The Samsung Galaxy S4 has launched to universal acclaim -- and pundits predict boffo business too. But behind the frenzied ringing of cash registers, smart phone experts sound a note of caution. Read on for expert reactions to the new Android powerhouse.
"The Galaxy S4 is not a revolutionary product, but nor does Samsung need it to be," says analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who reckons other phone companies should worry more about the "looming promotional onslaught" than the phone itself.
Retailers can barely stop themselves salivating. "The record breaking launch of the Galaxy SIII last year was always going to be a tough one to beat," says Carphone Warehouse, "but Samsung have pulled out all the stops with a dazzling new device that’s sure to inspire many people to make the switch to Android from other operating systems."
Phones 4U says the interest in the S4 has been "astounding", and the new phone is in with "a strong chance of becoming the biggest selling smartphone of 2013."
"The S4 will ship in vast numbers," says expert Ian Fogg of IHS, "because everyone will sell it: 327 operators in 155 countries -- it's only another 38 countries to reach every UN member state!"
Fogg predicts the S4 will help Samsung extend its lead as the biggest phone manufacturer in the world. "Globally, Samsung will ship 29 per cent of all mobile phones in 2013."
Francisco Jeronimo of IDC opines that the S4 "represents an important milestone for Samsung, as it may become the first smartphone to outsell an iPhone."
But there may be trouble ahead. Fogg notes that, "Samsung's own app store, wallet, video, music and games hubs increasingly place Samsung in competition with Google's own services."
And Jan Dawson of Ovum warns that although the S4 "will doubtless sell well... it highlights a couple of the key challenges Samsung faces. Samsung now faces essentially the same challenge as Apple: how to continue to improve its devices year on year when existing phones are already top of their class.
"And secondly, how to set Samsung's devices apart from other devices that share the Android operating system. As rivals such as HTC and Sony up the specs of their devices and provide ever better hardware, it becomes more and more important for Samsung to differentiate on software and services.
"The improvements to eye tracking, the addition of S Translator, the hover feature and so on are good steps in this direction, but they are gimmicks rather than game changers. At this point, Samsung appears to be trying to kill the competition with sheer volume of new features. But based on past experience most people will never even find them."
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