After I realized that 192MB of RAM on my HTC Dream/Google G1 is not sufficient for ever growing apps and my battery died, I decided to look around for a new phone. I got a good deal from my provider (T-Mobile in the UK) and I checked that hardware in Samsung Galaxy SII is powerful and 1GB of RAM plentiful, so I decided to go for it. I was quite happy with this phone until I got iPhone4 into my hands.
I discovered that Samsung Galaxy SII resembles Apple’s iPhone4 in quite many details. I highlighted them on the following picture and I describe them below:
- One front facing button. One can say that Galaxy SII has also back and settings buttons at each side of the home button but they are not physical buttons and you can even turn off their backlight completely, so they can be completely invisible. I would rather have track ball (mechanical or optical) instead of one simple button. For that reason one big square button placed in the center below the touch-screen resembles iPhone.
- Second similarity with iPhone is line shaped speaker placed above the touch-screen.
- Third similarity with iPhone is software phone button used to make calls. The similarity is striking: It is one of the 4 control buttons placed on the bottom of the touch-screen. It is at the first position. It’s color is green. It has white handset placed vertically. It’s color, shape and placement is exactly the same as the one on the iPhone. And it’s description is the same as on the iPhone – it says ‘Phone’.
- In order to display which virtual screen is active Samsung decided to use white dots as iPhone4 does. Their function is the same, Samsung only added numbering and you can also tap on any dot to get quickly on particular virtual screen. Extensions are nice, but the idea isn’t original at all.
- If you create folder on the screen and you add apps into it, miniaturised icons of those apps will appear on the folder. Possibly it is Android’s feature but Apple has it on it’s iPhone4 as well. That’s why this feature is also not original.
- Missing hardware camera button. Many users complained iPhone4 does not have hardware camera button and now they have it in iPhone4S so very likely we will get them in Samsung Galaxy SIII as well… I believe Samsung ‘copied’ no hardware camera button from Apple as well – which was not very good idea… At least those bottom menu buttons can be changed so you can replace one for camera app although the way how to do it is not intuitive and I had to google it.
- The final similarity is the fact that on each virtual screen you can place 4 icons on the row and 4 icons in the column. Also on the bottom of each virtual screen you have four fixed icons – I described the phone icon in the point 3 above. The function of other 3 icons is different to iPhone4 but their colors are similar again – on iPhone4 you have 2 blue and one orange button, on Galaxy SII (from T-Mobile UK) you have two orange and one blue button. The description of the icons is in white color as well.
In final I post here a picture where you have both phones next to each other. As I did not take the picture of both phones at once, the ratio of the size of one phone to another is only approximate.
Final words: I don’t think software patents are a good idea, but by looking at both phones I understand why is Apple upset about Samsung about copying of their ideas. I think that Android system is original and powerful enough and can be tweaked in many unique ways which do not resemble iPhone. If I wanted iPhone I would buy it, I do not need iPhone look-alike with Android under the hood. Luckily Galaxy SII is not tightly closed phone and you can install alternative Android system on it – such as CyanogenMod. I like the fact that Samsung also donated some phones to Cyanogen team. However Samsung’s default system should be more original and they should stop copying Apple look. What about to put CyanogenMod to one of the future phones?