CNN Warns Consumers of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 ‘Gadget Spam’



Two months after the release of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone — remember that superficial show? — buyers now hitting the stores are shaking their heads, because there are five Galaxy S4 devices for sale: the Galaxy S4 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Zoom, the Galaxy S4 Active, the Galaxy S4 Mega (6.3-inch display), and, finally, the Galaxy S4, which we first saw in the hands of the Samsung CEO. But, most interestingly, none of them resembles the original Galaxy S4.

If you are shaking your head, you are absolutely right. Also, if you are searching for the logic behind selling five types of Galaxy S4 device that have no connection to each other — except their name — don’t, because there is no logic. At least not from a hardware perspective.

But gadget spam — as CNN calls Samsung’s strategy (via BGR)– looks totally different from a business perspective. The fact is that Samsung has invested billions of marketing dollars in branding, and the result is finally visible.

The Galaxy S brand sells.

So including a couple more handsets under the Galaxy S4 branding does make sense in terms of sales. And, as the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, branding was essential for Samsung, because it is a company that thrives on gadget spam: among the plethora of handsets it releases, are there only a couple that really provide unique features.

The CNN article concludes:

It’s a cynical approach, perhaps. But at the end of the day, the end goal is to make money. And if the products are strong, who really cares what they’re called?

Then again, if Samsung misfires and waters down its brand with sub par products, it could matter a lot.


  • Chrome262

    Ah the old strategy of knockoffs shows its head. Put out as many versions that kind of look like popular bands. make some cheaper, some bigger, have one or two different things, and you up your sales of any, why not it cost you next to nothing to make them. In the end you call them all S4 and tell the world that you are selling boatloads, this differs from the knowckoff strat, because they have an actual brand. Saturate the market and confuse the consumer. Careful though as they may run to the more expensive but easier to define competition.

  • AiCMark

    Isn’t this kind of the same thing as the ipad, ipod, and iPhone?

  • Apple can do no wrong though, right?? 😉

  • Mikhail_T

    No, the difference is that Apple doesn’t dilute the brands by putting everything under one brand. People know the differences between iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone. If Apple screws up iPod Touches with bad updates and ignoring it for years, it doesn’t affect the brands of iPads and iPhones.

    For Apple to do what Samsung did, they would’ve called them iPhone Maxi (iPad), iPhone mini (iPod Touch), iPhone etc etc. If Apple screws up with the iPhone mini, it affects the entire iPhone brand, thus they’d be diluting the “iPhone” brand with sub-par products.

    Just look at the brand products under Galaxy: the Galaxy S4 Mini, the Galaxy S4 Zoom, the Galaxy S4 Active, the Galaxy S4 Mega, and, finally, the Galaxy S4.

    Do you think the public knows the difference between any one of those? Now, imagine if Active turns out to be crappy, do you think the folks are going to say “the Active” suck? No, they’ll be saying “Galaxy sucks” because that’s the brand.

    The same public knows the difference between iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone.

    That’s the big risk that Samsung is taking by potentially diluting the Galaxy brand with sub-par products.

  • Chrome262

    it could, but its not like apple isn’t doing anything novel. other Brands do the same thing, Motorola with the droid and the razor. although they do have a lot of droid variants. And you can see where that got them. Its something Apple has to worry about as well, I think its why they have been hesitant to put out another type of iPhone, a cheaper one maybe.

  • Chrome262

    I agree, and it seems to be an old strategy. Its almost like some where campaign of shock and awe.

  • AiCMark

    No, that’s not what I mean. I love Apple and am really happy with the improvements made in iOS 7.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly the biggest Samsung supporter in the world, but this kind of branding as described in the article is really, really common in other industries. I would argue that Apple is in a way, doing the same thing with their products by adding the letter “i” before the name.

    As we are all expecting the iPhone 5S to be announced in addition to lower-cost, less feature-rich versions, would you not expect these cheaper models to include the iPhone branding? What if they’re called the iPhone 5C or something?

    The author states that there are no similarities with the different S4 gadgets hardware-wise. Well, that may or may not be true, but once you turn on the devices, there are many similarities, thus justifying the Galaxy S4 name. They all have the same Samsung Touchwiz interface featuring all the new S4 apps.

    Isn’t this somewhat similar to what’s going to happen when people all install iOS 7 in their iPhones and iPads, respectively?

    Anyways, just my opinion. It’s not just Samsung that’s doing this kind of thing. Whether or not you agree with what Samsung is doing, you can’t deny that it’s working for them.

    Peace from the Android world!

  • WatDah

    No, no. Not all of us is expecting a lower-cost iPhone. I would hate to see that happen. And this is exactly the reason why. Hopefully Apple wouldn’t destroy their own image as a premium brand.

  • Jason


  • xxxJDxxx

    I think they run the risk of creating confusion or dissatisfaction among their customers as well. What S4 do I buy if I want the ‘best’ one? What happens to the guy who thinks he’s buying the best S4 then see’s someone else with an S4 that he perceives as ‘better’ ?

  • Rick

    The author of this article is a moron. Why hate on a company for giving consumers choices? It’s not like a person needs to buy EVERY Galaxy Device. You just choose the one which suits your needs best.

    If anybody should be criticised it’s Apple for making only one iPhone and expecting it to be one device that suits everybody’s needs.

  • Rick

    People who aren’t iSheep but a product because it suits their needs. They don’t buy it to show other people they bought “the best one”.

    The Galaxy S4 is the top phone. Need a tougher phone? Get the S4 Active. Photography important to you? Get the S4 Zoom. etc.

    It’s not that hard people…

  • xxxJDxxx

    And what if I value photography and being active? I can’t have the best of both?

  • Seanyp

    I read the CNN article, it’s has a completely different mood than this one. It’s primarily talks about how the galaxy brand sells. It seems like this author just read the title and assumed it was criticizing Samsung. Your profile should say “Istvan Feteke is technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of biased blogs but above all an apple fanboy.”

  • AiCMark

    Looks like you’re not getting your wish…

  • WatDah

    I didn’t know Tim Cook made an announcement already?

  • Ray

    Anyone who calls iPhone users iSheep is automatically a sheep themselve. After all, you’re conforming to the language of an Android fanboy. I’m a happy Android user but I get sick of people like you.

    At any rate, you don’t understand marketing at all.

    The extra S4s make the flaship S4 look lesser than…the Zoom says the camera isn’t good enough, the active says it’s not tough enough…etc then when you get any other phone besides the original S4 you find out the specs are not the same.

    And most consumers care about specs right or wrong. And the S devices also sometimes lag and have other issues. Those consumers that didn’t buy the original might blame the hang ups on not having the best specs.

    It doesn’t even really have a whole lot to do with showing off to friends. Samsung is poorly positioning its Galaxy S series in the mind of the consumer.