Samsung releases roughly eight billion variants of each of its smartphone platforms* all over the world, so the possibility of a “rugged” version of the S4, the Galaxy S4 Active isn’t all that surprising. Neither is the idea that it might look like the existing S4. The real question is whether Samsung would risk potentially ticking off a lot of its fans by actually giving such a phone a wide release.
These images, via GSM arena, allegedly show the Galaxy S4 Active, a ruggedised metal body Galaxy S4 with waterproof and dustproof capabilities. No bad thing you might think, and having spent the last couple of weeks testing out the S4, I’d be inclined to agree… to an extent.
The interesting aspect here isn’t whether the photos of the S4 Active are real or not; it’s whether presuming that the device does indeed exist, whether we’d see it emerge in the Australian market any time soon. Samsung’s spent a lot of money promoting the plastic body S4, from the glitzy launch to lots of carrier-backed advertising. Even anecdotally, I’ve seen a lot of network-backed “buy the S4 now” ads. Samsung’s trumpeting the fact that it’s shipped around ten million plastic S4s, which is a lot customers any way you look at it.
What happens if, in a couple of months, an S4 that rectifies the often-criticised “it feels plastic and a bit cheap” problem emerges?
You end up with a fair number of dissatisfied customers, that’s what. Just ask Apple. When it released the ‘4G’ iPad in Australia — that wasn’t going to be 4G here any time soon due to incompatible LTE frequencies — it ended up in hot water with the ACCC. When it released a revamped model that did manage local 4G six months after the release of the third generation model, there was a general outcry from many who had purchased the third generation model. Samsung could very easily find itself in that kind of situation were the S4 Active to officially appear here.
*I may be exaggerating slightly for effect here.
Sources: Netbooknews, GSMArena