Samsung has aired another of their good-natured iPhone attack ads, which should be an occasion for merriment and ego-deflating good fun. Yet once again the commercial feels like it missed it's mark. Rather, the whole series of commercials still seem awkwardly in search of a mark. This one stars the latest in Samsung's broad-range of devices, each separate by a different Galaxy monicker and roughly 0.25-inches of screen size, the Galaxy Note. It's something that can't quite make up it's mind between being a phone and a tablet -- I'm not going to call it a phablet -- and that's either the best of both worlds... or the worst. The jury is still out. How big is it? 5.3-inches of HD Super AMOLED big, baby. (Yes, that's exactly inverse the iPhone's traditional 3.5-inches.)
It's also got a stylus.
Now, I'm not religiously opposed to a stylus -- I'm an artist by trade and I've used several types of stylus on the iPad since it came out. However, a stylus by itself is not a differentiator. It's what you can do with it that's a differentiator. It's all about the software. I'm also not going to deny that, for some things, a bigger screen is not just bigger, it's better. Hey, I've got a 9.7-inch iPad and Steve Jobs spent over an hour in 2010 telling us what that meant in terms of the type of apps it could run.
But Samsung never makes the case for either in their Galaxy Note commercial. They never show off a lick of innovative, compelling software in the whole damn ad. They're too busy, once again, making fun of iPhone users. (Not iPhones, mind you. iPhone users.)
This time we're giddily missing the Super Bowl (presumably on the west coast because it's still light outside) by standing in line for an iPhone launch (which never happens any time near Super Bowl time), and the massive size and pen-ly charm of the Galaxy Note makes us break out into the worst Van Halen-meets-the-Simpsons-style tribute number. Ever.
They're copying the spirit of the old Get a Mac ads without any of the substance. Shocking, really, given their history.
Samsung couldn't have used any of those multi-million dollar minutes to show us the advantages of the Galaxy Note having such a big screen? To show us how absolutely killer a stylus makes the mobile experience? They flashed some photos, doodled on the screen, and did the equivalent of a FaceTime call. The motorcycle jump got almost as much screen time as the software.
And that's disappointing. Google's Galaxy Nexus commercial showed you can highlight Android hardware and software features in a compelling way. Samsung shows you can mock iPhone users, call us baristas, and convert us to the world's biggest ass phone just by waving it at us.
The girl in the commercial sums it up best when she says, "I don't know what to believe anymore." As much as Samsung bashes the iPhone, they give no reason to believe in the Galaxy Note.
If you want to court iPhone users, don't do it by making fun of us or insulting our intelligence. Do it by making us jealous of your phone... er... tablet... er... phone.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.