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Commentary Culture

Samsung pits its amazingness against Apple's magic

Commentary: In a new ad for the Galaxy S8, Samsung tries to get you excited about using it for travel. Amazing travel, that is.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Look, it even identifies people.

Samsung/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's hard for companies to find new ways to tell you quite how wonderful and super they are.

Every time they launch a new product, it's supposed to be better than the last one. So they have to find new superlatives.

They almost have my sympathy, as I bathe in the new Galaxy S8 ad from Samsung.

It shows travel blogger Moriah Yadon traveling and blogging as she visits Peru. It's all pleasant enough in a slightly prosaic way.

Her all-knowing S8 knows where she is, speaks Spanish and even puts funny faces on alpacas.

I, though, am fascinated by the end promise.

Samsung insists that this is an example of "Infinite Amazing." I can't help placing this against Apple's "Practically Magic."

You see, the most moving example of Apple's latest tagline was the recent iPhone 7 Plus ad featuring a young woman traveling abroad -- Greece, in this case -- and showing off her phone skills, specifically her portrait photography.

Yet all her phone could offer was practical magic, not something infinite and amazing, or just infinitely amazing.

It's as if these phones have become tourist destinations.

I remember when tourism authorities went along these same descriptive paths. Singapore was "Surprising Singapore," (Disclosure: I worked on the campaign), Malaysia was "Fascinating Malaysia" and India was "Incredible India."

Each was desperately trying to sound a lot like the other, as well as be, um, infinitely magical.

Perhaps, when it comes to phones, it's all an admission that these days you're not buying a phone so much, but renewing your faith in a system.

Of course, if someone would just release a phone that was infinitely practical, and looked amazingly magical, we'd all be hooked again, wouldn't we?

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