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  (Source: Mirror)
Apple may be in trouble as Samsung's flagship smartphones storms into the U.S. market

March 14 -- mark tomorrow night on your calendars.  That's when Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), the world's largest smartphone maker, will unleash its flagship smartphone: the Galaxy S IV.

I. Galaxy S IV is Samsung's First Launch Held in America

Over the last two years Samsung has built a healthy lead in unit sales over archrival Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone.  And it's used attack ads -- borrowing a page from Apple's own playbook -- to slowly chip away at Apple's "cool factor".

Apple, for its part, has suffered from a less aggressive path of hardware development. While analyst still praise its App Store and developer ecosystem as the best in the industry, Apple's GUI as of iOS 6 looked increasingly long in the tooth, and the jump to a larger screen size was derided by Android fans as a "me too" move.

And yet Apple's supporters have plenty to crow about.  The company still has the strongest brand -- even if it has weakened somewhat amid the Samsung storm.  And Apple is more profitable than any other phonemaker, making approximately twice the profit that Samsung makes per quarter.

But analysts believe that for all Apple's success, it may be in trouble when Samsung launches the Galaxy S IV.  

The latest Galaxy phone is set to be unveiled at the Radio City Music Hall.  Capturing the carnival-esque vibe Apple once held during the iPhone launches of the Steve Jobs era, Samsung's blockbuster launch will be broadcast live in Times Square.  A simultaneous launch event will be held in London, the largest city in the European Union.

Times Square
The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S IV will be broadcast live tomorrow night in New York City's Times Square. [Image Source: Global Torusim]

The New York City event will be held just blocks away from one of Apple's busiest stores -- a gesture that has certainly not gone unnoticed.  Chung Chang Won, an analyst at South Korea's Nomura Holdings Inc. calls the launch a landmark event for a surging Samsung, commenting to Bloomberg, "The upcoming event in New York has big implications because it’s Apple’s home ground.  This is the first time Samsung has launched its Galaxy S phone in the U.S."

Past Galaxy smartphone launches have typically been held at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, at the IFA tradeshow in Berlin, Germany, or in South Korea.

II. Spec Sheet: an iPhone Slayer

Samsung is anticipated to serve up more than just hollow-hype.  It's expected to bring a much faster processor and a larger screen size.   Here's what we know so far about the device:

  • 5.0-inch 1080p display
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 1.9GHz Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) Snapdragon 600 processor (U.S.) or 2GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos 5450  processor (international) [source]
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32/64GB storage options
  • Removable SD card slot (up to 64GB)
  • 13MP rear-facing camera w/ "Orb" technology for compressed panorama shots
  • 2MP front-facing camera w/ "eye scrolling" technology
  • 4G LTE support
  • Multi-purpose / Dedicated camera button
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 3100 mAh battery
  • Plastic shell body

The U.S. processor (a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon), the 5-inch screen, and the new camera have all been confirmed by top U.S. news outlet Bloomberg, which is owned by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

[Image Source: Sammy Hub]

Perhaps the biggest "wow" feature could be the eye-tracking technology, which will use the front-facing camera to track the users eyes allowing them to visually scroll through articles.  First reported by The New York Times, the hands-free feature has been reportedly in the works for a long time and has been perfected to be very fluid.

Bloomberg's sources dispute that full-fledged eye-tracking will appear in the GSIV, but says that simplified versions of the technology may appear in the device.  For example, if you look away from the screen, the phone may automatically pause the video you're watching.

The new spec appear to be well ahead of the iPhone 5 -- which only packs a 8MP rear camera with a (reportedly) smaller sensor, a 4-inch screen, and a slower dual-core CPU.

III. "Cooling Off" Apple May be Forced to Change Strategy

Park Hyun, an analyst at Seoul, South Korea-based Tong Yang Securities says that Apple will be unlikely to be able to muster its response (the iPhone 5S) until late this year.  He says that is bad news for Apple, whose once hot phone is seeing slowing sales.  He comments, "[The iPhone 5's] popularity has clearly cooled off."

Jan Dawson, chief analyst at the New York City office of London-based telecommunications consulting firm Ovum, says Apple's best hope to stay competitive may be to try to release different versions of the iPhone.  She comments, "There’s been a drumbeat of rumors about Apple working on more than one version of the iPhone.  The thinking is, if Apple does several devices it would help dampen the singular effect of having only one phone a year."

