Samsung introduces metal-clad Galaxy Alpha

Samsung announced Wednesday its new smart phone, the Galaxy Alpha, which is encased in a metal frame. 

Ahn Young-joon/AP/File
A man passes by the Samsung Electronics Co. logos at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

Samsung is making an upgrade – from plastic to metal. 

The Korean electronics giant announced Wednesday the Galaxy Alpha, the latest in its line of Galaxy smart phones. It begins selling in September in five colors – silver, blue, gold, black, and white.

But unlike previous Galaxy models, this one abandons the plastic casing for a metal exterior. 

"With an entirely new appearance, the Galaxy Alpha focuses on both beauty and functionality combining a stunning metal frame and slim, light weight design with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device," says JK Shin, head of Samsung's mobile communications, in a release. 

The smart phone is 0.2 inches thick and sports a 4.7-inch screen with an HD Super AMOLED display. It runs Android 4.4.4, the latest version of the Google operating system. And it comes packing a 12-megapixel camera on the back and a 2.1-megapixel camera on the front – you know, for selfies. 

As CNET points out, Samsung's latest offering to its smart phone universe could be seen as a way to placate consumers who have logged complaints over the "cheaper plastic feel" of previous Samsung smart phones. That article raises the point that this product, while breaking the mold in Samsung smart phone aesthetics, has weaker specifications than the previous Samsung Galaxy S5, which launched in February. 

"It feels very much like an experiment to me, like so many other Samsung devices in the past," Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson told CNET.

Worldwide, Samsung leads the smart phone market, according to market research firm IDC. It opened 2014 with more than 30 percent of global market share in smart phone shipments, nearly double that of its next closest competitor, Apple.

And that rivalry between the two fierce competitors could be heating up next month with both companies reportedly gearing up to release their latest smart phones in September. Apple is widely expected to release the much-awaited iPhone 6 next month in both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version. 

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