymous with new product launches. The company would unveil a brand new device that fans had been looking forward to for weeks.
The Unpacked events were always special. Before COVID, Samsung gathered company executives, media, partners and fans from across the globe to attend its lavish Unpacked events held in San Francisco and New York. Since 2020, all Unpacked events have been an entirely online affair but at least they kept true to their DNA.
When Samsung confirmed its surprise Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 event for October 20 the fans immediately assumed that we were getting a brand new device. Previous rumors had suggested that the Galaxy S21 FE would finally be unveiled in October.
That was the only Unpacked-worthy device Samsung had left for 2021. Its new foldables got their own Unpacked event in August. The Galaxy S21 series came out in January. There won’t be a new Galaxy Note series and the Galaxy S22 lineup isn’t due until 2022.
Last year, the company conducted its “Galaxy Unpacked for Every Fan” event on September 23 to launch the Galaxy S20 FE. It only seemed plausible that the handset’s successor would also get its own separate event branded as such.
Even though the Galaxy A handsets are some of the best Samsung phones in any given year, the company has never given them an Unpacked launch. These events have been reserved for high-end devices. So the logical conclusion that many reached was that Samsung will finally unveil the Galaxy S21 FE.
Our readers might remember that we exclusively reported before the October 20 Unpacked was even announced that the Galaxy S21 FE won’t be launched in 2021. From what we hear, Samsung is actually planning on launching the device in January next year.
The event today had nothing to do with brand new devices. Samsung leveraged the equity that the Unpacked event had to announce the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition. It’s not a “new” device by any stretch of the imagination. Everything is exactly the same as the regular Galaxy Z Flip 3.
The Bespoke Edition only lets customers choose a personalized color option from a diverse palette. Devices unveiled at Samsung’s Unpacked events are always widely made available across the globe. The sad part is that even though this Unpacked event was beamed to a global audience, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition will only be available in barely half a dozen countries.
We do recognize the bold step that Samsung has taken with the Bespoke Edition. An initiative like this hasn’t been taken before by any phone maker. Samsung is going far beyond allowing customers to choose custom colors once. It’s even allowing Bespoke Edition customers to change the color of their device whenever they want.
It’s a testament to the company’s design and supply chain capabilities. Providing such customization at scale is no easy task. As customers prefer more personalization, Samsung is stepping up to meet their expectations.
We don’t find fault with the launch of a Bespoke Edition. On the contrary, it’s one of the best customer-centric steps Samsung has ever taken. Hopefully, the company will expand its Bespoke Edition to cover more devices. It’s only that this wasn’t that big of an announcement to warrant an Unpacked event.
Samsung also announced a collaboration with French Japanese fashion house Maison Kitsuné for the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Buds 2. Again, it’s a purely cosmetic change that won’t matter much to those who have already bought these devices. Yet again, these wearables decked out in Maison Kitsuné designs won’t be available everywhere.
So it begs the question, why did Samsung feel the need to call this an Unpacked event? It feels like the company just didn’t want to be left out. Apple and Google had events this week to launch entirely new products.
Maybe Samsung did this event just for the heck of it so that its rivals didn’t hog all the spotlight. It knew that calling the event Unpacked would get it the kind of coverage its main events always get. So it did that but ended up ruining cheapening the Unpacked brand.
Expectations for future Unpacked events have been lowered by Samsung itself through this stunt. One can only hope that the company doesn’t continue to do this every time it has a minor cosmetic change to announce for its flagship phones. It’s going to be a real shame seeing the Unpacked event being reduced to a marketing stunt.