Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 10:37 am.

What’s new isn’t: Samsung just launched a 6-month-old phone, and that’s okay

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung's Galaxy S II in February at Mobile World Congress

One of the things you always hear about the mobile industry is that it’s moving so fast and that new phones are coming out every week and that it’s hard but important to keep up.

But that’s only half-true. Things can actually move pretty slowly, especially when you’re talking about hardware and devices.

For example, last night, Samsung finally got around to launching its flagship phone — the Galaxy S II — in the U.S. That means it has taken six months since the company first announced it in February for it to finally show up in the States.

Yes, there are some tweaks to the U.S. models, to varying degrees, depending on the carrier. But the reality is that, for the most part, Samsung and its partners are just now getting ready to start selling a phone model that is half a year old.

And that’s okay! Because, you know what? Not much has changed in those last 6 months. Today’s screens are pretty much the same as then, the networks are pretty much the same as then, and Android itself hasn’t really changed much either.

Heck, Apple is still selling an iPhone 4 that’s 15 months old, and an iPhone 3GS that’s more than 2 years old — and they are still the no. 1 and no. 2 best-selling phones in America!

Anyway, the point is, a phone doesn’t have to be 100% brand new to do well. Every few years there is a standout development — Apple’s iPhone 4 “retina” display, for instance — but for the most part, it’s slow, incremental progress. A 6- or 12-month phone can still be attractive and sell well, just as a brand-new phone with the latest components and best specs can be a dud. There’s more to it.

That’s not to say the Galaxy S II will necessarily be a huge hit — let’s see what the iPhone 5 looks like in a month or so, and which carriers it’s on — but it definitely isn’t in trouble because of its age, either.

Related: Apple’s aging iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS were the best-selling phones in Q2