Galaxy S IV Smartphone Launches in NYC
March 14, 2013 7:15 PM
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Android-leader Samsung puts iPhone 5 on notice
Android phonemaker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) 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. (
) is reportedly
getting a little nervous
The South Korean firm has risen quickly through the ranks, passing Nokia Oyj. (
) in smartphone and featurephone unit sales, and creeping closer to Apple, Inc. (
) 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 mode
l 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.
Currently Apple is
sits at the top of U.S. smartphone sales
, but the Galaxy S IV could soon change that.
Here's a breakdown of the phone's specs, versus the phone's chief competitor, the
(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
is the real star of the show, although the inclusion of
, 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."
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.
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 (
) 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 (
) 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.
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
trends, versus Google's tells a different story:
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 [
], 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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
3/16/2013 2:59:00 PM
That's a long post to not answer the questions posed. OK, fine you don't see Android as better now. If Apple stays where it is today and other platforms advance how long would you stay with the inferior product out of loyalty? How many years? Just curios. You obviously hold the company in very high regard for some reason that I cannot understand so I am wondering how long you would hold out.
You post an awful lot on Android articles, like you are obsessed and afraid of its power LOL. No Android related article gets posted here without you trying your best to detract from it. Again, you should stop trying to figure out why it is and how it is and deal with the fact
3/16/2013 3:32:38 PM
I forgot your last part... Yes, the S4 launch was a lot of hype for a small upgrade. Not unlike the iPhone releases. I am not too impressed with the S4. I love the idea of eye scrolling, but I suspect it won't work as seamless as it needs to to be a big draw, but that remains to be seen. I am really liking the Optimus G Pro a lot more than the S4. That and the Moto/Google X phone coming. Its gonna be a good year for smartphone fans, but I thing the S4 will fall short of its 100 million unit goal. Its just not that great. Spec and feature whose its like any 1080p Android phone, with a plastic shell. Just all right.
"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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