Commentary

Samsung Can't Please Everybody

Samsung raised expectations with a series of earlier-than-usual product announcements last week but some tech critics are expressing frustration over everything from unavailable product to poor marketing, and at least one competitor has jumped on it for its distribution strategy.

Writing for The Verge, Vlad Savov faults Samsung for a series of missteps, from putting an emphasis on the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ which, he feels, were underwhelming to overall poor marketing, bad presentation and contradictory information.

“Here's a quick summary of Samsung's accomplishments over the past week: it launched two high-spec smartphones with their own distinct features and design; it opened preorders immediately; it delivered some of the phones early, ahead of a full release this Friday,” he writes. “All great successes — except then the company proceeded to alienate its most avid fans without giving regular consumers a clear enough message why they should buy the suddenly available devices.”

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And the Galaxy Note 5 will not be available in Europe, apparently, a decision that LG “brilliantly” makes fun of on Twitter, writes Pavithra Rathinavel for International Business Times. “For everyone that marked a Note on their calendar, sorry,” reads the tweet promoting its own LG G4 device. “We’d never do that to you.”

On the positive side, “Samsung has made the world’s best smartphone display even better,’ writes Raymond Soneira, a research scientist who has been tracking the development of OLED displays for five years for Gizmodo.

Unclear, however, is whether Verizon will support Samsung Pay, the forthcoming mobile payment system that will compete with Apple Pay. 

“Samsung believes it has one critical fact that will work in its favor: its tech works with a much larger number of existing payment terminals,” according to the BBC, which reports that Samsung Pay is already available in Korea, will come to the U.S. on Sept. 28 and expand into the U.K,. Spain and China in the near future.

But “SamMobile reported on Tuesday that Verizon Wireless won't be supporting Samsung Pay, based on a Twitter conversation: The official Samsung Support USA team said ‘Verizon isn't part of Samsung Pay,’” writes Kevin Tofel for ZDNet. “And it isn't. But it might be.” Verizon Wireless media reps tell Tofel the company “is in the process of evaluating Samsung Pay.”

Samsung also touted a “fast wireless charging pad that takes advantage of the smartphones' new, speedier Qi charging spec,” writes Jon Fingas for Engadget. “Well, you can now pre-order that charging pad ... in a manner of speaking. The $70 peripheral is available to purchase on Samsung's website as I write, but dropping it in your cart reveals that it's back-ordered and doesn't have an estimated ship date.”

All of the products Samsung unveiled last week would normally have been unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin in early September, points out Tom Dawson for Android Headlines. It will still be holding a press conference there on Sept. 3, and he suggests “another high-end Galaxy tablet could be in the cards.” He also wonders if there might be more details forthcoming about the “mysterious round smartwatch we’ve been hearing a lot about.”

Indeed, Samsung “teased” the smartwatch at its event last week and yesterday posted the video for it on YouTube, where it has already attracted more than 185,000 views. The Samsung Gear S2 “looks nothing like Gear S,” writes Romain Dillet for TechCrunch. “It’s a smaller, more fashionable watch that will go head-to-head against the Apple Watch.”

“Samsung says the watch will be introduced … on September 3rd; that is, so long as Samsung restrains itself from showing off the entire thing before then,” writes Jacob Kastrenakes for The Verge. “Oh, and in case you were wondering how the Gear S2 looks in a fashion shoot, Samsung has you covered.”

One beat Samsung can definitively claim: the thumping baseline in background music for the Gear S2 video compared to the trilling piano on Apple’s iWatch videos.

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