Samsung is going for the gold. Today, it tweeted the announcement of a Gold Pink and Gold Brown version of the Galaxy S4, which appears to be a United Arab Emirates exclusive color. What a shock, the fanboys will say, but it’s not just Samsung that’s guilty of blatantly copying Apple’s new iPhone 5S. HTC has been rumored to be hastily spraying its One in gold, too.
So, Samsung, what’s next? When can we expect the S4 Burka Edition? After all, you’re feeding one stereotype by releasing your new gold Galaxy S4 phones in the Middle East, so why not go all out? What’s that? You’ve got one on the test bench, but are waiting for Apple to announce one first? Of course you are! While you’re at it, best get the Space Gray model ready, except you’ll call it Galactic Gray, won’t you? We probably won’t be able to miss it; it’ll be the one with the fingerprint scanner. And hey, we know you’ve got your 64-bit processor already in the works, because you made sure to let us know almost immediately after the iPhone 5S event.
Now, it’s inevitable there will be some people who’re already formulating a reply along the lines of, “Samsucks always copies Apple!!11!!,” but in the past, any similarities have been based on established, high-selling trends. This time, it appears the trend is being manufactured for us. We really have no idea how well the gold iPhone is going to do once everyone has settled down and it’s actually available in stores. The blatant copying of Apple’s decision to try gold is not only unpleasant, it’s also unwanted.
The bizarre thing is, I don’t remember anyone at all shouting about how they were desperate for a gold smartphone, but now that the gold iPhone is here, it seems to have sparked a proverbial gold rush among Apple’s competitors to bring out a similarly hued model of their own. It looks like nobody is listening to us as customers. They’re just looking toward Apple for guidance about what to do next. This time last week, none of the major smartphone manufacturers produced a gold phone. Now there are three of them, with another on the way. Why? Who’s pounding down doors for one?
There are certainly a few interested people on the Samsung Gulf Facebook page, but there are also plenty of people pointing out Samsung’s “flattery” of Apple. “Oh boy,” says one commenter, “can’t wait for the fingerprint sensor and a new UI design.” He’s got a point, and one shouldn’t forget about the Galaxy Gear smartwatch either, which may itself be an early reaction to persistent rumors of Apple’s iWatch. You know, the one that has yet to arrive.
At least the Gear is interesting, but gold phones of any description are eye-rollingly tacky, and the gold iPhone and its dribbling gaggle of fans is depressing. The situation was made much worse by Samsung’s astonishingly speedy decision to release its own gaudy imitation. Now, it’s suicide watch time, as the news people are buying gold iPhones at a massive premium makes it look like all we ever wanted in life was a gold phone.
I wonder what life is like at Samsung now that it has announced its golden phones? Do they realize how blatantly silly this is? Do Samsung executives sit there like puppies that have done something naughty on the carpet, thinking, “I’m better than that, but I just couldn’t help it.” The thing is, I’m sure Samsung is better than this. It has an amazing octa-core processor, a host of annoying/cool TouchWiz apps, Super AMOLED screens, and lots more to call its own. Earlier this week, it even talked about a forthcoming phone with a flexible, curved screen. This is what we want, Samsung – cool tech we love to write about, read about, and use. What we don’t want is to see you perpetuating stereotypes of not only those who may be interested in buying a gold phone, but also that all you’re capable of doing is copying Apple.