If you thought the Galaxy S4 lineup could not grow any bigger you would be wrong. South Korean manufacturer Samsung announced, on Wednesday, the fourth member in its upscale smartphone family -- the Galaxy S4 zoom. The handset differentiates itself from the pack by offering a whopping 16 MP back-facing camera with 10x optical zoom. Yes, it's rather large and heavy because of it.
"As communication continues to become increasingly visual in nature, people wish to capture and share their moments in the highest quality possible, but often do not have the space or inclination to carry a dedicated camera for this purpose", says Samsung CEO JK Shin. "The Galaxy S4 zoom changes this forever, combining the industry leading functionality and connectivity of the Galaxy S4 with the high quality photographic experience you’d expect from a compact camera. The result is truly the best of both worlds, without compromise". Surely, the "without compromise" part sounds too good to be true.
Following the Galaxy S4 Mini, on Wednesday, South Korean manufacturer Samsung introduced a new smartphone in its high-end Android lineup. Called the Galaxy S4 Active, the handset sports similar hardware specifications to the company's current green droid flagship -- the Galaxy S4 -- but in a more rugged packaging.
"The Galaxy S4 Active is the newest addition to the Galaxy series and is purposefully designed for active users who love the outdoors", says Samsung CEO JK Shin. "Samsung has taken the innovative features of the Galaxy S4 and added breakthrough protective design elements to create a device that thrives in an active environment and is built for a lifestyle of travel and exploration".
On Thursday, South Korean manufacturer Samsung announced a new smartphone part of its upscale Android lineup, called Galaxy S4 Mini. The handset is marketed as a smaller variant of the company's current green droid flagship, the Galaxy S4, but don't expect any of the latter's bells and whistles.
The Galaxy S4 Mini is shorter, narrower, thinner and lighter than its predecessor, the modest Galaxy S III Mini. However, it can easily be compared to the Galaxy S II (the company's older Android flagship) rather than newer halo devices when it comes to hardware specifications. It's a sheep in wolf's clothing and not the other way around.
On Thursday, little under a month after the smartphone's global launch, the Galaxy S4 finally arrives at US mobile operator Verizon. The handset is available now at big red for $199.99, alongside a two-year contract, in either Black Mist or White Frost.
Today, rival mobile operator AT&T revealed that the Aurora Red Galaxy S4 comes exclusively through its online and brick and mortar stores (pre-orders start tomorrow). Tough luck for Verizon customers looking to grab the smartphone in the red trim, which is a tad ironic considering the carrier's logo (yes, it's red).
There was never any doubt that the Galaxy S4 was going to be a huge hit. When my colleague Joe Wilcox asked BetaNews readers if they were likely to buy the new flagship phone, a whopping 70 percent said you were definitely considering it.
A month after the phone went on sale -- it launched globally on April 27 -- Samsung has taken the unusual step of actually reporting sales numbers, something it hasn’t done in years. According to the South Korean tech manufacturer, the device has shifted 10 million units and is selling at an estimated four units every second, making it the fastest selling smartphone in Samsung’s history.
Today, another Galaxy S4 variant goes on sale at AT&T -- 32GB and yours for $249.99 with two-year contract. Buyers looking for commitment-freedom pay $669.99. The S4 joins HTC One as hottest smartphone of the season. Both pack gorgeous 1080p displays. The One is my choice for design; other benefits include booming front-facing speakers and low-light photography. Samsung packs in larger screen and loads more software capabilities.
For the US carrier selling more iPhones than any other, AT&T makes Galaxy S4 quite the priority, jumping ahead of competitors selling the 16GB model and carrying its larger-capacity cousin. Preorders started April 16, with the 16GB phone in stores two weeks later.
How many memorable video ads about phones have you seen so far? Off the top of my head I can only think of just two recent ones, both released by Microsoft. The first one is from late-October, last year, and features Steve Ballmer discussing his HTC Windows Phone 8X and the second, unveiled little over a week ago, stars the Lumia 920 in an Android vs iOS fanboy war at a wedding.
Both videos are memorable in the sense that they allow us, the viewers, to actually relate to the folks presented in the two scenarios. We are users of different social networks, send and receive emails and messages each day, have friends who are Android or iOS fanboys and so on. Now, by contrast, Nokia's new Lumia 928 video ad is one of the weakest attempts at wooing viewers. It lacks any sort of panache or wit.
