Stop throwing specs at rumored iPhone killers

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| July 14, 2014

With so many companies involved with bringing Google's Android to market for consumers, the idea of a "leader" was inevitable. It's just the way these things go. Talking about the "king of Android" has gone back and forth between HTC and Samsung more than a few times, and it's even included the likes of LG and Sony. Competition in the Android army is stiff, and every company wants that device that grabs everyone's attention for the longest period of time in a year. (Until they can replace it with something better, obviously.)

HTC was the company to beat for a long time at the start of the Android movement across the world. The company released plenty of devices at that point, and quite a few of them were certainly noteworthy, and many of them were stand-out handsets that really made Android quite interesting and worth using. But, as most things do, and as every company has suffered through in one way or another at some point, things got muddied and the path was lost.

And that's where Samsung's Galaxy S lineup came into play, and suddenly Samsung saw a yearly refresh cycle that caught fire with consumers all across the planet. Plus, the variants they could build from that lineup. Follow it up with the Galaxy Note series of phablets, and boom, you've got yourself a company that's the new leader of the army. It's been like that for awhile now, and obviously Samsung wants to do everything it can to stay in that position.

Which is great! And I hope other companies continue to try and displace Samsung, because we keep getting great handsets like HC's One (M8) and LG's G3. 

Samsung, though, is obviously in a race to beat itself, chasing its own tail 'round and 'round, because it just can't stop releasing high-end, flagship devices. In the United States and plenty of other international markets, the Galaxy S5 is the company's first flagship for 2014, but it was quickly replaced with the Galaxy S5 LTE-A -- a better handset in several aspects, but a smartphone only present in one market, instead of many. But they're not done, yet. They've still got the Galaxy F, which many thought was the Galaxy S5 LTE-A, but is apparently something else entirely.

We've got word earlier today that the Galaxy F could be known as the Galaxy Alpha (Galaxy A, anyone? Blast from the past) when it launches later this year, possibly as early as August. With it, Samsung is "finally" going to jump into the metal smartphone market, and as the report suggests, go after Apple's iPhone 6.

That's all well and good, but the report also points out that Samsung is going to do this by throwing in even better specifications than what you can find in the Galaxy S5 right now. So, more than 3GB of RAM. Probably the same type of QHD display, but maybe bigger than the Galaxy S5's (because bigger is better), and probably a faster processor under the hood (which they've already installed in the Galaxy S5 LTE-A).

This doesn't actually solve anything, because Android devices have already been throwing in better specifications into their phones when compared to the iPhone for . . . well, always. Pretty much right from the start, right? The idea that the iPhone can be beaten by another handset because of the sheer amount of power, or specifications list, isn't new, and it's certainly not revolutionary. Every company has tried it. Including Samsung. And considering the iPhone continues to sell like hot cakes, the legitimacy of those efforts are easily put into question.

Yet, here we are with another high-end flagship Android-based device, this time with a rumored metal construction from Samsung (and just when I was getting used to plastic phones), and all that it has going for it, apparently, in its fight against the iPhone is "better specs."

Okay, great, but how about while you do that, you also improve other things? Like the fingerprint sensor that was introduced with the Galaxy S5? Make that thing work . . . more, and better. I'd also like to see something other than TouchWiz on the device, but if Samsung refuses to stop using (or even really change) their proprietary software, then I'd accept major software improvements, tweaks and refinements as well. So that when I show off the software with all those high-end internals under the hood, I'm not flustered several months later by unimpressive response times or hit with lag.

I'm sure the Galaxy Alpha, or whatever it's called if it turns out to be real, will be great, and I'm sure Samsung will have yet another popular family lineup of devices see the light of day. But this idea that companies need to try and "kill" the competition is a tired one. Samsung has already shown in years prior that quieting the competition can just mean releasing the best phone possible for the time. HTC and LG and Motorola are doing that now, with the One series, the G series and Moto series, respectively.

The question for the Galaxy Alpha should be: is it the best possible phone for the time? And, perhaps even more pressing, will it completely outshine the Galaxy Note 4 that's rumored to be launched this year, or will that particular handset make everyone forget about the Galaxy Alpha just a month later?