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Alledged production problems affected the Galaxy A3/A5 release window

Samsung's first pair of all-metal smartphones are going to hit Asia, but a report indicates this is only after a significant delay. What went wrong? Furthermore, what does this mean for the future of the Galaxy S6, which is said to be redesigned from the ground up?

Published onNovember 10, 2014

Samsung Galaxy A5 Group Selfie

Samsung has a lot of things: products, subsidiaries, and lawsuits come to mind readily. A new report indicates that production problems are also flowing, at least when it comes to making metal.

As is seemingly customary these days,  a new product can’t be classified as such unless its been leaked enough to be old. Some drips are worse than others: take the Sony Xperia Play which had a full blown tear-down before even being officially announced. Along the middle of the spectrum lies Samsung’s recently unveiled Galaxy A3 and A5 phones, both of which had been floating around tech sites’ rumor-mills in some form or another for months prior to their announcement last month. According to the aforementioned report, these devices were originally set to launch 3Q 2014 (which definitely would have helped Samsung out) but didn’t. And now we apparently know why.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha-45

Because of their all-metal bodies, the A3 and A5 are of a totally different nomenclature than anything the Korean giant released previously. September’s Galaxy Alpha and Note 4 had metal frames, but plastic backs, as did last month’s Note Edge. According to Sammobile, the production yield for the A3 and A5 was only about 50% usable due to QC issues. This severe shortage is also, apparently, why Asian countries will receive them first, given their perchance for cheaper products. It might also be why the rumored/leaked Galaxy A7 hasn’t even been formally unveiled yet.

As anyone who has ever purchased a new Samsung product and really sat down to look at it knows, it’s difficult to buy one that doesn’t have some kind of scratch or blemish somewhere, be it the frame, back cover, or even the screen. (My own Korean Note Edge came with a nice ding along the metal frame). With this in mind, it is almost scary to imagine what kind of manufacturing defects Sammobile’s source is hinting at; was the entire body deformed? Could there have been consistency issues?

samsung galaxy note edge unboxing (4 of 19)

The larger problem at hand here is not the couple of mid-tier products in the headline, but the future: Samsung is rumored to be designing the Galaxy S6 (“Project Zero“) from the ground up, and it’s not unreasonable to think of an all-metal product. If this report is true and the company ran into major production problems with two minor devices, it’s seemingly impossible to get things in order for a device that will probably release within the next 4 or 5 months, barring any major changes in equipment. It therefore remains to be seen if this will have any direct effect on the upcoming flagship.

What do you think, is this sort of massive production issue to be expected, considering Samsung is new to the all-metal game?

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