1. asherwiin's Avatar
    Based on this review of the new Samsung Galaxy S4, one gets the distinct impression that Samsung has finally 'jumped the shark' on new features and functionality, thereby joining Apple, who - based on a previous article from last year - officially jumped way back in 2011...

    So that begs the question - will Blackberry soon follow, or can they lead the way for the next big cycle of innovation?

    Review: Samsung's Galaxy S4 a little ho-hum - Tech & Gadget - MSN CA


    Review: Samsung's Galaxy S4 a little ho-hum



    TORONTO
    - The arms race to build the world's most powerful and cool smartphone wages on, but from the consumer perspective, it's beginning to look like a stalemate.

    After years of breath-taking innovation from Apple and its rivals, the recent incremental advances in mobile technology are starting to make even the most tech-obsessed observers a little blasť about the latest and greatest devices. Samsung's new Galaxy S4, which is available now for pre-order and is expected to hit stores on May 3, probably won't inspire much excitement from jaded tech enthusiasts.

    This device does have more processing power than its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, its screen has been stretched out by a couple tenths of an inch and it packs a lot more pixels for a sharper display.

    Impressive improvements on paper, no doubt, but in the real world they don't feel like a huge upgrade over the top phones already on the market, particularly others that run the same Google Android operating system. So it's not surprising that there are no technical specifications listed on Samsung's promotional website for the Galaxy S4. The site instead focuses on a suite of software features under the banner "life companion," with ad copy suggesting "each feature was designed to simplify our daily lives."

    But in my experience, the features don't simplify the user's daily interactions with the phone and in some cases create more work.Among the features that sound cool but aren't really that handy — or aren't perfectly executed — are the no-touch gestures and eye-tracking options that offer new ways of controlling the device.

    When the phone's screen is off, users can hold their hand over the screen to quickly check the time and whether there are any emails or social media messages waiting for them. But is this feature called Quick Glance all that useful? During testing it sometimes took two or three attempts to get the feature to activate and even when it did, the process took longer than simply pressing a button to wake the phone.

    Air Gesture allows users to scroll through web pages or browse through photos by waving a hand in front of the phone. Like Quick Glance, sometimes it works and sometimes — if you don't wave just right — it doesn't. Unless you're on your phone while eating and your hands are messy from eating saucy chicken wings, I can't imagine wanting to regularly use these hands-free gestures.

    Other features work by tracking your eyes with the phone's front-facing camera. Smart Stay senses when your eyes are looking at the screen and keeps the phone from engaging the screensaver — this feature is useful. Smart Scroll allows you to move down a long web page by looking down. It doesn't always seem to work, and even when it does, it can feel a bit dizzying to use.

    There are many more software features packed into the phone (see Samsung GALAXY S4 - Life companion for a complete list) but most are forgettable and are bound to be used once or twice at most. Some are really peculiar, like the ability to wirelessly pair your Galaxy S4 with a friend's Galaxy S4 to output music in stereo sound, with each phone's speakers playing one channel of the stereo signal. Or if you had five friends that each owned a Galaxy S4 you could wirelessly link them together to listen to audio in surround sound. It's bizarre that Samsung would take the time and effort to design such an esoteric feature and difficult to imagine it ever being used by consumers.

    One key feature that most smartphone users will use is the camera, and Samsung put a lot of work into beefing up its photo app. The rear-facing 13 megapixel camera takes great photos, 1080p high definition video and there are a few fun features to play with. You can record a snippet of sound to attach to a photo (think waves crashing to tag on a beach snapshot) and create animated GIFs to share online. Another gimmicky feature engages both the front- and rear-facing cameras at the same time to insert a small image of the photo-taker into the picture. It creates a pretty cheesy final product but some users will have fun with it.

    Samsung no longer promotes its use of the Android operating system, but one of the benefits of choosing the Galaxy S4 over an iPhone, BlackBerry or Windows Phone is the early access to new innovations from Google, including new features in Google Maps, Google Now and Google Translate. It's puzzling that Samsung doesn't do more to highlight that advantage for consumers who are considering an iPhone.

    To be clear, the Galaxy S4 is a top-of-the-line phone well suited to most consumers who are looking for their first smartphone, or need an upgrade from an aging device. But anyone who bought a new smartphone within the last year or so probably won't find many compelling reasons to upgrade to Samsung's latest. The Galaxy S4 is better than the model that came before, but it isn't remarkable enough to get too excited about.
    bluetroll likes this.
    04-22-13 03:15 PM
  2. BoldPreza's Avatar
    It is always a cycle, Palm and BlackBerry were some of the first to go through it.

    iPhone is going through it now and in a couple of years Android will. Then it starts new again ao we get things like WebOS and BB10.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9860 using Tapatalk
    04-22-13 03:33 PM
  3. richardat's Avatar
    LOL. NO. The entire industry has been affected INCLUDING BB. In fact, this is an integral part of BB's current problem. The fact is, most of the "improvements" have had little affect on everyday functionality for most users. New phones, including the z10, suffer from this, and it makes enthusiasm difficult to come by. Good article.
    CairnsRock likes this.
    04-22-13 04:23 PM
  4. pantlesspenguin's Avatar
    The article is very subjective. What's gimmicky to some will be useful to others. And this bit from the end of the article:

    "But anyone who bought a new smartphone within the last year or so probably won't find many compelling reasons to upgrade to Samsung's latest."

