In a move that straddles the divide between “passive aggression” and “completely naked aggression,” Samsung has installed a massive display right beside one of Barcelona’s main Apple Stores. It remains uncertain whether or not this location will function as a temporary Samsung store during the Mobile World Conference, but even if it’s just a piece of advertising foreshadowing the Galaxy S7 Unpacked event, it’s still a bold move.
The Galaxy S7 is mere days from being unveiled, and in the past, the line has come under fire for being a bit too iPhone-like. Although some have considered the Galaxy S6 something of a disappointment in this regard, these parties may be swayed back over the line with the S7, which is rumored to return favorite Android staples to the line such as a microSD slot, water resistance, and a much stouter battery.
The visual message that Samsung is sending with this massive glass ad (and possible retail location) is pretty clear. The Apple Store is housed in more traditional architecture that towers over the relatively puny Samsung display. However, whereas the Apple Store blends in with the rest of the street, the Samsung display sets itself apart: shiny, bright, and modern. “You may have the past,” the setup seems to say, “but we’re going to be the future.”
Whether or not this spirit is being realized by the company is a matter of debate. The reach of the Galaxy line means that millions of people view the Android ecosystem through the lens of Samsung, but the brand has fallen out of favor for many avid Android fans. The world’s response to the Galaxy S7 next week will tell us a lot about the company’s direction and appeal in 2016 and beyond.