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Galaxy S3, how it’s designed – Samsung video explains, and raises questions

August 24, 2012

In case you’re curious about how the Galaxy S3 was designed – and we all remember that certain design features of the phone were highly critiqued at the time the handset was launched by both tech media and potential users – then Samsung now has a 5-minute video on YouTube to explain the “designed-for-humans” decisions behind the creation of the Galaxy S3.

This launch of said video is awfully peculiar, and we can’t but wonder if it has anything to do with the U.S. Apple vs Samsung war, the most heated confrontation between the two giants in a legal conflict that’s fought in over 50 cases across four continents.

So let’s take a closer look at it, since it came out of nowhere today:

The Good

The Galaxy S3 is a great Android handset, most likely the best of this year’s class of high-end Android handsets. It doesn’t need a video to explain its features this late in the game – and by late I mean the video has not been uploaded back in early May when the device was launched.

After more than 10 million Galaxy S3 sales, it’s clear that the phone is a success, and that people will still buy it whether they know what the designers had in mind when they came up with the concept or not. I will stop with “The Good” section now, because we all know why the Galaxy S3 is a good choice for customers interested in high-end Android handsets without watching the “GALAXY SIII Design Story full version” video.

The Bad

Where do I start? This video is great and all, as it shows the nature elements that went behind the creation of the Galaxy S3, you know, the phone that’s designed for humans. But do I really care, whether the device is made to look and feel like pebbles, water, sun, light, forest, grass, breeze or the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore? Yes, those nature things I mentioned in there are all part of the design process of the Galaxy S3, minus, of course, that grand hotel.

Apple copy?

Or am I more interested in the tech specs of the device and the inner components, software included, that make it tick? Of course, if you talk only about that, then you’d be copying Apple, who’s making one such video for every new product it creates. The purpose of the video is mainly to show exactly how spectacular the new device is and to reveal what new improvements it brings compared to previous generations, but it also helps Apple show some of its execs to the world, all heavily involved in the new iDevice’s manufacturing process.

Had Samsung done that, it would have copied Apple:

In Samsung’s defense, you can’t really brag with the TouchWiz features you placed atop Ice Cream Sandwich, since Android is not yours to brag with in the first place, so you’re left to talk mostly about design choices.

Also important is the fact that those Apple videos are viewed on stage during the announcement of the device and released via Apple’s site and its YouTube channel almost immediately after the keynote is over. Samsung decided to wait more than three months to come up with this video and I can’t but wonder when the Galaxy Note 10.1 design (especially in light of the review we saw in the previous days) and the Galaxy Note 2 design video will be released.

On that Note 2 release, we all know that the device will generally look like a bigger Galaxy S3. Why not make a video covering both designs, and preview it at IFA 2012 in just a few days? Even without including the Galaxy Note 2 into the mix, why not wait with this video to play it at IFA 2012? I guess Samsung’s marketing department still has a thing or two to learn about this buzz-creation thing.

How about Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 design?

But what’s most annoying, and you can’t ask yourself this question, especially if you’ve been following mobile tech news for as long as I have, is where are those Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 design videos? They sure would have come in handy at those Apple vs Samsung trials. By releasing a “how it’s made” video only for the Galaxy S3, Samsung is also indirectly saying that the phone’s predecessors did not have such an inspiring design, a design that came out of the hard labour of several bright minds at the company. So do the previous to Galaxy S models copy the iPhone? That’s for a nine-member jury to decide, at least in the USA, because in South Korea a judge says they don’t.

The Ugly?

Is it just me, or those pictures in that magnificent Marina Bay Sands hotel pool should not be part of such an inspirational video, especially if any of the designers involved in the Galaxy S3 creation process is in them. Does the hotel have anything to do with nature – sure, the Marina Bay Sands is designed for humans too, but not everyone can afford a bath in that impressive pool they have.

So maybe Samsung did not copy Apple when creating this video, but doesn’t the Nokia Lumia design video below look like it might have inspired the Galaxy S3 design explanation? Did Samsung copy someone else?

Well, such videos aren’t patent-able either, and since everyone does them we’re not going to see them disappear soon. But why did Samsung start what seems to be its own design series with the Galaxy S3?

Since we’re asking questions that are not going to be officially answered anyway, we can but wonder whether there’s an even darker side of this story when it comes to the Galaxy S3 design choices, interference from Samsung lawyers, a rumor that hit the web after the handset was unveiled, but was quickly denied. Is Samsung covering anything it shouldn’t be revealed with this official video? Let’s watch another video about Galaxy S3 design, not so official though:

Ultimately, and to reiterate a point I was trying to make above, while I can definitely appreciate the immense work behind a device’s creation, do we really need to know how these devices were created in the first place? Can’t we appreciate the design elements that we like, and bitch about the ones we don’t, without having a video trying to explain why the device looks that way, bullshit included?

On the other hand, the marketing department of any company, Samsung’s included, also has to pull its own weight, even if it means creating such videos like Samsung’s fresh Galaxy S3 clip that raise more questions than it answers. And we all know how fame tend to fade away in the Android ecosystem, where new devices get all the limelight at the expense of older ones.

How do you like the “how it’s made” Galaxy S3 video?