One of the key trends in the mobile market right now is that metal is in. Nothing shouts quality and premium more than the smooth feel of aluminium under your hand. That's why devices such as the HTC One have come in for so much praise for their sleek, modern design.
But one firm that's been a bit behind the curve on this is Samsung. Even though it's now the world's biggest maker of smartphones, it's come in for some criticism recently for continuing to stick with an old-fashioned, plastic design for its flagship Galaxy series.
However, that may be all about to change, as the Korean firm has just introduced its new Galaxy Alpha – and one of the first things you'll notice is the cheap plastic has been sent to the dustbin.
Instead, the new phone shows off a compact, slimline body with a metal frame and a solid finish, surrounding a 4.7-inch display – slightly smaller than the Galaxy S5's. When it goes on sale in September, buyers will have a choice of five colours – Charcoal Black, Dazzling White, Frosted Gold, Sleek Silver, and Scuba Blue.
Commenting on the phone, Samsung chief executive JK Shin said: "With an entirely new appearance, the Galaxy Alpha focuses on both beauty and functionality combining a stunning metal frame and slim, light weight design with the same powerful hardware and features users expect from a flagship Galaxy mobile device."
Compared with the current flagship Galaxy S5, the Alpha is both slimmer and lighter, though in some areas – such as the camera – the S5 is still ahead.
For now, there's also some questions as to where it'll fit in Samsung's lineup. Pricing has yet to be announced, and the fact it's been given a rather understated launch, rather than the glitz and glamour of the S5's introduction, suggests Samsung isn't readying it as a new flagship device just yet. Indeed, some analysts have said the device appears to be testing the waters for future Galaxy designs.
But if it goes down well with buyers, maybe we can expect to see similar metal-based designs in future updates to Samsung's S series that will put its products back in line with the lines of Sony, Apple and HTC.