A couple of days ago, the internet got into a tizzy after Samsung showed a golden “limited edition” of the Galaxy S4 on Facebook. Some sites downright accused Samsung of copying Apple, while many others framed the story as Samsung’s opportunistic response to the new champagne gold iPhone 5s.
As it turns out, the limited edition Gold Pink and Gold Brown Galaxy S4 actually came out ahead of the iPhone 5s, according to Samsung. The models were launched in the United Arab Emirates on August 27, and became available in stores on September 8, two days ahead of the launch of the iPhone.
In a blog post, Samsung goes on to show other golden devices that it put out over the years, including the recently launched Galaxy Golden clamshell model.
Of course, some will say that Samsung was aware of Apple’s plans from all the leaks, and that’s probably true. And it’s very possible that the gold edition of the Galaxy S4 is indeed Samsung’s response to Apple’s move. If that’s the case, unlike other commenters, I won’t condemn Samsung for releasing it. There is clearly a demand for such designs and Samsung has every right to satisfy this demand in whatever way it wants.
From a public relations perspective though, the golden GS4 was a poorly managed mess. It wasn’t hard to anticipate the backlash, and Samsung should have thought twice before putting out a gold phone days after the release of the iPhone. The benefits of the move, in terms of sales, are probably minuscule, while the damage to Samsung’s image can’t be quantified.
But the golden cat is out of the bag now, and Samsung late attempt to explain things will have little effect. Countless potential customers have already read the sarcastic posts all over the web, and what most will take away from the story is that Samsung copied Apple.