'Gadget Spam': Samsung's Galaxy S4 Line Derided on CNNMoney

Image: 'Gadget Spam': Samsung's Galaxy S4 Line Derided on CNNMoney

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 02:12 PM

By Megan Anderle

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Despite Samsung's strong hold over the smart phone market – earning $6.4 billion in profit last quarter – technology journalists and bloggers are critical of the electronics giant's method of launching many devices at once and hoping some become must-haves. For instance, CNNMoney calls its Galaxy S4 line "gadget spam."

Pundits refer to the strategy as “spray and pray,” suggesting Samsung puts out as many devices as possible and then prays that some connect with consumers, according to Boy Genius Report.

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Recently, Adrian Covert of CNNMoney took the criticism a step further, calling Samsung's approach "gadget spam" in a piece about the smart phone giant's Galaxy S4, which has five other S4 devices on store shelves that are slightly different.

"Branding has always been important for Samsung, because it's a company that thrives on gadget spam. Every year, the company releases dozens of its generally excellent televisions, cameras and computers, but aside from four or five models that provide unique features, each one is only slightly different from the next," Covert wrote in a blunt review of the brand's latest line, suggesting branding is more important than the technology itself.

Because Samsung put several devices on the market with the same S4 name for branding purposes, there's no continuity. The original Galaxy S4 hit markets in April, and it was praised as being Samsung's fastest and thinnest device yet, with a high number of pixels.

The phone was a commercial success, but Samsung still released several other devices that don't have much in common with the original – there's the S4 Mini, which is a smaller version, the S4 Zoom, which marries a smartphone with a full functioning point-and-shoot camera, S4 Active, which is waterproof and dustproof. Finally, there's the S4 Mega, which strangely offers a massive 6.3-inch display but has fewer pixels than the original.

The line is gimmicky – Samsung should just stick to what they know: the original S4, Covert argues, which set off waves among tech experts.

"From a pure hardware perspective, there's no logical concept or idea that really links these phones together aside from being Samsung products," he wrote in a column on Monday.

But, he concedes, "from a business perspective, it all makes sense."

"The Galaxy S brand sells. It is a trusted, established name among all consumers -- not just the nerds. And in the world of Google's Android operating system, brands are ultimately more important than the hardware itself. It's not unlike picking a car, he wrote.

"Samsung could have given each of its new phones a different name, spending millions of dollars on marketing. Or it could lean on what it knows to be successful … Then again, if Samsung misfires and waters down its brand with sub par products, it could matter a lot," he added.

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