Apple may be forced to launch a variety of iPhones to keep up.

But one must wonder if copycatting Android's approach of a broad range of phones will do more harm than good for Apple.  Apple's app ecosystem has benefitted from a homogenous screen size/resolution for each smartphone release; likewise its marketing has always focused on the simplicity of its phone offering -- there has always been only one iPhone.

Ultimately, though Apple may be forced to try to reinvent the wheel, as it sees Samsung stealing its thunder.  With over $100B USD in the bank, and an incredibly strong brand it's far too early to count the Cupertino, Calif. phonemaker out.  But the GSIV launch is certainly serving notice that Samsung has Apple pressed up against the ropes and is hitting it hard, in its home turf.

Source: Bloomberg

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RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By SpartanJet on 3/13/2013 3:00:33 PM , Rating: 1
Have you used the international version of the S3 or a Note II? If not they you have no frame of reference.

RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By retrospooty on 3/13/2013 3:19:55 PM , Rating: 1
I've used the US version GS3 extensively since July and have not experienced this lag you speak of. Everything on my phone happens immediately. Totally smooth and fluid. I can think of a few times before upgrading it to JellyBean it got a little bit choppy - needed a reboot, but that was like less than once a month at the worst.

What Cheese is saying is right... You need to look at your specific device, its not an issue with the product line. There are a ton of 2012 era phones that have the exact same CPU/GPU as the US GS3 without issues.

RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By Pirks on 3/13/2013 3:54:56 PM , Rating: 1
I can think of a few times before upgrading it to JellyBean it got a little bit choppy
My fresh stock Samsung JB 4.1.2 on Note 1 is super choppy and lags sometimes in SECONDS (!!!) when it tries to connect to a network, like I pass by some open Wi-Fi spot, Note tries to connect, succeeds, starts syncing and... everything on the phone becomes slllooowwww... never seen anything like this on my 2 year old WP7 phone. Looks like it's time to evaluate Samsung WP8 phone again later, I see Android never going to learn multithreading hence all these quad cores are just marketing ploy for cheesywiz clowns and similar retards. Time to get back to WP8... when they will have some decent games available in app store. Still waiting for slow Emballmer to act.

RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By GotThumbs on 3/13/2013 4:08:28 PM , Rating: 3
You need to check your settings....and possibly uninstall any garbage apps that reach out to the WWW when connected to WIFI.

Check your running apps.

RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By Pirks on 3/13/2013 5:02:39 PM , Rating: 2
ya I know android supposed to be rooted to remove junkware or install custom rom, this is why I'll consider switching to wp8 the moment emballmer starts making some decent games, because I don't have to root wp8 or do any special body motions/dances to make it always work smooth and fast, just like iOS on high-end/recent iPhones, or just like QNX on Playbook and Z10.

RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By Samus on 3/14/2013 12:03:02 AM , Rating: 3
There are dozens of YouTube video comparisons of the US GS3 and International GS3 that discount your experience entirely.

In most cases the US GS3 is actually faster IN applications than the International because of the additional RAM. The International launches applications slightly faster.

Neither phone could be considered sluggish. They are among the fastest Android phones in production.

RE: Disappointed in Samsung gimped US version
By maugrimtr on 3/15/2013 8:03:14 AM , Rating: 2
I've seen the iPhone5 freeze for up to 10 seconds opening settings. Apple beats the GS3 at everything! :P

Note: That actually does happen...

By CeriseCogburn on 3/18/2013 1:34:43 PM , Rating: 2

So does the iphone 4s BTW - freezes up , a LOT

for the guy who wondered about the cgpu differences, it's due to the wireless chip integration and the differing standards overseas VS USA.

So it's not a conspiracy or a dissing, it's the cellular networks blah blah vs blah blah and the chips made that jibe with the processors in question...
Okay so maybe it is some conspiracy because whomever is failing to make the com chips...

Whatever, that's the excuse, no compatible com chip

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/13/2013 3:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
I don't need to, my phone is not slow/sluggish/laggy in anyway, nothing, it works perfect. And there are others on here with the S3 that is the US version that I am sure will state the same.

Again, sounds like you had a problem with your phone.

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