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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



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RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By corduroygt on 3/15/2013 12:12:57 PM , Rating: 2
The video is there for all the see. Lag lag lag everywhere on the newest S4 phone.


By retrospooty on 3/15/2013 12:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
Stop acting like a child. YOu are clueless.

#1. its a prototype device 2 moth from release using a protoype ROM

#2. The lag is on the widget selection screen where it shows read data from all apps that have widgets

#3 look at this HUGE list of things this phone does that the iPhone doesnt. There is no comparison. In 2012 Android surpassed iPhone. In 2013 its not even close. The iPhone is starting to look like Blackberry ala 2011.

GS4 advantages over iPhone
- Larger Screen
- Higher resolution screen with better DPI
- Faster CPU/GPU
- Better Edge to Edge display (no giant iBezel)
- Micro SD card
- Removable battery
- NFC
- 802.11ac
- Better Notifications
- Faster Voice search
- Better Mapping software
- Widgets
- Live wallpaper
- Plays HD content without downscaling
- Greater than 5x4 icon
- Multi Window support
- pop up browser(in a window)
- Wireless charging
- Eye scrolling
- Air gestures
- Active stylus support
- Better OS
- Better UI
- Prettier OS
- Photo Spere
- Plug and play as a flash drive to copy files
- Flexibility in OS (Tons of Custom ROM's, etc)
- Micro USB standardization so you can use anyones pawer supply.


By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 12:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
He can be added to that list you made up the other day, it is only fitting.


RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By corduroygt on 3/15/2013 2:13:50 PM , Rating: 1
None of it matters if you lack the proper software.
Where is Infinity Blade 2 on Android? Where is the Walking Dead, or any new noteworthy game that's not Angry Birds?
Sales figures show it as well, when you have a shitty ecosystem, not many people spend money on it.


By retrospooty on 3/15/2013 2:54:20 PM , Rating: 1
LOL... Yes. Anything that you cant do doesn't matter... I guess thinking clearly is ruled out as well. You name a couple of lame games and you think that makes a platform? ugh... Any and all smartphones and tablets suck for gaming, Apple included... but even including gaming, there isnt anything you can do on an IOS device that you cant do on an Android. there are a TON of things you can do on Android that you cannot with IOS. That is just a fact.

If you like a small screen phone with low res that is missing all that functionality, then the iPhone is good for you . You should keep it. It's certainly fast and for gaming (which as I mentioned sucks on all touchscreen devices) its as good as it gets for that. If that suits you fine, but the iPhone isn't good enough for me. If you like an inferior product that is fine, buy it, but don't crap on superior products because you don't need one. You just come off looking petty and ill informed.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2013 3:38:08 PM , Rating: 1
Oh wow iPhone has Infinity Blade 2? Well stop the presses, I'm going to run out right now and buy a phone because of some goddamned game!!

Are you idiots hearing yourselves?

quote:
Sales figures show it as well, when you have a shitty ecosystem, not many people spend money on it.


Because Android has WAY more value added than iOS. You don't need to spend money on a phone if it comes out of the box with everything you need. Add a few free apps for the things you want, and what's left?


By KoolAidMan1 on 3/16/2013 5:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
iOS also has better SSH apps, better FTP apps, better client apps for sites like Youtube and Reddit, better RSS readers, better apps for pretty much anything.

I don't even have an iPhone right now. I have a Lumia 920 and an iPad, and I was on Android until recently. The difference in quality is there, even the same app on both platforms is usually better on iOS.

Games are an obvious difference but its just the tip of the iceberg. iOS having better apps makes sense since it is more profitable and easier to develop.


RE: All these cores and still laggy Android crap
By testerguy on 3/15/2013 4:30:58 PM , Rating: 1
Lets be honest. There are three Android trolls on this site. Retrospooty, Reclaimer77 (who I'm sure is the same person) and CheeseW - who is basically a loyal monkey to the first two.

You say you guys don't care about any company, but what you do care about is hating Apple. Your fanboy-ism isn't fuelled by good experiences, but by bitterness at what I can only assume is some massive inferiority complex you feel.

It's evidenced constantly, you claim you're neutral but look at the pathetic lists you come up with and spew all over every Android / Apple thread.

And, as usual, when I can be bothered, I educated you on them:

Larger Screen - a bad thing for some people

Higher resolution screen - not really useful if you can't even discern the pixels on the iPhone screen. Colour oversaturation, PenTile, probably slower frame rates, and iPhone display reported by DisplayMate as best ever in smartphone.

Faster CPU/GPU - not yet confirmed. US version may have different processor. GPU not yet benchmarked. Also, this will be available to buy 8 months after iPhone 5. So we should compare the S4 to the iPhone 5S (only a 4 month gap).

Better Edge to Edge display (no giant iBezel) - the iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, less tall and less wide.

Micro SD card - Yep, true, but not relevant for most people.

Removable battery - emergency battery packs achieve exactly the same result

NFC - Not used for anything in most countries around the world.

802.11ac - As if anyone will ever notice the difference between this and normal Wifi in any meaningful way.

