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Android-leader Samsung puts iPhone 5 on notice

Android phonemaker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) is scary successful.  Its rivals have tried -- and failed -- to use lawsuits to slow its sales.  It's so wildly successful that even partner Google Inc. (GOOG) is reportedly getting a little nervous.

The South Korean firm has risen quickly through the ranks, passing Nokia Oyj. (OMX:NOK1V) in smartphone and featurephone unit sales, and creeping closer to Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in profitability.  Tonight in New York City, just blocks from one of Apple's busiest stores at the Radio City Music Hall, Samsung unleashed its latest flagship model in its best-selling.  

With the Galaxy S IV's U.S. launch, its first American launch event for its flagship phone series, Samsung takes another step in its push to shift its marketing, engineering, and management towards the U.S., the world's most lucrative electronics market.  

I. Specs

Currently Apple is sits at the top of U.S. smartphone sales, but the Galaxy S IV could soon change that.

Samsung Galaxy S IV unpacked

Here's a breakdown of the phone's specs, versus the phone's chief competitor, the iPhone 5:
Galaxy S IV spec
(The only items not revealed at the launch event were the price and GPU of the Samsung device.)
Clearly the Galaxy S IV has a much more powerful set of hardware, while being only narrowly heavier/and larger.  The 1080p screen is the real star of the show, although the inclusion of 802.11ac, the higher resolution camera, microSD, and a removable battery are other niceties.

When comparing the GSIV and its chief competitor, the iPhone 5, the only remaining questions are battery life (given the more powerful CPU) and buyer preference with regard to screen size (while the iPhone screen is lower resolution, some buyers do prefer smaller screens).  Clearly some will prefer the slick metal/glass body of the iPhone 5 to the plastic-type case of the GSIV, as well.

II. What's New

Samsung's Head of Mobile Communications, J.K. Shin calls the Galaxy S IV a true "life companion" bragging, "Innovation improves the way people live every day.  For each of us, life is a journey. What you want is a device that can help us on the journey.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Samsung Galaxy S4."

Samsung Galaxy S IV

The device is loaded with proprietary apps -- Knox (a BYOD technology), home sync (which connects various in-home Wi-Fi devices, S Translator (9 language speech-to-text, text-to-speech), and S Health.  

The S Health is particularly cool -- it uses the built in accelerometer to track steps taken/calories burned when you're carrying the device, plus features options to track your meals and sleep.  S Translator should be handy too; it supports Chinese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Spanish, and English.  The app even can attempt to translate text on signs/printouts using the cameras.  The app has mild offline support, with canned phrases.

Air Health
Samsung Air Health [Image Source: AnandTech]

Home Sync allows you to tap your phone with compatible Samsung NFC devices, like televisions, to pair it.  You can then transfer photos wirelessly.  The images are uploaded to a 1 TB cloud storage account, which is free for GSIV buyers.

Knox is essentially identical to BlackBerry Ltd.'s (TSE:BB) recently announced multi-mode feature in BB10.  The phone can be placed into either a work or a home mode.

TouchWiz on the Galaxy S IV has been glistened up, with a translucent menu bar and other graphical perks.

One are of the UI/firmware that Samsung spent a lot of time on is the camera UI.  There's new editing features, and an ability to select still shots from a burst of frames (100 in 4 sec.) -- similar to rival HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) much-advertised technology.  There's a new "dual camera", which allows you to simultaneously use both cameras on the device for photos or video; there's composite merging of photos; and there's a new AirView touch-friendly gallery app.

There's also been big improvements on the control side.  While Apple and other rivals are still largely confined to static touch on the screen, the GSIV introduces air gestures, via the infrared and proximity sensor.  If your hands are dirty or full, you can do a rough gesture over the screen surface to get the phone to perform basic actions.

Samsung Air Pause
Air Pause/Scroll [Image Source: The Verge]

The 2 MP front camera also tracks your eyes for both scrolling purposes ("Air Scrolling") and to pause video if you look away ("Air Pause").

As with its tap-to-share technology Samsung has clear differentiating technologies that its competitors lack.

III. The Impact on Apple and Google

Apple is clearly a bit nervous about the Galaxy S IV.  Analysts are saying interest in the iPhone 5 has "cooled off".  Apple is firing back, calling the Android ecosystem "fragmented", accusing it of being lacking in out-of-the-box service experience, attacking its low pricing, and calling the OS outdated.

But for all the bold talk Apple's stock trends, versus Google's tells a different story:
Apple stock

Apple has seen its momentum halted by the death of its iconic leader Steven P. Jobs (in 2011) and then by disappointment over the iPhone 5 sales growth and hardware. Google, meanwhile has surged as Apple's court bid to ban Android stalled [1][2], and as its OEM parteners pounced on Apple in terms of hardware offerings.

For Google, the Galaxy S IV is more good news.  For Apple it's a major concern.  The soonest Apple will respond is mid-to-late 2013 (with what is being called the iPhone 5S).  That gives Samsung potentially 5 or 6 months of uncontested market dominance.

Barring unforeseen events (product bans) expect this launch to help sustain both the upward pressure on Google's stock and the downward pressure on Apple's stock.

Sources: Samsung [1], [2], AnandTech, The Verge

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 11:50:23 AM , Rating: 2
Assume much? Dumbass..

RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By corduroygt on 3/15/2013 11:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
No assumption needed when the data is there.
Android has 3x the marketshare of iOS yet iOS gets 5x the revenue. Obviously you lot aren't paying for your apps.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 12:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously, because they are FREE in the PLAY STORE....


RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By corduroygt on 3/15/2013 12:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
Low quality crappy versions of games are free in the Play store because no one pays for them over there.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 12:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
Please show your bias a little more, it's quite amusing.

Like a rabid dog...

RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By A11 on 3/15/2013 12:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
and you aren't biased yourself?

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 12:54:38 PM , Rating: 2

Um, no.

RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By A11 on 3/15/2013 1:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
ok mr. delusional.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 1:23:32 PM , Rating: 2

Considering I have used HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Palm over the years and don't just argue for 1 company and 1 company only like most of you retards on here, pretty sure I am not but keep thinking whatever suits your little AppleMush brain.

/me rolls eyes...

By retrospooty on 3/15/2013 1:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly... I will never get people that argue for a company and everything they do. I think you are the same as me. We use Android because its simply the best platform out there. I dont give a crap about Google, Samsung or any other company. As soon as another mobile OS comes along that is better than Android , I will drop it and never look back. This will make me happy to do, because if something better comes along then my personal stuff gets better. I like Google as a company, but I really dont care if they make a little, or alot of cash. I like their products and if their products ever suck compared to the competition (like Apples currently do) then I will drop them. Simple.

RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By A11 on 3/15/2013 1:31:21 PM , Rating: 3
Funny how you are in every thread yelling, often using foul language, at people who dare to either critize Android or praise Apple then.
In fact, you come across as being a bigger zealot than Tony.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 1:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong again... keep trying...

RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By A11 on 3/15/2013 1:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
Excellent retort buddy.

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 1:49:12 PM , Rating: 1
Not your "buddy"... and not going to keep feeding you. You have no idea what you are talking about, that much is obvious.

I am curious as to which of the stooges you are though.

By A11 on 3/16/2013 12:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
You're not going to keep dodging the point you mean, buddy.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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