After all the hype that initially surrounded the Galaxy Alpha, we weren’t really impressed with what Samsung released. It’s a decent mid-range device, but nothing to get excited about. There are a couple of high points, though. One of those is the metal casing. We may be looking at the beginning of a new age for Samsung, in which they begin to manufacturer and release devices with metal frames and metal casings. HTC did it with the One (M7) and One (M8), and Samsung was rumored to be doing it with the Galaxy S5. That didn’t pan out, but the Alpha brought that metal to us. It may mean that future devices will too.
Sources within Samsung’s supply chain are saying that the Galaxy Note 4, which will be announced on September 4, will have a metal frame. The whole phone won’t be wrapped in metal, but the same sources are also stating that next year’s Galaxy S6 may have an “all-metal design”. This is similar to what we heard about the S5 before it launched, but this time Samsung has shown a shift towards metal materials in its smartphone housings. This is a move that is Samsung’s expects will shift opinion back in their direction and help them continue to compete with HTC and Apple.
Samsung will have to really ramp up their manufacturing if they want to create mass quantities of phones with metal frames or casings. Right now, Chinese manufacturers are able to make around one million metal housings in a month. That’s well short of the tens of millions of devices that Samsung wants to sell with their next flagship. Even though competitors are gaining ground and Samsung is slipping a bit, the Korean company is still selling huge quantities of the S4, S5, and Note 3. That’s also not counting the shift that other OEMs could make towards metal housings if Samsung is successful doing with it.
Metal creates other issues for mobile devices, though. Wireless signals have a more difficult time reaching the internal radios of a device if it’s wrapped in an alloy. There are benefits, too, like a more durable device. This is all rumor at this point, but Samsung has to do something big to catch our attention.