Our Handset Country Share Tracker (CST) team attended the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone at Radio City in New York, US, on Thursday 14th March, 2013. Several thousand attendees joined the event.
We trialed the S4 earlier this week and were briefed on the strategy behind it. This is a concise summary of our initial analysis:
Key Hardware: As expected, the S4 contains a 5.0-inch, full-HD, super AMOLED display with an impressive 441ppi in a rounded-slate formfactor. There are Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core / Samsung Exynos octo-core chipsets, varying by region. Other specs include 2GB RAM, dual-camera, NFC and MHL. The S4 looks visually similar to the previous S3, but the materials feel better quality and it is slimmer, lighter and nicer to hold in the hand.
Key Software: Samsung has clearly worked hard on its software and the results are impressive. There is finger-hover for the touchscreen, gesture recognition, improved eye-tracking, and better camera-editing.
Key Services: Samsung has layered a rich suite of Samsung proprietary services on top of the Android Jelly Bean OS. There are plenty of “S” services, such as S-Health and S-Translator. Google will be worried by this.
The S4 will launch commercially in the US and worldwide at the end of April 2013. Versions will support 3G, 4G and TD-LTE. There are 325 carriers in 166 countries onboard, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Pricing will be Note-like.
We forecast tens of millions of units to be shipped worldwide this year. Provided there are no major "hidden" bugs that become apparent after launch, the S4 will be another blockbuster product for Samsung.
Which competitors will be impacted by the S4? Apple, LG, Sony, HTC, Blackberry, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE and Motorola will all be getting some sleepless nights in the next few weeks. Models such as iPhone 5 and HTC One could feel some pain.
We will publish a full report to clients on Friday 15th March, 2013.