Accusations that Samsung is making headway in the mobile market by copying the work of Apple continue to fly, and the workings of third parties aren't doing much to help: an officially certified accessory has appeared that looks to be taking a cue from Apple's Smart Cover.
Built by Anymode for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, the 'Smart Case' looks a lot like Apple's own Smart Cover: it's a segmented cover designed to protect the screen while also transforming into a stand for the tablet in either portrait or landscape modes.
It's the last thing Samsung needs, as the company already stands accused of being 'inspired' by Apple's iPhone and iPad in the creation of its own Android-based Galaxy product series. The company has a get-out clause for this one, though: it's a third party, and not Samsung itself, that's at fault.
At least, that's the argument. The problem is, Anymode claimed to have received the designation of 'Designed for Samsung Mobile,' a certification scheme run by Samsung that guarantees compatibility with its products in the same way as Apple's 'Designed for iPhone' scheme.
"As a general practice, Samsung Electronics reviews and approves all accessories produced by partners before they are given the 'Designed for Samsung Mobile' mark," the company admits in a statement on its website. "In this case, approval was not given to Anymode for the accessory to feature this official designation."
Quite why the company thought that producing an accessory so clearly based on an Apple product at a time that the Cupertino-based company was fighting Samsung on patent and copyright grounds and then claiming Samsung approval was a good idea is not known. Neither Anymode nor Samsung have responded to our request for comment.
Comments made by visitors to Samsung's website reveal the damage that the brand is taking, however. "Once a fan of this brand, I am strongly against buying any Samsung mobile device just because they copy Apple products," one comment reads. "If Samsung won't take any action on this copying, it will ruin the reputation of the brand as an innovator and it won't enjoy success as long as Sony did!"
"You've lost my interest [and I] will never buy product with your visible name on it," another visitor agrees. "We, customers, can see that your 'inspiration' is nothing more than a shameless copy of others' creations."
The apparent backlash is bad news for Samsung: while its Galaxy S II smartphone is proving popular with those looking for a high-spec Android smartphone, it's coming at a serious cost to the company's public persona. With the lower-spec Galaxy R expected to launch by the end of the month, it remains to be seen how much of an impact the company's ongoing legal tussle with Apple will have on overall sales.