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Samsung caught exaggerating Galaxy Tab thinness, faking fans

updated 11:50 am EDT, Sat March 26, 2011

Samsung insists Galaxy Tab 10.1 still intact

Samsung suffered minor embarrassment at the end of CTIA this week after it was caught distorting claims surrounding the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1. A side-by-side look on Thursday showed the that the updated Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was supposedly slimmed down to 8.6mm just to beat the iPad 2, now appears to still be slightly thicker. A spokesman, after seeing the defeat, didn't explicitly deny to InformationWeek that Samsung had exaggerated the claims but said the official specifications pointed to it being 0.02mm thinner than Apple's despite evidence to the contrary.

Shortly afterwards, an investigation found that Samsung's Galaxy Tab Interview Project, which was supposed to be an series of talks with real people showing their reactions to the Android tablets, was using paid actors. The Technologizer hunt showed that Samsung had given the actors fake titles without even trying to hide their real names. "Freelance travel writer" Joan Hess was a New York City actress by the same name. "Real estate CEO" Joseph Kolinski was also a New York actor. Karl Shefelman was indeed a film director, but one who had also done paid work for Samsung in the past.

Neither discovery has a major practical impact on the usability or quality of the new Galaxy Tabs, but they significantly undermine Samsung's claims that it could trump Apple at its own game. The Korean company was incensed at being outdone and, at CTIA, said it didn't intend to go into a market without the intention of being the leader. The thinness claim is doubly injurious since it not only appears to be inaccurate but won't be realized until June 8, roughly three months after the iPad 2 was already on store shelves.

Insincerely using paid actors isn't a new strategy in technology when a company wants to convey a positive image. Microsoft started off its Laptop Hunters ad campaign with a paid actress that it insisted was authentic in the spot but whose Screen Actors Guild connection cast doubt on the entire project. Samsung's more evident strategy suggested that it wasn't able to or comfortable with finding people in the real world.

By Electronista Staff


  1. charlituna

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009


    they need to make changes all right

    But mostly in things like making sure they have Flash at release and it works.

    Also their marketing. Going after the exact same market in the exact same ways as the Ipad won't work.

    Going after the folks that feel the ipad is too restricted and want a 'real' tablet, that could.

  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004


    Totally predictable...

    Any time Samsung admits something negative, you can be sure they will try to retract it a couple days later. That's their M.O...

  1. SwissMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2006


    comment title

    They have to sell a minimum number of the device to breakeven and since it is rumoured the 2 million that went out were only sent out to agents, but not actually sold at retail to users they won't want to bring out a new model for fear of upsetting all the agents holding unsold items.

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2006


    Samsung Tablet

    Come one, Samsung. Make it thinner than Apple. How about 8.799999999mm, uh?

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Little Late

    I don't know which is worse--having your top exec in the division say that your announced-but-not-yet-shipping product is "inadequate" compared to a competitor's product that is about to ship, or immediately following that with plans to change nothing and launch on schedule.

    Not that trying to redesign the thing at the last minute would be a good idea--it could end up with something like the useless PS3 sixasix "me too" feature, and they'll probably do much better to just ship as planned--but it just plain looks bad to be publicly admitting defeat before your product has even shipped, and doing nothing about it.

    This, of course, is why it's almost always a terrible idea to pre-announce products by more than a bit--you either steal your own thunder, or end up looking stupid when competitors have caught up (or passed you) before your next big thing even hits the market, when you've already blown your round of PR. You only get one round of public interest in most cases, so why waste it when somebody else is going to distract them with a different announcement before you've given them the chance to buy?

    If you'd kept quiet, you could either make changes without having egg on your face, or just ship as planned and at least get the standard new-product attention when people can at least go and buy it.

    While Apple's general lack of communication on medium-to-long term future platform plans is annoying to IT (although they do still have developer previews months in advance), not announcing products until they're pretty close to ready to go is one of the smartest things they do as a company--when people see a news story about the iPad 2, they can go buy one next week while it's still fresh in their mind.

  1. tonewheel

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: May 1999


    comment title

    Gee, not seeing many (any) of the previous weeks posters that touted this marvelous piece of equipment while bashing the iPad 2.


  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001


    Can't Blame Samsung

    The iPad 2 caught them by complete surprise. Apple has never before had a big media event where they announced a newer, sleeker, faster, more powerful version of their product, yet sell it for the exact same price as before.

    I mean you all act like Apple does something like this three times each year.

  1. beg_ne

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2007


    Mass Havoc

    Jeez the iPad 2 is already causing mass havoc amongst the wannabe's and it's only running 4.3.

    We don't know any details about iOS5 yes, but come June/July iOS is going to get a big update these guys will be going back to the drawing board AGAIN to try to catch up to the iPad 2 with iOS5.

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