Samsung's gamble: can the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge save Samsung?

Samsung's gamble: can the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge save Samsung?

It's no secret that Samsung took a page out of Apple's book with its strategy for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Delivering a premium feel and metal frame, ditching microSD and a removable battery (two of Samsung's cornerstones) and coming with a very high price tag, the next Galaxy sounds an awful lot like an iPhone.

samsung galaxy s6 edge front brand
The Galaxy S6 Edge is a gamble made with chips borrowed from Apple. / © ANDROIDPIT

With the first Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge deliveries being made to eager punters, Samsung seems to have made a good move with the price hike and shifting feature set. Our recent survey showed that half of existing Samsung fans were upset by the removal of microSD and removable battery, and would either abandon Samsung in future or at least consider other manufacturers. So what's behind all this shifting ground, and is it really so different to the status quo?

The LG G3 (right) did Samsung features better than the Galaxy S5 (left). / © ANDROIDPIT

LG becomes more like Samsung

Let's backtrack a little to the LG G3. When the G3 arrived in mid-2014 with microSD expansion and a removable battery, a lot of people were pleased because all of a sudden there was a viable alternative to Samsung.

This was especially true for those seriously committed to those two particular features but also in terms of camera (the G3 camera is still amongst the best on any phone). The LG G3 was one of the best phone cameras of 2014 and it rapidly became one of the best phones of 2014. And so LG successfully copied Samsung.

Nexus5 vs iPhone6 2
The iPhone 6 learned a lot from Google's Android platform. / © ANDROIDPIT

Apple becomes more like Android

Jump ahead a few months to the end of 2014 and the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, two versions of the iPhone with larger screens than any other iPhone before them. Android fanatics were quick to claim Apple had finally recognized that Android had it right all along: consumers do indeed want larger screens on their smartphones.

To a degree this is certainly true. The iPhone 6 launch also coincided with several other Android-first features like third-party keyboards, NFC payments, widgets and so on. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales have been impressive, partially due to larger screens and ''Android'' features. And so, Apple successfully copied Android.

galaxy s6 vs iphone 6 08
Samsung clearly took a few pages out of Apple's book with the Galaxy S6. / © ANDROIDPIT

Samsung becomes more like Apple

Jump ahead to recent times and we see the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge delivered with a check list that sounds very much like an iPhone: no microSD card expansion, no removable battery, very large internal storage options and a premium, metallic build quality coupled with a price tag that's off the charts. With the pricing of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge right up there with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus price points, it seems, Samsung successfully copied Apple. So what's going on?

galaxy s6 vs iphone 6 03
Copying your competitors successes is all part and parcel of the game. / © ANDROIDPIT

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

We've written previously about Samsung's problematic logic in terms of the long-term viability of its product strategy. There is currently a widespread theory that Samsung is trying to tackle the recent iPhone's successes with a taste of Apple's own medicine: out-premiuming the premium, as it were.

If the iPhone is no longer the most expensive phone around, it certainly does throw the spotlight elsewhere for those with more money than sense. If you want the best of the best then surely you should have the most expensive, right?

samsung galaxy s6 s6 edge
The S6 and S6 Edge are jam-packed with power and performance. / © ANDROIDPIT

Price backed up by power

The good news is that Samsung also has the hardware to back up the pricing of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. With the very impressive octa-core Exynos 7420 powering things along with 3 GB of RAM, storage options including 128 GB and a camera that leaves the iPhone 6 in the dust, the price tag Samsung has attached to its new devices seems like it could well be justified. Or at the very least it is ''justified'' in the same sense that the iPhone price tag is.

Of course it can also be said that the iPhone doesn't deserve its price tag and the same could be true of the S6 and S6 Edge. It's all a matter of perspective. Dropping a thousand dollars on a phone is beyond the pale for most people, but the strategy could just work for Samsung in the same way it has for Apple.

Samsung plastic
Despite some exceptional devices, Samsung has been in a slump for a while. / © Samsung/AndroidPIT

Last ditch effort or visionary shift?

As Samsung's profits dropped dramatically last year with a less-than-impressive Galaxy S5 and a whole bevy of mid-range and entry-level smartphones flooding an already-flooded market, this year's strategy looks to be to recoup profits with a pair of seriously priced flagships aimed at the ultra-premium tier, much like Apple. It's simply a case of copying what your competitor does better than you.

As Apple borrows screen size and various features from Android, Samsung borrows the premium pricing and ''fashion'' strategy from Apple and LG gleefully fills the space previously occupied by Samsung before ditching microSD cards and removable batteries. If previous Samsung aficionados are likely to now abandon Samsung for LG, it is just as likely that others from the iPhone side of the fence will now give the S6 a second look.

