Moving aggressively in the international market to become the dominant smartphone maker, Samsung still lags behind Apple in the United States but they are seeking to become the premier smartphone in the hands of Americans.
Apple’s U.S. sales surpassed Samsung’s for the first time in the quarter ending in December 2012 due in large part to the release of Apple’s iPhone 5.
Hoping to compete even better in the high-end smartphone market against Apple’s iPhone 5, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S 4 smartphone yesterday in New York City, using an unusual combination of entertainment that included an orchestra, tap dancing, and live presentations – but no Gangham style performance.
Examining the Bells and Whistles
The Galaxy S 4 has a larger and sharper 5 inch screen, up from 4.8 inches on the Galaxy S III. By comparison, Apple’s iPhone 5 has a 4 inch screen size.
Despite the larger screen size, the Galaxy S 4 is still slightly thinner than the Galaxy S III and comes with a larger battery, although there is no official word about whether the larger battery actually translates to a longer battery life.
The Galaxy S 4 has a 13 mega-pixel rear facing camera, up from the 8 mega-pixel in the Galaxy S III, in addition to a 2 mega-pixel forward facing camera.
Group Play is one of the newest features on the Galaxy S 4 which can be used to share documents, photos, music, and games with friends nearby on up to eight devices or it can also be used for co-creating content.
Another new feature called S Translate allows the user to translate email or text messages up to nine different languages with text or voice translation.
The Galaxy S 4 has a built-in infra-red diode which can be used as a universal remote at an entertainment center.
There is also a hover feature through Air View that allows the user to hover over an email in the inbox and recall the first few sentences of the email’s message. The user can also scroll up by swiping from top to bottom a few inches from the phone.
Through the technology of Smart Pause, the Galaxy S 4 can even instantly pause videos when the user turns away from the smart phone.
The Galaxy S 4 also has an optical reader which converts analog information into digital. It is capable of reading business cards and transferring the information into address book contacts.
The Galaxy S 4 will be available for purchase as early as April in some locations. U.S. cellular carriers selling the Galaxy S 4 includes Verizon, AT&T, Sprint-Nextel, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Cricket.
Although no official price was disclosed in New York City, it is expected to cost $199.00 in the United States with a 2 year contract.
In 2012 Samsung and Apple accounted for half of all smartphone shipments in 2012.
Samsung had 30 percent market share with sales of 213 million units. Apple came in second with 19 percent market share, and 136 million units sold while Nokia came in third with 5 percent market share and sales of 35 million units.
Yesterday Apple’s Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, criticized Samsung and Google Android software during interviews given to Reuters and other handpicked media.