After years of criticism for its plastic smartphones, Samsung has finally announced a device with a metal frame: the Galaxy Alpha.
The new flagship device will be available from September this year and features a 4.7-inch, 720p Super AMOLED display and a notably slim profile – it’s just 6.7mm thick and weighs only 115 grams.
The Alpha will come with either a quad- or octa-core processor depending on the region of release, although industry watchers have been disappointed by the use of a relatively small battery of 1,860mAh – nearly 1,000mAh less than that of the Galaxy S5.
Samsung says the smartphone is “the evolution of Galaxy Design”, and indeed, the Alpha keeps the same oval-shaped home button and (disappointingly) the same dimpled, plastic back cover. Only the frame of the phone is actually metal, which the same chamfered edges found on the iPhone 5s.
There’s no word on pricing yet, but Samsung say the Alpha will be available in black, white, gold or blue. Samsung are expected to reveal more about the new device after the launch of the new Galaxy Note phablet on September 3.
These new devices will be crucial for the company as it battles against Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 6 (expected in two variants from September 9). However, although the battle against the premium iPhone might be one of prestige, for Samsung the real threat is from cheaper devices produced by Chinese and Indian rivals such as Xiaomi and Micromax.
Market analysts Fitch Ratings warned this week that Samsung’s shipment volumes were only expected to nudge up from 450 million to 460 million this year – despite a predicted industry-wide increase of sales of around 20 per cent to 1.2 billion units. A new high-end device from Samsung won’t do much to help here.
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