The Samsung Instinct, the new Phone that Sprint/Samsung are hoping will take the air out of the sails (sales) of the iPhone.
Ironically it was announced on April fools day, but it is for real. See the site or some product shots. It looks nearly identical to the iPhone. Full black glass face with rounded silver edges and rounded back, same slit for the speaker in the top. Three buttons at the bottom instead of one. It tries to function identically, similar screen animations, same touch control.
The release event was very controlled, the press were given strong talking points and had to move from station to station to try out one function of the phone at a time - apparently Samsung doesn't quite have the software running smoothly overall yet to let the press just straight-up use the phone. It's going to be launched with a $100 million ad campaign, the biggest ever hype in the cell phone industry.
Just like iPod and the wanna-be's, here we go again. People will keep buying different "just like it" phones because the spec sheet looks better or the price is lower until they realize that copies just don't provide the same experience. And if you are in the market for an iPhone it is entirely because of the simplified user experience and high design standards.
Healthy competition is about original ideas playing against each other, not about straight up copy-catting. I'm all for competition, but stand on your own ground, design your own product, make it bold and strong, don't be afraid to be unique from the ground up.
Shame on you Samsung/Sprint. Now throw out the Instinct, take what you have learned by studying the iPhone, and design something bold and strong that stands on it's own! The best selling iPod competitors weren't look-alike knock-offs of the iPod, the same will be true of the cell phone market.