Samsung's Galaxy Alpha Smartphone Coming to the U.S., but Few Take Notice

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Samsung (SSNLF) has been busy as of late, announcing several new smartphones and other devices, but all the attention, both from a consumer and investor standpoint, seems to be focused on Apple (AAPL) .

Samsung announced on Monday that its new, metal-framed Galaxy Alpha smartphone was coming to AT&T (T) as of Sept. 26th. However, in the wake of 10 million Apple (AAPL) iPhone 6 handsets being sold in the first three days, no one seems to be paying attention to what Samsung is saying.

The new Galaxy Alpha model is Samsung's current answer to the iPhone, HTC One, LG G3 and other top designs which use metal instead of plastic frames to house their phones. Until this, Samsung had stuck with its all-plastic designs which, on paper, can help save weight as well as minimize wireless or cellular signal interference. The competition had been using, sturdy, lightweight metal frames for their phones for awhile now. Reviewers and customers started to take notice of the difference and Samsung had to make a change.

Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight believes the Galaxy Alpha is "massively important to Samsung." In a phone conversation, Wood said, "The previous all-plastic Galaxy S5 failed to resonate with customers. The new metal frame will be included in future Samsung designs and is critical to the company's future success."

The Samsung Galaxy Alpha will cost $199.99 on a two-year contract at AT&T, the same price as the 16GB iPhone 6, a fact that surprised Wood. "At the current price it will be difficult for the phone to compete with Apple's iPhone 6. It will be difficult for any manufacturer to compete at that price."

The Galaxy Alpha has the same sized touchscreen (4.7-inch) as the new iPhone 6. For the U.S. market it has a quad-core processor (it comes with a Samsung-built 8-core processor in other markets), 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. There is a 12 MP camera on the back capable of shooting 4K (38450 by 2160) videos. The front-facing camera measures 2.1 megapixels.

Overall, the phone is physically smaller than Samsung's current Galaxy S5 flagship model and, in some ways, visually resembles Apple's iPhone 5 and 5s designs. It's 720p Super AMOLED screen (312 pixels-per-inch) offers slightly less resolution (1280 by 720 pixels) than the new iPhone 6's Retina HD display (1334 by 750 pixels). The Galaxy Alpha weighs 4.06 oz., compared to 4.55 oz. for the iPhone 6.

The Galaxy Alpha runs on the latest version of Google's Android OS (4.4.4 KitKat). The phone is launching as an AT&T exclusive, and comes in three colors Charcoal Black, Sleek Silver and Frosted Gold.

The new phone design was officially introduced last month in Europe, and sales of the Alpha have already begun in the U.K.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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