Samsung expanded its smartphone lineup on Monday, announcing the Galaxy S Advance for various markets around the world. Next month, the new Android 2.3 (s GOOG) handset goes on sale first in Russia and then in the CIS (Commonwealth of International States), Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast and Southwest Asia, Latin America and China. The U.S. is noticeably absent from the list, but I doubt anyone here will care.
I looked at the specifications and images of the Galaxy S Advance and don’t see any compelling reason for the phone to be sold in the U.S. The same could be said for many other regions as well. Why? There is nothing new or innovative here in the Galaxy S Advance; it’s a slightly tweaked clone of the Galaxy S II, with a few lower-end components to keep the price down.
Here are the specs provided by Samsung: a dual-core 1 GHz processor, curved design, a 4-inch Super AMOLED display at 800 x 480 resolution, 14.4 Mbps HSPA connectivity, 5 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front camera and Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. At least the name makes sense: It “advances” the hardware over the original Galaxy S but is inside a Galaxy S II body.
Perhaps I’m being overly harsh here, and I trust readers to keep me honest in the comments. Truth be told, I like Samsung products and have bought several; my daily phone and tablet are both made by Samsung. But those were unique products that truly advanced the mobile device, not a franken-phone put together from spare parts lying around Samsung’s production facilities.
The easy argument against my way of thinking is to point out that by most measures, Samsung and Apple are racing neck and neck to be the overall smartphone sales leader. Samsung’s recent rise in smartphone sales is in many ways because it took a similar approach to Apple’s(s aapl): Build a solid flagship phone that can be tweaked for carriers, design your own chips, and flesh out the software ecosystem.
By constantly churning out Galaxy S clones, Samsung’s device portfolio is beginning to remind me of Nokia’s vast array of smartphones. And because of that, Samsung runs the risk of losing some of its brand status; as more Samsung handsets start to look alike, the star of the Galaxy could cease to burn brightly.