Better Notifications - subjective.

Faster Voice search - not really sure if serious..

Better Mapping software - iPhone 5 has both Apple Maps and Google Maps. SG4 doesn't.

Widgets - lol

Live wallpaper - lol

Plays HD content without downscaling - downscaling isn't visible so irrelevant.

Greater than 5x4 icon - lol

Multi Window support - Pointless in a smartphone, gimmick.

pop up browser(in a window) - Seriously?

Wireless charging - are you sure?

Eye scrolling - Have you seen how poor this is? Gimmick.

Air gestures - Pointless gimmick.

Active stylus support - Welcome to the 90's

Better OS, Better UI, Prettier OS - Subjective unverifiable nonsense.

Plug and play as a flash drive to copy files - Can do the same on iPhone 5.

Flexibility in OS (Tons of Custom ROM's, etc) - Which are all buggy and add nothing.

Micro USB standardization so you can use anyones pawer supply. - Only useful if you have such inferior battery life.

I'm not even going to go through the list of failings, because I'm not that insecure about my phone choice or that of others.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2013 4:47:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's evidenced constantly, you claim you're neutral


Uh that's bullshit. I've proudly claimed, and do claim to hate Apple and have the expressed intent here to carry out my goal. I've never once claimed to be "neutral" in this.

Of course Apple makes this easy by constantly doing things to earn my disdain.

quote:
Retrospooty, Reclaimer77 (who I'm sure is the same person)


For that to even be possible I would have to be schizophrenic. But continue the trolling.

By the way calling others trolls, but dedicating the first three paragraphs of a post to insulting others and making ad homenum attacks...yeah, there's a word for that.

quote:
And, as usual, when I can be bothered, I educated you on them:


Okay educate me please...

quote:
Faster Voice search - not really sure if serious..


I'm sure he WAS serious. Google Now isn't just faster, it's all around better than Siri could ever hope to be. This has been objectively proven by dozens of tests and videos that are available to you. If you really cared about the truth.

quote:
Widgets - lol


Well that was certainly an "educational" response. Widgets are awesome, and you're a moron if you don't agree. The concept of Widgets were so groundbreaking, Microsoft has used them exclusively in the Windows Phone UI. They just call them "Live Tiles".

quote:
Live wallpaper - lol


How "educated". Can you please elaborate on how awesome customization like Live Wallpapers are "lol" worthy? Or are you trying to sound like a 14 year old?

If iOS had Widgets and Live Wallpapers, you and others would be putting them on YOUR list of iOS features that kick ass. Come on, you know it's true.

quote:
Removable battery - emergency battery packs achieve exactly the same result


Yeah because the first thing I want to do with a captive battery is use a charger that can overcharge my battery beyond it's specifications, so I have to send the phone in to be repaired. They are called "emergency" chargers for a reason..

quote:
Plays HD content without downscaling - downscaling isn't visible so irrelevant.


/facepalm

At this point, like any iTard, you're now just blatantly dismissing off-hand any advantage of Android regardless of how stupid you sound doing it.

If you need it explained why playing HD content in it's native resolution is a "big deal", you're a bigger idiot than I thought.

Then again you might be one of these idiots who claim an upscaled DVD looks "as good" as a native-res BluRay.

quote:
Multi Window support - Pointless in a smartphone, gimmick.


What!?


By Cheesew1z69 on 3/15/2013 4:51:40 PM , Rating: 1
So more or less, with him and the others, if Apple doesn't do it, it's a gimmick, it's irrelevant or it's just worthless.


By retrospooty on 3/15/2013 4:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... You are a piece of work arent you? I agree with you on one thing. If you systematically ignore and eliminate everything on that list, the iPhone stacks up real well to it. Unfortunately most of those items are real and not just subjective and are highly useful. Just because you dont see the benefit doesnt mean there isnt a benefit. That list grows with every release and most of it matters. It may not matter to you, that is fine, but its real and it matters to me and alot of users. You may not expect much from a smartphone, I do. The iPhone is basically a low end smartphone with a high end SOC period. Not good enough for me. You cant say a whole lot, because in spite of all your ranting and raving and superior mentality, when it came time to put your money where your mouth is you bought a Nexus 4 and put your foot where your mouth is so just STFU.

And as far as motivation... I dont hate Apple. I hate the complete tools that post in favor of it no matter what the product or move they make. Honestly, I am tired of seeing it and hearing it and I post against their ridiculous assertions and will continue to do so.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/15/2013 5:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You cant say a whole lot, because in spite of all your ranting and raving and superior mentality, when it came time to put your money where your mouth is you bought a Nexus 4 and put your foot where your mouth is so just STFU.


lol no sh$t? He did? You have to be kidding me. Just...HAHAHA

He's using stuff everyday that he dismissed on your list as being "lol" or irrelevant or gimmicky. What a complete tool. Arguing just to argue..


By retrospooty on 3/15/2013 6:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
I s**t you not. The funny thing about it is that it proves even he doesn't believe the crap that he writes.


By KoolAidMan1 on 3/16/2013 5:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
Get outside more.


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