Sorry, world! Samsung’s first-ever leather phone is for China – even if nobody in China cares!


If you aren’t a big phone nerd, you might be surprised to find out that Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy phones is more abundant than you thought…

The Galaxy S series is the most premium and most popular set of phones Samsung sells worldwide, while the Galaxy A series comes below the “S” series in Samsung’s smartphone portfolio, as it includes phones starting from $200 and going up to $600 around the world.

Then we have the Galaxy M and Galaxy F series, which focus on developing markets like India and South America. They tend to have a less premium design than the “A” series but represent a very similar value across the $150-500 price range.

The Galaxy Z series, of course, is what you’re looking for if you want a foldable phone – whether it’s a clamshell or a tablet-style, whereas the Galaxy W series is the equivalent of the foldable Z series but for the Chinese market.

Now, another letter makes a comeback into Samsung’s lineup, and that’s the “C” series, marking the return of the newly-launched Galaxy C55, which is the same phone as the Galaxy M55 (recently launched in Europe and India) but in a new, leatherbound disguise!

Why is this worth talking about? Well, for a few reasons… For one, I like leather-back phones. But also, this is the first real leather-back Galaxy phone to see the light of day, making this a monumental moment for Samsung.

The Galaxy C55 is also the first budget/mid-range Samsung phone to start with 256GB of storage – at least in China. And speaking of China, that’s the main issue I have with Samsung’s new Galaxy C55 mid-ranger… In all of its leather, high-storage goodness, this phone is exclusive to China.

But why?!

Samsung starts selling a stunning $280 leather phone in China, but Chinese people don’t even want Samsung phones – people in the US and Europe do!

In a nutshell, one could argue the Galaxy C55 is what the Galaxy M55 should’ve and could’ve been. The C55 comes with 256GB of base storage and it has a 12GB RAM option – both very unusual for an affordable Samsung phone.

More importantly, the C55 brings an exclusive leather back not found on any other Samsung phone, period. And to rub salt on European buyers’ wounds, the Galaxy C55 starts at the equivalent of €260, which is more than half the price of the Galaxy Galaxy M55 sold in Europe…

See, on one hand, it makes sense that Samsung is trying “something new” and trying harder when it comes to the Chinese market, because this has historically been the hardest market for Samsung to penetrate. For one, it’s incredibly competitive, but also – Chinese people simply tend to buy Chinese phones (duh). In fact, they much prefer buying the American iPhone over the South Korean Galaxy.

But this same argument makes for the perfect counterpoint for. In other words, why try hard(er) only in the one market where you aren’t appreciated? While you can launch the same phone (that you’re manufacturing anyway) in markets like Europe, South America, and India where people love and buy millions of your phones, Samsung?

There’s more proof that Samsung puts a surprising amount of effort into the Chinese market: Is this unfair to American, European, and Indian buyers?

To give another example with the China-exclusive Galaxy W series I mentioned in the beginning of the story, it’s a bit of a bummer for international customers that the foldable Galaxy W series is actually more meticulously crafted than the Z series sold globally.

Although the Galaxy W24 and W24 Flip seem to be the same as the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5, they are actually a good bit more premium thanks to a ceramic build (instead of glass), and fancy-looking gold design elements.

Moreover, the Chinese version of Samsung’s foldables come with super generous RAM and storage options (starting at 1GB/12GB), and ship with a ton of accessories out of the box, like a premium case, charger, and even an exclusive box.

Dear Samsung (and the rest of Android)… It’s time to stop treating America and Europe like the small markets they might become (if you keep doing that)

To summarize, I’m not saying “don’t launch China-exclusive phones”… I’m saying… maybe think about releasing these phones elsewhere too.

As a European, I also want a leather-back phone, Samsujng! I’ve been asking phone-makers to start using vegan leather instead of glass for years now… Leatherbacks don’t break, and they’d be cheaper to replace if they get damaged. And don’t come at me with the “leather wears off” argument – 90% of people put their phone in a case anyway.

As a European, I also want 12 instead of 8GB of RAM… I also want 256GB of storage instead of 128… It goes without saying, I’d love it if my phone was $100-200 cheaper, or at least ticked all of the above boxes when it’s literally twice as expensive as the same phone sold in China/India.

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