A hearty round of applause for Samsung, which had the foresight to model its new phone after someone else’s successful gadget — Apple’s iPhone. Too bad they copied last year’s model.
Samsung’s new ‘Instinct’, launching in June on Sprint Nextel (S), does a decent job aping Apple’s phone: Like the iPhone, it has a dark, glossy facade, metal accents, and a large touchscreen.
And it even has a few features the iPhone 1.0 didn’t have, like fast, “3G” network access, over-the-air music downloads, and GPS. Gadget blog Gizmodo, which rarely sees a gadget it doesn’t like, gives it a thumbs up: “At last, a decent iPhone competitor.”
But remember all that stuff Steve Jobs laid out last month as the next phase of the iPhone? Access to business email through Microsoft’s (MSFT) Exchange server, corporate security features, a developer platform, etc.? Samsung’s phone doesn’t have any of it, according to Sprint’s release. And when Apple (AAPL) upgrades the iPhone later this year with 3G network access, the Instinct won’t have much of a speed advantage anymore. (And it still won’t have a multi-touch, which lets you do all the groovy things like move pictures around; iTunes synching; etc.)
So why buy an Instinct? We suppose it’s a decent option if you hate Apple or if you’re really in love with Sprint. And we don’t blame Sprint or Samsung for trying — they need to look hip somehow, and they’ll probably find buyers for some of these gadgets. (Especially if they’re priced right — no word on that yet, though.)
But at best, it’s just more proof that everyone in the mobile industry is still playing catch-up to newcomer Apple — more than a year after Steve Jobs first showed off his phone.
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