The legal wrangles between Samsung and Apple has demonstrated how urgent it is for Android phones to develop a look of their own. Smartphones are starting to merge into one look – so much so that it’s hard to tell brands apart. Apple will always win in this area, because it pioneered the look with the original iPhone and has filed patents for every little detail, it seems.
Samsung Galaxy S4 needs a new trade dress
So, when Samsung reveals its Galaxy S4, or its Note 3, Nexus 5 or whatever it’s got planned, these gadgets will have to have their own trade dress. Samsung can’t rely on its amazing hardware to do the selling for it anymore if it wants to keep the battle out of the courtroom and in stores only.
Judge Koh did rule that Samsung had infringed Apple’s copyright, so the Korean giant will have to improve its wardrobe pronto. The company could start using unique cases or colours, or decorations on the phone fronts – it doesn’t matter, as long as it says “Samsung”. Samsung is thought to have copied 13 Apple patents, and it’s this particularly unlucky 13 that’s been giving the Koreans hassle. Even the Samsung Galaxy S3 is believed to be embroiled in the mess.
One of the most distinctive parts of Apple’s trade dress is covered by ~D305 – the grid of squares set against a black background on the homescreen. If another company wants something like it it’ll have to change it a bit. The squares could become circles, possibly? Microsoft was canny enough to steer well clear of this Minesweeper-style grid and introduce its Metro Tiles into Windows Phone. If Samsung finally starts looking at its physical appearance as well as the TouchWiz UI, then the Android crew can start swaggering too!
The release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 next year could be Samsung’s chance to reinvent smartphones in the same way Apple did with the first iPhone in 2007. The S3 was the template for a lot of new and future models i.e. it’s the starting point for the Note 2, the Premier and even the GS3 Mini; so when the Samsung Galaxy S4 comes out we’ll know what the 2013 crop of Samsung Androids will look like.
If the rumours are right, we may see the Samsung Galaxy S4 at MWC 2013 next February. It’s thought to have a faster chip, and a 5”, 1080p display with new tech. We also hope that there’ll be a new wardrobe to show off as well on top of these hardware upgrades.