How Samsung's Galaxy A Smartphone Line Targets Midrange Market

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-12-03
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Samsung's Galaxy A Smartphone Line Targets Midrange Market
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    How Samsung's Galaxy A Smartphone Line Targets Midrange Market

    Samsung's latest Galaxy A smartphones have high-end finishes and features, yet they're designed for the midrange of the market. Here's a look at these handsets.
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    There Are Three Models to Consider
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    There Are Three Models to Consider

    Samsung isn't offering just one device in its A line. Instead, the company is selling the small, A3 model, alongside the midrange A5 and the biggest of the bunch, the A7. While there are many similarities between the smartphones, there are also some notable differences that customers must keep in mind before they choose one over the other.
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    It's All About the Processor Cores
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    It's All About the Processor Cores

    One of the first things to consider in the A line is its processing power. According to Samsung, the A7 comes with a 1.6GHz octa-core processor, matching the chip built into the A5. The A3, however, features a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, making it slightly underpowered compared with its larger counterparts.
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    Samsung Sticks With Android
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    Samsung Sticks With Android

    Despite relentless talk that Samsung may eventually bring its Tizen operating system to more of its devices, that won't happen in the A line. The company said that Android 5.1 (Lollipop) is running on all versions of the A. Samsung did not say whether an update to Android 6.0 would be available at some point in the future.
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    Bring On the High-End Metal Finish
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    Bring On the High-End Metal Finish

    Although the A line has been designed for midrange customers since its inception, the device comes with some top-notch features. The most notable high-end feature is arguably its metal finish. Samsung made a decision earlier this year to bring metal to its high-end Galaxy S6 line, but plastic has largely been used across other midrange products. Bringing metal to the A3, A5 and A7 makes the devices feel a bit nicer than their prices might suggest.
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    Look at Screen-Size Differences
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    Look at Screen-Size Differences

    One of the more notable differences between Samsung's A devices is screen size. The A7 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD screen, making it slightly larger than the 5.2-inch Full HD display in the A5. The A3 has a 4.7-inch screen, but unlike its larger counterparts, it offers only HD resolution, rather than Full HD.
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    There's Full Support for Samsung Pay
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    There's Full Support for Samsung Pay

    While Apple has been somewhat slow to ramp up its support for Apple Pay, bringing it only to its latest smartphones, Samsung seems to be moving at a more rapid clip. The company says that the A line will come with a fingerprint sensor, allowing for additional security as well as Samsung Pay support. Thanks to that, the device line will come with a near-field communications chip that can be used for all kinds of other apps and activities.
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    Camera Technology Tops in Midrange Market
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    Camera Technology Tops in Midrange Market

    Samsung says that the Galaxy A will come with some of the best camera technology available in the midrange market. The device has Optical Image Stabilization to mitigate blurring, as well as low-light support for clearer pictures at night. The cameras offer 13 megapixels on the rear and 5 megapixels on the front across all of the devices, and support wide-angle selfies.
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    Samsung Knox for Added Security
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    Samsung Knox for Added Security

    Samsung has bundled its Knox application with the A line. Samsung Knox is essentially the company's security platform designed for mobile devices. While it was originally intended for enterprise users, the feature allows anyone to keep data encrypted and potentially be less likely to succumb to a data breach. It may not be a big add-on, but for enterprise users seeking better security, it's an important one.
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    Storage and RAM Could Be a Bit Better
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    Storage and RAM Could Be a Bit Better

    The Galaxy A features only 16GB of on-board storage though that's expandable up to 128GB with help from a microSD card. It would have been nice to see Samsung offer more storage, but that was one of the few areas in which it seems to have skimped.
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    Here's the Launch Plan
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    Here's the Launch Plan

    Samsung did not announce market-specific pricing for the new Galaxy A phones but said they would launch in mid-December. The line will initially be available in China, but will expand to global markets soon after. Samsung remains somewhat tight-lipped on that schedule, but expect to see the new Galaxy A devices come to store shelves around the world in relatively short order.
 

Samsung has had trouble maintaining its position atop the smartphone market over the past few years due mainly to the competition it faces at the high end with Apple's iPhone and in midrange market from Asian smartphone makers such as Huawei and Xiaomi. To try to break out of this market squeeze, Samsung announced on Dec. 2 an update to its Galaxy A line. While the products come with high-end finishes and features, they're actually designed for the midrange of the market. The Galaxy A7, A5 and A3 are indicative of Samsung's changing approach to the smartphone market. Samsung has seen its sales and market share shrink, particularly in its core Asian markets because its competitors are viewed as offering better features at midrange prices. Now, Samsung is trying to offer higher-end finishes and better features in budget-friendly products to boost demand. It's an open question whether that will ultimately help it stabilize its struggling smartphone business. Take a look at the following slides to see what Samsung is offering in the Galaxy A smartphone line.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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