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Samsung Made it Weird, and I Liked it

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 11:52am
Ben Munson

In addition to an excellent new smartphone, I was expecting a strange spectacle from Samsung last night, and it delivered.

The headline adjectives, like “completely weird” and “baffling,” used to describe Samsung’s unveiling of the Galaxy S4 speak to what the company got right. The video of the whole thing, up now on YouTube, features fantastically bad acting, bad jokes, tap dancing, a symphony orchestra, bridesmaids, a sideways car and tons of difficult to explain additions. All the weirdness has ensured that another round of coverage for Samsung this morning. People are not only talking about what the S4 can do, but they’re talking about the goofy way Samsung went about showing off the new features.

HTC played it straight when last month it announced its new flagship One smartphone. BlackBerry veered toward bizarre when in January it unveiled a pair of new devices and a revamped OS, imploring CrackBerry Kevin to cut off his ponytail before the show and surprise announcing singer Alicia Keys as the company’s new creative director. 

But none of that topped the (intentional?) farce Samsung put on last night, and therefore neither warranted much mention after the curtains were drawn.

More than 100,000 viewers were watching the live stream of Unpacked before it even began.

Of course, a lot of those viewers tuned in because the Samsung Galaxy III is a very good smartphone that’s drawn a very loyal base. But those who tuned in to see how the GS3 could be improved upon ended up staying for the weird show and probably laughing their butts off.

In the near future, the S4 will have to rely on its looks, brains and brawn alone. But today, the phone is getting a little extra boost from the magnificently odd stage show that accompanied it last night. I’m looking forward to seeing how well this phone does once it hits the market, but I’m already anxious for the follow-up so we can see the weird way Samsung shows it off.

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