Samsung Galaxy Alpha in White
|Series||Galaxy A series|
|Compatible networks||(GSM/GPRS/EDGE): 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900 MHz;
3G (HSDPA 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s): 850, 900, 1,900 and 2,100 MHz;
LTE: 800, 850, 900, 1,800, 2,100 and 2,600 MHz
3G TD-SCDMA 1900 / 2000 MHz
|First released||August 13, 2014|
|Availability by country||September 2014|
|Discontinued||December 29, 2014|
|Successor||Samsung Galaxy A3/A5/A7 (2015)|
|Related||Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini
|Dimensions||132.4 mm (5.21 in) H
65.5 mm (2.58 in) W
6.7 mm (0.26 in) D
|Weight||115 g (4.1 oz)|
|Operating system||Original: Android 4.4.4 "KitKat"
Current: Android 5.0.2 "Lollipop"
|System on chip||Exynos 5 Octa 5430 (Global)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC (U.S & China)
|CPU||ARM Big Little (ARM Cortex-A15 MP4 1.8 GHz CPU + ARM Cortex-A7 MP4 1.3 GHz CPU) (Global)
Qualcomm Krait 400 MP4 2.5 Ghz (U.S & China)
|GPU||ARM Mali T628MP6 (Global)
Qualcomm Adreno 330 578 Mhz (U.S & China)
|Battery||Replaceable 1860 mAh Li-ion-Battery|
|Display||4.7 in (120 mm) 1280×720 px Super AMOLED (312 ppi)|
|Front camera||2.1 megapixels (1080p) HD video recording @ 30 fps back-illuminated sensor|
Samsung Galaxy Alpha is an Android smartphone produced by Samsung Electronics. Unveiled on August 13, 2014, the device was released in September 2014. A high-end device, the Galaxy Alpha is Samsung's first smartphone to incorporate a metallic frame, although the remainder of its physical appearance still resembles previous models such as the Galaxy S5. It also incorporates Samsung's new Exynos 5430 system-on-chip, which is the first mobile system-on-chip to use a 20 nanometer manufacturing process.
The Galaxy Alpha received mixed reviews; although praised for its higher quality build and design in comparison to earlier products, the device was panned for its modest specifications in comparison to its flagship counterpart, the Galaxy S5, and for being priced too high for what they considered to be a "mid-range" smartphone.
Samsung has historically been criticized for its continued use of low-quality polycarbonate materials on its flagship smartphone products, even as its competitors have made phones utilizing higher quality plastics or unibody aluminium frames. Despite these issues with build quality, Samsung has still been considered the most dominant Android OEM. However, in July 2014, the company reported its lowest profits in over two years, and a drop in market share from 32.3% to 25.2% over the past year. The loss in market share was attributed primarily to growing competition from vendors such as HTC and LG, and similarly increased competition in the low and mid-range markets from vendors such as Huawei and Motorola (who is currently in the process of being sold by Google to Lenovo).
In early-June 2014, images leaked of an upcoming Samsung phone tentatively known as the "Galaxy F", shown alongside a Galaxy S5: it incorporated a metallic frame, thinner bezels around the screen than the S5, and was to allegedly include a quad HD display, Snapdragon 805 system-on-chip, along with the heart rate sensor and water/dust-proofing from the S5. On June 18, 2014, Samsung would unveil an LTE-Advanced version of the S5 with a quad HD display, exclusively for release in South Korea. A Samsung representative stated it had "no plans" to release this device globally.
In late July 2014, further images leaked of the rumored device, now identified as the "Galaxy Alpha"; the device depicted was now a mid-range device positioned below the S5, incorporating a metallic frame, a 720p 4.7 in (120 mm) display similar to the Galaxy S III, and no expandable storage. On July 31, 2014, Kim Hyun-joon, senior vice president of Samsung's mobile business, told investors that the company was planning to release a major new device incorporating "new materials" by the end of 2014. Critics interpreted his statement as signs that the company was planning to make a metal smartphone, but that it could also be a new entry in the Galaxy Note series.
On August 13, 2014, Samsung officially unveiled the Galaxy Alpha. Samsung Electronics CEO JK Shin explained that the Alpha was "built and designed based on the specific desires of the consumer market." The company touted that the Galaxy Alpha would mark a "new design approach" for Samsung's products, and that elements from the Alpha could appear on future Samsung models.
In December 2014, it was reported that, only three months after its release, Samsung planned to end production of the Alpha in favor of its successor, the similarly-designed, but more competitively-priced fully metal Galaxy A5 along with Galaxy A3 and the A7. Samsung's new design philosophy would be fully realized by its 2015 flagship, the Galaxy S6, which combined a unibody metal frame with a glass backing.
The Galaxy Alpha's overall design is an evolution upon that of the Galaxy S5, incorporating a chamferred metal frame and a dimpled, plastic rear cover. With a thickness of 6.7 mm (0.26 in)At the time, the Galaxy Alpha was the company's thinnest smartphone.
International models of the Alpha utilize an octa-core, Exynos 5430 system-on-chip; consisting of a bank of four 1.8 GHz Cortex-A15 cores, and four 1.3 GHz Cortex-A7 cores. The Exynos 5430 is the first ever mobile system-on-chip to use a 20 nanometer HKMG manufacturing process. The international model was the first device to incorporate Intel's XMM7260 modem for category 6 LTE Advanced support. U.S. models include a 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 processor instead; both models will include 2 GB of RAM.
The Galaxy Alpha features a 720p 4.7 in (120 mm) Super AMOLED display, and also incorporates a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera, fingerprint and heart rate sensors, and removable 1860 mAh battery. The device includes 32 GB of non-expandable storage, and runs Android 4.4.4 "KitKat" with Samsung's TouchWiz software suite.
While praising Samsung's decision to begin manufacturing a smartphone that incorporates actual metal in its design, critics noted that despite its "premium" appearance, the internal specifications of the Galaxy Alpha were "mid-range" in comparison to the S5, with particular emphasis placed on the device's smaller, lower-resolution screen, the replacement of its USB 3.0 port with a USB 2.0 port, and its smaller battery. However, Ars Technica noted that the lower screen resolution could offset the lower capacity of the device's battery, and ExtremeTech also noted that the smaller battery would make the device lighter, and the lower resolution of the display could improve the responsiveness of Samsung's Android distribution. In conclusion, the Alpha was considered by ExtremeTech to be "a hedge against several troubling trends for the world’s largest smartphone maker", believing that its slimmer build and higher quality design were an attempt to compete against the then-upcoming iPhone 6, which features a 4.7 inch display.
Engadget described the Galaxy Alpha as Samsung's "most beautiful phone yet", praising its design for being "simple, yet elegant; minimal, yet profuse". Its overall performance was considered to be up to par with the Galaxy S5, and its display was described as being "acceptable" for its class. However, the Galaxy Alpha was criticized for being too expensive for its class, concluding that "the only reason you'd want to pick this over the Galaxy S5, which is available for a similar price, is that you prefer a smaller size or more solid build. But even then, this design isn't a one-and-done; you'll be able to get the same fit and finish on the Note 4 and Note Edge (albeit with larger screens)."
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