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May 25th 2012 11:21 pm

Are We Over Plastic Smartphones?

There is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S III has an impressive spec sheet. Even though the phone doesn't bring much new to the table, it appears that it will be competing with HTC's One X for the throne atop the Android mountain. One part of Samsung's new device has me less than impressed though.

The device is a totally plastic, wholly generic, typically Samsung design. In the age of One S, X, Lumia 900, and the iPhone 4S, the look and feel of the Galaxy S III is out of step. Build quality and eye-catching design have been the de rigueur differentiators in the smartphone market of 2012. The Lumia 900 is a gdgt Must Have with a single-core processor. I understand that the polycarbonate unibodies of the One X and Lumia 900 are technically plastic. But I technically don't care. They look better, they feel better, and seem to be more durable than the phones of last year.

Samsung needs to step up their aesthetics. Products like the Galaxy S, Note, and Tab prove that the Korean firm has the gall to try new form factors and differently size devices. Why can't they seem to exceed or even match their competitors in terms of design aesthetics?

Am I the only one that this bothers?

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8 replies

Samsung clearly makes their decisions based on the numbers. As soon as someone exhibits to management that using better materials will equate to more sales at an equal or higher profit margin, you can bet your last dollar they will change their phones. Until then, I wouldn't hold my breath. I have handled a lot of phones, and I still like the materials of my Motorola Photon 4G the best. Maybe if Google uses Motorola to set the example of good Android hardware it will pressure the other manufacturers to find a way to make those numbers work out.
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I'm seeing a lot of enthusiasm for Google taking a bigger role in Motorola. Do you think it could have a negative impact on the whole of the Android hardware ecosystem though? Google having a larger stake in Motorola's affairs does line up well with the rumored expansion of the Nexus program.
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It's been reported the big factor in the Motorola Mobility purchase was the patent portfolio. I wouldn't be surprised if the Google, like they do with Android, just let them operate independently of everything else.
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I would have tended to agree with the part about letting them continue to run independently... until they replaced the CEO. Now I am not so sure. Either way, I don't think it can hurt the ecosystem in the least. The next year is going to be really interesting.
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Honestly, plastic on phones really doesn't bother me. It's bad designs that bother me.

In general, I think plastic on phones is a good option though. From what I understand, plastic for one doesn't interfere with cellular radios, won't break when dropped (cough iPhone cough), and is pretty strong in itself (and light, too).
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I thought this was an HTC ONE X discussion group.
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Nope. This bothers the heck out of me too. I totally agree with you, Samsung's designs are too conservative and similar to their other phones. I mean seriously, essentially the only design difference between the GSII and the GSIII is the fact that the GSIII has rounded edges and the camera, flash, and speaker are in different places.
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I've never much liked Samsung handsets. Besides the slide out speaker (which reminded me of my old Sammy K5 PMP), the reason my first Windows Phone was a HTC Surround versus a Samsung Focus was the difference in build quality. The Focus felt like it was made of the thinnest, cheapest plastic available. I like a handset to have some heft to it. My Surround has been beat every which way of Sunday and it still has little to no issues to show for my abuse. Everyone I know with a Focus had to "beef it up" with a hard shell case.
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