Samsung opens its first retail store in North America, looks awfully like an Apple Store

Apple arch-rival Samsung has just opened the doors at its first retail store in North America and we'll give you one guess as to where the design inspiration came from. The store, which has just opened at Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown, Vancouver looks awfully similar to any Apple Store you can walk into today. Minimalistic, open floorsplan, product demonstration benches, large screen TV's demonstrating products and software. The technical staff are even wearing blue t-shirts similar to Apple's genius bar staff. The Vancouver Sun managed to get a good look around the store.

The phones are lined up; there's a choice of tablets starting with the little Galaxy Note, the tablet with a 5.29-inch display that seems to have found a fit with a niche market, chalking up more than 5 million sales by the first quarter report. As you walk further into the store — the offerings get larger until you reach the notebook computers. Accessories line one wall and if you keep going right to the back, you'll find Samsung's version of the Apple Genius Bar, an area set aside for one-to-one or group demonstrations to help customers put the devices through their paces.

Samsung isn't the first to try to ape Apple's retail model -- Microsoft Stores are still rolling out across the street from Apple in as many cities as they can manage. Maybe one day every high-traffic corner and mall in America will sport an original Apple Store, and Microsoft, Samsung, and Google in a tidy square...

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but isn't all this Apple-like stuff getting just a little bit boring? You could argue that there are only so many ways to equip a sales floor that aims to show off consumer electronics, but as a customer, wouldn't you at least like them try something fresh and new? Maybe come up with something better? Or maybe that's everyone's grand plan -- to make Apple seem less special by sheer force of imitation? (Feel free to insert your own Apple Store design patent jokes here.)

There is a video giving you a brief look around the store and an interview with Samsung's director of channel sales Nelson Lemos. When you've watched it, let us know what you think. Is Samsung deliberately copying Apple's store designs?

Source: The Vancouver Sun