    Takes the cake. Around here, it seems like people who change devices after a few months at a time are mocked to a point. But here that seems to be the point of the article, that it's not really an upgrade for THOSE types of people. I didn't think the jump from the SGS1 to the SGS2 was that big besides screen size and dual core. It was the jump from the SGS2 to SGS3 that was REALLY impressive, and within a relatively short timespan (IIRC the SGS2 was released in Sept of 2011 and the SGS3 was released in May of 2012). I think tech enthusiasts might've been expecting a similar jump for the SGS4.

    When I was watching the SGS4 keynote, I was pretty impressed with some of the features. But they seemed to be for a certain set of people. Kind of like Thor's proclamation during the Z10 unveiling that the Z10 was a device for the hyper-connected, the SGS4 seems to be for travelers who like to keep in contact with their loved ones back home. I know that's not everyone, but the device will be incredibly useful for those that fit that description.
    TheBigHarvCombo likes this.
    04-22-13 04:52 PM
  5. darkehawke's Avatar
    The article is very subjective. What's gimmicky to some will be useful to others. And this bit from the end of the article:

    "But anyone who bought a new smartphone within the last year or so probably won't find many compelling reasons to upgrade to Samsung's latest."

    Takes the cake. Around here, it seems like people who change devices after a few months at a time are mocked to a point. But here that seems to be the point of the article, that it's not really an upgrade for THOSE types of people. I didn't think the jump from the SGS1 to the SGS2 was that big besides screen size and dual core. It was the jump from the SGS2 to SGS3 that was REALLY impressive, and within a relatively short timespan (IIRC the SGS2 was released in Sept of 2011 and the SGS3 was released in May of 2012). I think tech enthusiasts might've been expecting a similar jump for the SGS4.

    When I was watching the SGS4 keynote, I was pretty impressed with some of the features. But they seemed to be for a certain set of people. Kind of like Thor's proclamation during the Z10 unveiling that the Z10 was a device for the hyper-connected, the SGS4 seems to be for travelers who like to keep in contact with their loved ones back home. I know that's not everyone, but the device will be incredibly useful for those that fit that description.

    I have the opposite opinion regarding the galaxys.
    I thought the jump from the s1 to the a2 was huge. But the s3 was a bit of a let down.
    The s2 got Samsung noticed and paved the way for the s3 to be the success it was.
    I've found that there isn't too much a s3 can do that an s2 can't.
    Both are very good phones though


    Posted via CB10
    04-22-13 07:39 PM
  6. alternator77's Avatar
    When you consider that Facebook and most online sites resize photos to fit or in other words down scale them an 8 or13mp camera makes little difference. As far as incremental changes phone makers are simply following car manufacturers in that they do a slight tweak every year with a complete revamp every other one. I don't expect ground breaking features every year so it's no big deal to me just make sure the device works.

    Posted via CB10
    04-22-13 11:12 PM
  7. SnoozerBold's Avatar
    It's like the Mhz processor races in the late 90s all these desktops were spotting the latest and greatest processing power and people bought into it for yrs. Not thinking that your web browser ran just as well on a 350mhz processor as it would on a 500Mhz processor. But people were convinced it was 'better'

    I'm talking about home users here I know companies have different needs and run different software.

    It's smoke and mirrors to get you to upgrade every year.

    Posted via CB10
    04-23-13 05:47 PM
  8. robtanz's Avatar
    I will only believe that they have jumped the shark when Potsy and Ralph are appointed to Apple's board.
    richardat likes this.
    04-24-13 06:51 PM
  9. richardat's Avatar
    I will only believe that they have jumped the shark when Potsy and Ralph are appointed to Apple's board.
    When one is cool enough to pull off a leather jacket while water skiing it hardly matters what anyone thinks anyways.
    robtanz likes this.
    04-24-13 06:55 PM
  10. travaz's Avatar
    I think that it has really boiled down to the marketing. Smartphones have evolved to the point where there isn't a lot that can be upgraded or changed to really move market share. The S4 is aimed at the millions of S2 users. You will always get some switch over but its hard to make an apple person switch to a Samsung. My coworker is a case in point. She has a G2, loves it and only uses text and phone. And an occasional web browse. She is due an upgrade and will get the S4 but she won't use .10 of the capability of that phone. She figures she knows how to use the S2 so it will be easy to go to the S4. I tried taking her into the Z10 but she has no desire to learn a new OS.
    04-24-13 09:40 PM
  11. FSeverino's Avatar
    I think that BB focused on all the things that people actually need. They have an incredible keyboard and a very good UI. It is better to have a few great things then a lot of ok things.
    04-24-13 10:04 PM
  12. RECOOL's Avatar
    No just Samsung. Samsung run out of ideas and have peaked they rose to quick and now at the stage apple is slow progress.Samsung is that guy that trys to hard to be cool.They pretty much look for any and every feature people are talking about try to implement it.

    Their business is interesting literally they have pc era mentality.They have devices at nearly every size and just making experiments.They are pretty much new nokia in phone spamming.Its only a mater of time before stock dont move and they have expensive hardware they cant sell.

    Anyway they just trying way too hard.
    04-25-13 04:42 AM
  13. PH_BB's Avatar
    Agree with user who posted about it being a cycle

    Posted via CB10
    04-25-13 04:47 AM

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