updated 02:33 am EDT, Sun September 16, 2012
Point out cherry-picked list, deceptive marketing
While Samsung's new ad that promotes the Galaxy S III by denigrating the iPhone 5 is a rare example of the company pursuing a marketing tactic that isn't Apple-inspired, critics have pointed out that in preparing a list of comparison points the rival smartphone makers appears to be willfully unaware of most of the additions to the latest iPhone. Apple fans have generally responded to the ad by pointing out obvious omissions from the list of features, and few have responded with parody versions of the ad.
The original ad is set to appear in major newspapers on Sunday in an attempt to steal some of the iPhone's thunder, but isn't expected to make much of a dent -- largely because it relies on describing features that most consumers have no idea of the function of, such as NFC, Smart Stay and Palm Swipe Capture. The ad shows both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S III, but curiously shows the iPhone turned off, perhaps as to prevent users seeing a direct comparison of iOS to Android. It goes on to list a longer list of features that the S III has than the iPhone 5, but omits many of the features Apple considers the main selling points of the new model, including the fact that it is thinner than the S III (though the ad does admit the iPhone 5 is substantially lighter than the Galaxy S III).
Among many other features not directly compared, Samsung curiously forgets to mention that its phone has a still camera incorporated into it -- again, likely due to the better cameras included on the front and rear of the iPhone 5, though both machines' ability to do 1080p video recording is mentioned. Another oddity of Samsung's ad is that it admits that the phone is running an out-of-date version of Android -- Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) rather than the latest version, Jelly Bean (4.1), which includes numerous important updates to speed and functionality, accessibility, photo sharing and other features. Potential buyers may wonder if the lack of a mention of Jelly Bean could mean that Samsung is not committed to long-term updates for the S III, though Samsung is indeed planning to upgrade the phone to v4.1 in October -- though it has no announced plans for any updates beyond that.
Among other features missing from the ad that would have offered a more honest assessment of the two phones are the new Earpods included with the iPhone 5; the higher dot pitch of the Retina Display; the more versatile LTE chipset; battery life in areas other than standby and talk time; the noise-cancelling microphone technology; the Panorama feature of the camera; the new features of Siri; Apple's own Maps application (featuring Flyover); iCloud, AirPlay, and AirPrint; the larger App Store; the more eco-friendly all-aluminum and glass construction; a superior processor (compared to the US version of the S III); the more original and up-to-date OS (and the forced inclusion of Samsung's TouchWiz interface over ICS, considered by most to be a disadvantage); FaceTime, Game Center, Find My iPhone; new extensions to call handling; and the wider selection of better-quality built-in apps -- including the new Passbook app, among many other additional features.
Some users have gone on to create their own parody versions of the ad (seen below), as pointed out by Business Insider, which range from a simple evening out of the feature lists by Rene Richie (iMore) to a more blunt pointing out that the iPhone 5, even turned off and in Samsung's own ad, looks nicer than the Galaxy S III (created by Rounak Jain). A third parody by Tim Sears "corrects" the one-sidedness of the feature list and mentions that the Galaxy S III is made of "cheap plastic."
Despite the deceptive and negatively-toned ad, Samsung's Galaxy S III has generally been reviewed favorably as a solid contemporary to the iPhone 4S, ahead on some features while not completely polished in other areas. It's larger 4.8-inch screen, longer talk time rating and Micro USB connector (along with its ability to use microSD storage cards) can be seen as genuine advantages, and its inclusion of near-field communications technology (NFC) may prove a further selling point depending on how quickly the technology matures and finds more mainstream retail acceptance.
The Galaxy S III's biggest obstacle in finding a North American market may in fact be getting past potential sales bans from US federal courts and the International Trade Commission; Samsung has been found guilty of infringing on numerous Apple patents in a recent jury trial and faces potential action on the S III and many other of its products.
A hearing to determine its fate in US markets is scheduled for early December, but Judge Lucy Koh could decide to grant (or stay) injunction motions by Apple at any time after the first Samsung hearings, scheduled for the end of this month. Samsung's aggressive ad campaign may be a desperate bid to establish more of a beachhead in the US to complicate further proceedings between the two companies, or to beef up profits ahead of possible losses due to successful injunctions. [via Business Insider]