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.