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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 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.


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