Finally, the inevitable has happened and after a long period of time rooting for Samsung to step up its game, the Korean tech giant made another step into premium territory with the recently announced Galaxy Alpha. Additionally, if the recent reports and leaks will turn out to be accurate, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will also feature a metal frame.
You’re probably thinking that Samsung delivered too little, too late. However, we need to remember that it’s rather difficult for an Android smartphone manufacturer to completely switch gears and adopt a new, premium design language all of a sudden. HTC may have achieved this, but the Taiwanese tech giant doesn’t produce nearly as many smartphones as Samsung does, so the transition to an all-metal case was easier.
The good news for Samsung enthusiasts is that the upcoming Galaxy S6 might be the company’s first mainstream smartphone to adopt a metal unibody design, similar to the HTC One M8. More details after the break.
Samsung to Step Up its Metal Game with the Samsung Galaxy S6?
According to sources from Samsung’s supply chain, the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy Note 4 are merely the company’s first attempts to bring premium design into the mainstream (let’s not forget last year’s Galaxy J). However, according to the same report, Samsung plans to step up its metal game next year, as the Galaxy S6 will reportedly feature an “all-metal design”. It seems like the logical thing to do, right? However, taking into account the fact that the large majority of metal case suppliers are currently bound to Apple, Samsung has a difficult road ahead and has already begun pressuring its suppliers into expanding their metal case production capabilities.
At the moment, it looks like Samsung’s main suppliers for its upcoming all-metal Galaxy S6 are going to be China’s BYD Electronics and Taiwan’s Eminence Precision Industrial Co. We’ve previously heard that the major China based metal case manufacturers are capable, at the moment, of delivering roughly 1 million cases per month, combined. This is probably why neither the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and/or the Note 4 are not completely made out of metal, and it makes us wonder if Samsung will be able to pull off the “all-metal Galaxy S6” move. We rather think that, just like we’ll probably witness with the Note 4 and its flexible display toting Limited Edition, Samsung will at best release a mostly plastic, mainstream version of the Galaxy S6 and a premium, expensive and probably limited metal clad Samsung Galaxy S6. We have no solid proof to back up this last claim, but it seems like the most logical step in Samsung’s evolution, at least until metal case suppliers will expand their production capabilities.
It’s also interesting to note that, according to the same supply chain sources, Xiaomi’s upcoming flagship phone will also deliver an all metal build. Additionally, the number of smartphone manufacturers willing to hop on the metal case bandwagon will supposedly increase next year. With numerous companies gaining an interest in metal cases, there’s a high possibility that these manufacturers will face serious supply issues, and in turn, metal case manufacturers in Taiwan will attempt to increase the prices, for clients other than Apple, by up to 20-30%.
This isn’t the first time we’ve come across reports suggesting that companies such as Foxconn, Pegatron and Winstron will increase prices for their non-Apple customers, as back in July word on the street was that, due to an unprecedented number of iPhone orders, Apple’s suppliers could be forced to adopt a “pick customer, pick orders” mentality, leading to higher (by 5-10%) production costs.
Whatever the case, 2015 might turn out to be an intriguing year for the Android market, with an increasing number of companies intending to join the premium club, leading to low supply, high demand, fierce competition, and perhaps even higher price tags. It’s too early to tell, so remember to take the information with a pinch of salt.