Samsung’s business strategy of making literally every possible gadget the company can think of isn’t going so well lately. On Wednesday, the company announced that its Q3 mobile division’s profits had dropped from 6.7 trillion South Korean won to 1.75 trillion (or $6.2 billion to $1.6 billion), a drop of 74 percent from the same quarter in 2013. The culprit, it seems, is increased competition in the “middle- to low-end smartphone” sector – and to strike back at its rivals, Samsung has announced the Galaxy A3 and A5 models.

Galaxy-A5_Set_-Soft-PinkThe A3 and A5 have nearly identical internal specifications, with just a few differences inside and out. Both feature 3G and 4G LTE connectivity, along with the standard suite of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC that we’ve come to expect out of today’s current crop of smartphones. Both run Android 4.4, though it seems pretty likely that they’ll be upgraded to Android 5 once Samsung makes the new version of the OS available to its customers in a few weeks. Both are also constructed entirely out of metal, a move that should quiet critics of Samsung’s usual plastic-bodied smartphones. Both are super thin, measuring at 6.9mm and 6.7mm, respectively. For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 6 is 7.1 mm and the iPhone 6 Plus is 7.3mm.

The A3 offers a 4.5-inch super AMOLED display, 16 GB of internal storage (expandable up to 64 GB via microSD), 1 GB of RAM, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an 8/5 megapixel rear/front cameras, and a 1900mAh battery. The A5 has just about all the same stuff, but is a bit bigger with a 5-inch super AMOLED display, 2GB of RAM, a bigger battery clocking in at 2300mAh, and a 13 megapixel rear camera (and the front-facing camera is the same as the A3).

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Samsung says that both devices will “be available in select markets including China starting in November 2014,” and there’s no word yet on pricing. However, don’t be surprised if both come in considerably lower than $600 or so, especially since the company’s trying to beat back lower-priced competitors. Samsung can’t quite afford to charge a premium for its devices, even ones that look as nice as these.

There are no shortage of competitors in the world of Android smartphones, and it doesn’t seem as though Samsung is following through on its plans to put out Tizen-based handsets anytime soon. As such, Samsung would do well to use a lighter touch when it comes to its treatment of Android in general – its crappy and unreliable TouchWiz reskin of Android is one of the reasons I’m staying away from the company’s products for the foreseeable future. Whether or not that will be enough to bring Android fans back on board, well, I don’t know. But it couldn’t hurt.

[Samsung Galaxy A3 and A5]


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