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Samsung finds itself in the center of conversation quite a bit these days, but probably not for the reasons the manufacturer would like. There's a lot of talk about the "smaller companies" out there, and the fact that they're eating away at Samsung's lead in the smartphone market. Samsung's biggest, and maybe its only, strength at this point is that lead, and just how far it is when compared to, well, everyone.

But to keep that lead, no matter what, you have to continue to release products that people want. Back when Samsung was selling the Galaxy S III, *a lot* of people were wanting Galaxy S-branded devices. Ever since then, though, it's almost seemed like all talk about Galaxy S flagship handsets has been conversations based on "lower than expectations," or just lowered expectations in general.

Was it inevitable? Not necessarily. But, here we are, so it's time to look ahead. What can be done?

Samsung is far from out of the race here. Even if their lead wasn't as far ahead as it is, the company has the capabilities (money) to take chances where others can't, and to release as many phones as they see fit to reverse their trajectory. They've obviously taken up that tactic with their tablet lineup, as the company has released quite a few of those already in 2014.

At the end of 2012, there was a lot of talk about Samsung changing things up, with a major focus on redesign for software. That continued well through 2013, with many people thinking Samsung's TouchWiz would get a major overhaul, just like iOS did with iOS 7. But that ended up not being the case. If we're in the middle of 2014, and people in 2012 were talking about how Samsung should go back to the drawing board to revamp their process, maybe we can see why there's some desire to see new -- and exciting -- things from the company.

Just look at today's "tease." While some headlines suggest Samsung has teased a pair of "high end" devices, that's not really the case. They teased two new phones, one with a big display and one with "new materials," and that's about it. Based on what we've seen, and past experiences, we already know the first of the pair is the Galaxy Note 4. That's a pretty safe bet at this point.

The other device is probably the Galaxy Alpha, and, let's just be clear: If the leaked information on that device is true, this is not a high-end device. Not even a little bit, really. It doesn't even matter if the metal band around the device exists. It's still outfitted with mid-range specifications, like a "small" 720p HD display. And, yes, if Samsung keeps the front and back plastic, but just puts a metal band around the Galaxy Alpha, this would certainly count as a smartphone with "new materials" for Samsung.

New phones are great, Samsung, but no one thought you weren't going to keep launching phones. People just want something . . . different. It's time to go to the drawing board. I can't even tell you how much I don't want the Galaxy Note 4 to look like the Galaxy Note 3. I don't want the new version of TouchWiz to look like the old version of TouchWiz. I want something new. I want to be excited about your smartphones again.

I know it's possible. And I have hope that it's going to happen later this year. My fingers are crossed that that hope doesn't get dashed against sharp rocks.

Are you expecting a lot from Samsung with their two new smartphones later this year? Is the Galaxy Note 4 one device you've kept on your radar? Or do you expect more of the same from the company? Let me know!


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eBay prices for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Jet Black 32GB


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