March 15, 2013
As expected, Samsung has just "unboxed" its new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S IV. The South Korean company, which is Apple's foremost competitor in the smartphone market, has announced that the new device is set for release in April. Available in Black Mist and White Frost variants, it's expected to be launched on 327 networks in 155 countries around the world. The Galaxy S IV has quite an impressive set of hardware specifications. Most notably, it has a 5-inch 1080p SuperAMOLED display, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, and 2GB of RAM. In addition, it's touted as the first, and currently only, smartphone with an octo-core processor. Also, it runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Released just a month ago, Android 4.2.2 is the latest version of Google's popular mobile operating system. In an interview with Reuters hours before the launch of the Galaxy S IV, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller singled out the device for reportedly shipping with an old version of Android. As it turns out, the news he had been hearing was wrong:
Schiller said fragmentation, or the host of customized versions of Android in the marketplace, poses a problem for consumers … "And that extends to the news we are hearing this week that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is being rumored to ship with an OS that is nearly a year old," he said. "Customers will have to wait to get an update."If you can't see the video embedded above, please click here. Click here for a hardware-centric device comparison between the Galaxy S IV and Apple's current flagship phone, the iPhone 5, put together by The Wall Street Journal. As for its software considerations, the Galaxy S IV boasts a number of built-in features. There's Smart Pause, which automatically pauses a video you're watching every time you look away from the screen. But what struck me most are the following: Sound & Shot, Cinema Photo, Dual Shot, and S Translator. Specifically, they strike me as a little too familiar. More specifically, they strike me as a little too similar to existing apps and even to a joke app on iOS. Sound & Shot, which adds background audio to photos, is similar to Voicepic. Cinema Photo, which animates portions of photos, is similar to Cinemagram. S Translator, which translates multilingual conversations in real time, is similar to Sendboo. And Dual Shot is similar to DuoCam and iOS hacker Geohot's joke Reactions app. Anyway, it will be interesting to see what Apple will come up with to counter this latest big move from Samsung. As my colleague Bryan would say, "Your move, Apple."