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Samsung Galaxy S4 dissected

Posted: 30 Apr 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone? Android? Galaxy S?

If there is one thing I have learned in my years on this planet, it would be that it is human nature to staunchly choose sides. Whether it is Coke or Pepsi and Mac or PC, people love to rally behind the products they love and disparage the ones they don't.

In the case of the smartphone industry, this product battle was an evolution, albeit a slow one. Smartphones had been around for some time before the Apple iPhone changed the industry. Suddenly, smartphones were cool and, to be cool, one naturally had to forgo their BlackBerry or Nokia for an iPhone and it's simple, intuitive iOS operating system and iPod integration.

Just like anything designated "cool" by the masses, a counter-culture to the iPhone phenomenon had to exist for those who didn't want to "conform" to the masses and purchase an Apple handset. When Google introduced the Android OS, the opposite crowd rallied behind it and the argument became Apple vs. Android.

Samsung then introduced the Galaxy S handset. Incorporating the Android OS platform and a similar approach to design like Apple, Samsung took a design approach of giving consumers more than what the current version of the iPhone could offer. Give them everything the iPhone can do, and then give them MORE. The Galaxy S became the flagship handset not only of Samsung but also of the Android platform.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 with its faux-wood finish box

Figure 1: The Samsung Galaxy S4 with its faux-wood finish box.

The Samsung Galaxy SII built up the success of the S upon its release and helped pull Android's usage numbers ahead of iOS. Then came the handset that firmly established Samsung as the choice of the handset counter-culturethe Samsung Galaxy SIII. The SIII, offering many features that its competitor, the iPhone 4, could not match, was a resounding successselling over 40 million units since its launch. A larger, high-resolution screen, a more powerful quad-core processor (or dual-core for some models) and LTE coverage offered by the Samsung Galaxy SIII helped create new battle lines. You were now in one of two campsiPhone or Galaxy S.

Go no further than any popular electronics site like Engadget or Gizmodo to see the vitriol these two camps throw at each other in an attempt to persuade others that their handset is better than their competitors.

When the iPhone 5 was released in September, Galaxy S fans scoffed at Apple's latest offering, deriding the product as a feeble attempt at offering what the Galaxy SIII already did months before when it was launched. It was then that the hype for the Samsung Galaxy SIV began in earnest. "Can you imagine what Samsung has up its sleeve for its next handset?" was a familiar refrain in the handset industry, as Samsung had firmly established itself as the innovator of the smartphone market.

Speculations abounded over what the next iteration of the Galaxy S would offer. Flexible screen? Eye-tracking? A new flavour of Android unseen on any other handset? Would Samsung be able to deliver on what was rumoured as the next big thing in smartphones?

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