The Galaxy S6 in many ways represents a critical turning point for Samsung. / © ANDROIDPIT

So while the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge may have seemed like a radical change (which they at least for Samsung), they are simply a symptom of a larger cycle of imitation, evolution (but certainly not revolution) and borrowing from ones competitors, especially those held to be ''better'' than yourself. That Samsung, Apple and LG are caught up in the imitation game is obvious, but this year's price hikes and back-to-basics features will be next year's price cuts and all-new feature set.

What do you think of these permutations? Will Samsung's gamble pay off?

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  • Eddy Jones Apr 15, 2015 Link to comment

    I don't have this issue with my Gold Platinum 64GB S6 Edge

    I did however have a more serious issue with screen rotation on my First Black Sapphire 64GB Edge

    And While Samsung say's my phone is one of a limited number that is affected

    Samsung told Sprint to replace any S6 phone brought in with the Screen rotation issue

    People who have or had phones like the one I had with the screen rotation glitch that have called Samsung said they we're told to bring the phone back to where they bought it to have it replaced

    Just to see for myself I also Called Samsung and describe how my phone was behaving (well the first phone that is) and Samsung did indeed tell me to take it back to where I bought it and have it returned

    Of course this was a couple of day's too late Because Friday night I became frustrated over my photo's not going into landscape mode and Video's I had downloaded also wouldn't go into landscape mode no matter what I did I couldn't make watch videos or Watch Movies in Landscape Mode so I went back to Sprint Friday before they closed and told them what it was doing

    The Store I use is a Company store with a repair shop. The repair Tech's looked online Friday night to see if other people we're having a problem With Screen Rotation and Photos and Videos not going into landscape mode as well as opening Chrome or the other Internet app in landscape mode and it locked i to landscape forcing me to close everything

    That Friday night The Tech's at the Sprint Store didn't find anything online. And the two S6 phone's on display were working perfectly

    So was the S6 Edge and S6 phone's owned by a 3 of the employees who we're happy to let me see that their phones worked great.

    Since they found nothing online Friday (the day they went on sale) They told me to go home and do a hard reset which at the time they thought would fix the problem

    I did a hard reset Saturday and it did nothing to help with the screen rotation I went online Saturday and finally found that I wasn't the only one having this problem I thought it might have been the update everyone got minutes after activating their S6 and S6 Edge phones and that was the general consensus among owners

    I took my phone back to Sprint Sunday after the hard reset failed to fix it and they said they had been waiting for me.

    Samsung had told them that the phone's having trouble with screen rotation was because of a critical software glitch and Samsung had told them to replace any phone brought in with this issue because Samsung wanted to get their hands on as many of the affected phone's as possible

    Samsung also told them that the affected phone's are a limited number

    I believe that concerning this one software error Samsung isn't planning on sending out a patch or any kind of update to fix it

    They just want the affected phone's returned to where they were purchased so they can be replaced with a working phone

    Then they can tear the affected phone's apart and find out what went wrong at their leisure

    Am I mad that the first phone They gave me was screwed up and had to be replaced.



    Now if they had said tough you bought it it's yours now it would be a entirely different story

  • Eduardo Oliveira Apr 14, 2015 Link to comment

    I am very disappointed with the battery. I disconnected the phone from the charger at night (100% charged) before going to bed, and left it on until 8:30 am, without usage. When I checked the battery level in the morning it was showing only 55%. It's lasting less than my Samsung S4.

  •   11
    Deactivated Account Apr 11, 2015 Link to comment

    I will not buy the S6 or S6 Edge. I had been waiting for the S6 to buy a new phone. When Samsung followed Apple with non removable battery or memory card they lost me. I was going to wait for the Note 5 but it to big for me. The battery is the biggest issue with me because it limits the life of the phone. Batteries are only good for 2 years if your a average user less if your a heavy user. My S3 will be 3 years old in about a month and I am on the 3rd battery. SD card can be used though the USB connector so it is not as big an issue with me. I mainly only use it for backup anyway. The only problem there are less and less phones with these option. I am on a hunt for a new brand with these option any suggestions?

  • Ashun Enimil Apr 11, 2015 Link to comment

    Samsung can never match Apple. Apple releases its updates to all qualified handsets at a go but it takes forever to even know if a year old Samsung handset even qualifies for the next updates. Before Samsung releases an update to its handsets those updates may have already become outdated. I have been in the Samsung tablet ecosystem since Note 10.1 buying 12.2 but my next purchase would certain not be a Samsung.

  • Glostermeteor Apr 11, 2015 Link to comment

    I will not be buying either the S6 or S6 Edge, I liked Samsung precisely because they WERENT apple, and the MicroSD and Removeable battery were really useful featuresets. I am going to look at HTC or LG next time round

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