Little over a month ago, AT&T announced that on a two-year contract the Samsung Galaxy S4 in 32GB storage trim will be available for $249.99. In the meantime the 16GB version hit the mobile operator's stores for $50 less, but even today the 32GB Galaxy S4 is still nowhere to be seen.
On its Twitter account, AT&T sheds some light on the matter and reveals that the 32GB Galaxy S4 is available starting this Friday, May 10. In just a couple of days prospective customers will be able to purchase the smartphone for $249.99 alongside a two-year contract and qualifying plans.
After a year-and-a-half on an iPhone 4S, I'm now on the current cutting-edge of smartphonery: Samsung Galaxy S4. I've used the phone for almost 3 days now. It's good. I'm excited. Are there any ball games on tonight?
Where was I? Oh yeah, the phone. I'm so excited that I could...do something that excited people do. Honestly, it's a phone. It's a very nice phone with some great features, a great physical design and a lot of bling features that I'll probably never use. I can believe it's the best of the Android phones, but I haven't tested all the others.
If you want to buy a Galaxy S4 and are a clumsy person then you might want to invest in an aftermarket case (or rethink your decision). According to SquareTrade, a company that provides protection plans, Samsung's latest Android flagship smartphone is easy to break, more so than the Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5.
SquareTrade pits the three smartphones against each other in eight key areas including front panel protection, grip, water resistance and drops. The Galaxy S4 scored badly in the slide and drop tests, grip-ability and size, giving it the highest breakability mark of seven out of 10 (lowest scores are best).
Samsung unifies its PC line under the ATIV brand, rolls out two new Book models and SideSync software
Samsung has announced it will be expanding its ATIV brand name to cover all of its Windows PCs, not just its convertible PC devices. The aim is to create a single cohesive brand for all its Windows 8 products, in a similar way to how the Galaxy brand unifies all of its Android smartphones.
In addition to the rebranding, Samsung has rolled out two new ATIV Book models -- the ATIV Book 5 and ATIV Book 6.
Last week I asked if you would buy Samsung's newest smartphone, which goes on sale later this month. With a large enough sample size -- 1,700 responses so far -- time is come to share the results. Seventy percent say they will buy Galaxy S4, although not all immediately. Just 20 percent answer flat-out "No".
I should qualify the headline: "You likely will buy Samsung Galaxy S4, if you're not American". Over here, more people are bugaboo about iPhone. Apple had 38.9 percent smartphone subscriber share in February compared to 21.3 percent for its South Korean rival, according to comScore. Elsewhere, Samsung rules, selling more general handsets and smartphones than any other manufacturer, according to Gartner. (Woe to damn provincial Americans!)
Jelly Bean may be the newest sweet in the family, but it is steadily gaining ground against its older brothers. Combined, Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 reached a 25 percent distribution level in the green droid realm, based on the number of devices accessing Google Play during the 14 days ending April 2.
Starting this month, Google has decided to alter how the data is collected. Google says: "Beginning in April, 2013, these charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked-in to Google servers". Why? Because the company considers the new collection method to be more accurate and that it best represents "users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem".
Now that some carriers have started taking preorders, time is to ask whether or not you will buy Samsung's new flagship smartphone. The South Korean consumer electronics giant will offer the handset from 327 carriers in 155 countries, later this month.
Ian Fogg, IHS Screen Digest principal analyst, predicts that Galaxy S4 will be huge -- extending Samsung's "market lead from 4 to 11 percentage points over the next largest handset maker. Globally, Samsung will ship 29 percent of all mobile phones in 2013".
Samsung Galaxy S4 fans, be prepared to use your credit cards because it's pre-order season. A number of UK carriers, including Vodafone, EE and O2 have the new Android smartphone flagship on pre-order today, while in the United States AT&T announced that prospective buyers will have to wait until next month to get their hands on a new Galaxy S4 before it hits online and brick-and-mortar stores.
AT&T revealed that the Galaxy S4 will be available for pre-order starting with April 16 for $249.99 on a two-year contract. The carrier does not specify which model will be offered, but the 32GB Galaxy S4 is a good guess judging by the price of its predecessor at launch, during pre-orders. If 16GB, the price would be $50 higher than Galaxy S3 at launch and what iPhone 5 sells for today.