Friday, December 17, 2010

Different like a Square Tire

The dual-screen Samsung prototype that I slammed in this article has now launched on Verizon as the Samsung Continuum. A significant ad campaign launched with the handset but that does not appear to have helped sales. Actual sales numbers have not been released but Verizon reduced the price of the device by half two weeks after launch and hilariously had this image of the device on their home page for a brief period (credit: engadget).
Yes Verizon, we wish it looked like that too.
In a Freudian slip-of-the-mouse Verizon photo-shopped out the gap between the large screen and the small screen to make it look as if the device had only one large display. 

Most of the reviews followed the herd off the "different is always better!" cliff but eWeek found a way to be beneficially different and gave a fairly realistic rundown of the device. It looks to be pretty clear that the whole "dual screen" shtick is motivated by the business concept of differentiation, an ideal that leads to terrible products when the MBA forces the design team to make it happen. Samsung definitely tried too hard to be different and all indications seem to be that consumers "aren't buying it." I concede that it's possible that sales have not been a complete letdown to the OEM, so I will with-hold final judgement until I see some real numbers, but in the mean-time let me reiterate that consumers want big screens, and small phones, not gimmicks created to "differentiate" products without adding utility.

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