Samsung mobile chief JK Shin and Master Maxwell have completed the un-boxing, or in Samsung speak, un-packing, and there is a good spec on the new Samsung Galaxy SIV. The phone, powered by a swift little number called the Octo-Core processor and Android Jelly Bean, is scheduled to be available from April 26th at some of the 327 mobile operators in 155 countries that will stock it, with the LTE version launching later in the year. The S4 was launched at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, in an event that was a sort of kitsch, pseudo Broadway extravaganza hosted by WIll Chase. The first major Samsung mobile announcement made in the US, signaling Samsung’s growing confidence in their products, the market and consumers shows a willingness from Samsung to make key product important mobile announcements on Apple’s own turf. The SIV has a new ‘to Galaxy’ background eraser feature for photos which I’d like to have used on some of the hammy Broadway stereo-types squeezed into the launch event.
Some critics have called the launch event sexist and offensive – I wouldn’t go that far, but it was somewhat ill-conceived. A product like this can be its own narrative, there’s no need for the musical-parody hokum. Next time hopefully, less bad acting and more of the impressive leading man, JK Shin.
Value Walk are reporting that Gene Munster, the most reliable of Apple analysts, likens the S4 update to that of an iPhone S launch. And his point is a fair one, the SIV moves Samsung’s smart-phone offering on maybe more than the 4S moved Apple’s marker from the iPhone 4, but it is an evolutionary change for the Korean company. We probably have come to expect a revolutionary product every year from mobile-makers? However, with refresh cycles getting shorter, we’re more unlikely to see landmark products that often; our buying habits and willingness to ‘refresh’ our smart-phones make us willing buyers of even the ‘S’ versions. I thought iPhone 5 was a good product launch – as was this. Samsung have indeed upped the bar, particularly in imaging, for all other phone makers.
Jelly-Bean all round – what about Bada?
The S4 comes with the latest version of Google’s Android operating system,Jelly Bean,, but as again is enhanced with Samsung’s TouchWiz technology, which is a sort of interface extension toolkit. So integral is TouchWiz that it’s used exclusively by Samsung, and not licensed to other technology companies. It’s TouchWiz where the Dual Home screen functionality comes from, as well as the advanced sensory input from the accelerometer, and TouchWiz was at the heart of much of the Apple V Samsung legal issues.
WIth such a commitment to the Android platform it’s easy to wonder about the logic of Samsung continuing development on their own mobile operating system, Bada with Tizen [an open-source OS developed jointly with Intel]. The first Samsung mobile using Tizen will go on sale later this year, probably October, but I suspect this will be in emerging Samsung markets like India and South America – so the platform seems to be market driven with Samsung able to opertate across all the mobile price-points and markets, using their own operating system on phones that have a lighter demand and ultimately, lower price.
You’ll see the official specs all over the news today no doubt,- but some features caught my eye – both for what they do now and also what they promise for the future:
- Picture or should I say, camera-in-camera
- 2GB RAM – 16GB Storage – with options for 32/64GB
- Micro SD gives option of 64GB more – so you could have 128GB
- Samsung WatchOn & IR Remote – complete TV integration
- Smart Scroll & Smart Pause – looking forward to trying this
- Dual Phone – like inbuilt MDM for S4 owners – no embarrassing mix-ups
- Air View – gesture changes so much – hover to preview
- Extensive mHealth integration – with S band, Body Scale & Heart Rate monitor
- Temperature & humidity control : Think mHome, mEnvironment
- Cameras: Front, 2MP HD, Rear: 13MP
- Eraser tool for unwanted background people in photos
- Add 9 seconds of audio to photos – we’ll see this everywhere on the web soon
- Auto adjust touch – i.e. no need for those $30 special ‘touch gloves’
- S Translator in 9 languages : text-speech-text
External links & references
- Samsung Galaxy S4 global web-site
- What is TouchWiz? : Wikipedia
- Wall Street Journal Interview with JK Shin
- Molly Wood, CNET on the event