Samsung’s ‘Instinct’ is obviously to make Apple iPhone knockoffs

By SteveJack

This is not an April Fool’s joke. Take a look at the image below. It’s Samsung’s newly-announced “Instinct” to be offered to the criminally obtuse by beleaguered Sprint in June.

In the spirit of Samsung’s lack of originality, portions of the rest of my article are basically just half-assed rephrasings of statements lifted directly from my recent RIM BlackBerry 9000 article. Unlike Samsung, I’ll throw in some actual new ideas, too:

Samsung clearly seems to have tried to copy Apple’s iPhone exterior look, but it has none of the multi-touch goodness of Apple’s iPhone. It’s the same old, same old in an iPhone-inspired wrapper. And that should fail to inspire much confidence in Samsung or Sprint (which has precious little to begin with).

You can judge the distance behind and overall cluelessness of iPhone’s future roadkill by the amount they copy the iPhone’s exterior. See: LG, HTC, RIM, and now Samsung, among many others.

Samsung's Instinct
Samsung’s Instinct
Apple’s lawyers really should begin lobbing trade dress lawsuits at these companies and nip this in the bud. Apple’s won them before.

According to CNET, “Except for a [few] feature changes and a unique interface, the Instinct is a recycled CDMA version of the SGH-F490, which we saw two months ago at the GSMA World Congress.” This ceaseless quest to dress up antiques in Apple veneer is pathetic and sad.

What are Sprint customers supposed to do? Get this phone, stick an iPhone Apple logo sticker on the back, and just pretend throughout the duration of a 2-year contract?

Obviously, Samsung has no shame. And Sprint’s so desperate, they’d sell blocks of wood painted like iPhones if people would buy them.

The question I’m left with for Samsung and Sprint — and this goes for the rest of these companies rolling out imitation iPhones this year — exactly how stupid do you think your customers are?

See Gizmodo’s gallery of Samsung Instinct photos here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Joe Architect” for the heads up.]

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.


  1. Don’t blame Samsung…this is sprint (notice all lower case) realising that THEY need to have an iPhone look-a-like.

    Samsung has an incredible design group; they dont’ need to copy other people’s designs…but if a client is paying, you do it and then move on.

  2. I just don’t get this. For years Apple’s iPod competitors tried to be “iPod” killers by imitatin the iPod. If you’re going to unseat the iPod, you need to create something a magnitude GREATER than the original. Why buy a copy when the original is available.

    Similarly, Apple stole a march on the phone industry. They reinvented the phone and made it an internet platform. They are not going to defeat it – or even slow it down – by following in it’s path. It’s very hard for me to understand how such very smart people can continue to make such very foolish mistakes.

  3. This is such a joke. I remember a girl friend I dated was a patent attorney. She was a biter but that is another story. She was wrapped in this suit where on trash bag company used the same packaging as their client and marketed the trash bags as similiar to the other. The color of the boxes were very similiar and the logos and such were as well. She eventually won the suit and the other company had to pay them several million dollars in a judgement. Samsung trash bag sure looks like Apple’s trash bag.

    Nor about the biting………

  4. It’s a huge fat ass phone at .49″ thick. More plastic then you can shake a stick at and Gizmodo is impressed and said it’s a good competitor to the iPhone. Man, Gizmodo is getting lame these days.

  5. Great article, Steve Jack. It’s really pathetic to see the whole mobile universe try to copy one product. The copy cat scheme has gotten much better since the iPod knockoffs, and are focusing on the polish and trim of the iPhone, not the software (because they can’t). I agree with your comment that Apple SHOULD stop these phones on patent or copyright infringement charges, as it is just plain wrong to take a unique, recognizable design from an innovative company and try to market it as your own duping the dumb and the innocent. In the process, they cheapen the image and render the design ubiquitous.

    I don’t know if it’s Samsung or Sprint who’s behind this, but it’s wrong. Actually, I like both companies for different things. Samsung’s got some great innovative hardware design, it’s a very capable company. And Sprint offers fairly decent phone service for a good price (much lower than Verizon, lower than ATT, at least in NYC), albeit their phone selection is pretty rotten.

    Having said that, it’s wrong to rip off proprietary designs.

  6. There will always be a market for cheap knock offs, especially if Sprint subsidizes them. Some people are cheap and desperate enough that they’ll fall for it.

    It’s just sad that a company like Sprint would stoop to these levels to get any kind of market share. Methinks they’re going down and it’s going to be long and ugly. Once Verizon gets its 4G network sorted out, no one will have any use for Sprint. they are still digesting Nextel and customers are fleeing in droves.

    Meanwhile, back on AT&T;, at least we get international roaming on GSM without too many headaches and a data network that works, albeit slowly. Let’s hope their 3G services work decently.

  7. settle down guys. this will not be a problem. as with the ipod, apple will announce the 3G iphone for june and probably, as Muenster the analyst has stated, come out with lower priced iPhones with different form factors to destroy the clones. It happened the iPod and it will happen with the iPhone. Innovation always wins out in the end and this company has its eyes on the ball.

    By the way instinct = i stink?

  8. Poon Tang will probably like this thing but it really is artless and shameless.

    Apple’s Bertrand Serlet said it best: “If you can’t innovate, you imitate, but it’s never as good as the original!”

    I can’t type a French accent, but the shit was hilarious when he said it.

    Olmecmystic ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  9. Actually, if this iPhone imitation was sold for about a hundred bucks, I can see it selling quite well – copy or not. It would be ideal for those who can’t afford the real thing.

    MW: deal, as in “deal with it.”

  10. This is a land of derivatives. It reminds me of design school, the european and asian kids would come up with imaginative, outlandish designs, the american, ‘safe’ and ‘marketable’ designs appealing to the lowest denominator (BTW – if I see one more skull on a t-shirt, ima scream!!). The Samsung will sell – just like Scary Movie 9, Saw 12, and Spiderman 35, because too many people love old crap in a new wrapper. The iPhone (and Apple) prove though, that people eventually want someting better out of life, and marketing can’t sell that dream alone. One thing is certain, as todays youth grow up on Apple, and become tomorrows CEOs, the standards will get better.

  11. The problem with ALL Apple’s competitors is that they all look at what Apple is currently producing and not create a competing product of what they think Apple will be doing in the future.

    All the time they do this there is no way they are going to make any viable competitor to Apple.

  12. I only see TWO things better about this phone. One of those things, I don’t even care about:
    1. While I have NO use for it, and actually find it quite annoying, it has push to talk. My stepdad would consider this a HUGE plus. This leads me to believe that others would as well.

    2. I am envious of this one. A landscape keyboard that appears to be in texting mode. I want a landscape keyboard for ALL typing functions on the iPhone and it seems like it is STILL absent with version 2.0 that is being tested by the select few.

    Other than that, this thing is a POS. I am SOOO tired of copycats stealing from Apple. That is exactly what it is, STEALING and you are absolutely right, Apples lawyers SHOULD be suing.

  13. I’d feel ashamed to be involved in the process of making such an obvious rip-off. Like Falkirk said, you don’t beat someone by following in their footsteps, you have to outdo them in some way.
    This is all for naught anyways, the iPhone will obviously come out on top as it’s already got cult status, just like the iPod.

    The real question is:

    Will it blend?

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