Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch makes Google's Nexus smartphones more critical

Summary:Samsung was pushing its services over what Google's latest Android could bring to the table. That move could create an opportunity for other handset makers.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch appears to have been aimed at Google's Android as much as it was Apple's iPhone. If anything, Samsung's theatrical---some would say cheesy, overdone and nauseating---Galaxy S4 shindig at Radio City Music Hall made Google's Nexus efforts even more important.

On Thursday, Jason Hiner wondered if Samsung and Google were going Wintel or toward an Android divorce . Bet on divorce. It was obvious that Samsung was pushing its services over what Google's latest Android could bring to the table. In fact, many of the features of the Galaxy S4 appeared to be redundant with Google's latest flavor of Android. As James Kendrick noted, Samsung is moving farther from Android

To wit:

  • S Translate sounds interesting, but also rhymes with Google translate.
  • The Galaxy S4 will get you directions. GPS no more! Of course, Google Navigation also gets you where you want to go.
  • HomeSync is your personal cloud from Samsung. So is Google.

You get the idea.

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Now the Galaxy S4 has an app that can connect to a wristband and track fitness and diet. That's interesting for sure. And there are a lot of nice perks with the Galaxy S4. The business features---SAFE and Knox---may aid Samsung's bring your own device efforts.

The launch:  Amid great expectations, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has arrived  |  Samsung reveals the Galaxy S4 (photos) | Samsung's Galaxy S4 first to launch with B2B tool Knox  |  Samsung's Galaxy S4 focuses on differentiation but reveals growing problem for handset makers  On CNETFull coverage of Samsung Galaxy S4 launch 

But in the end, Samsung's latest dream phone distances the company from Google's Android. Like Amazon, Samsung has taken the OS and made it its own. That's fine, but it's unclear what happens when the latest Android comes out and there's all this customization. CNET's Roger Cheng added that Samsung already has a Key Lime problem in a month when the latest Android arrives. 

Add it up and it's clear that Google's Nexus smartphones, which are designed to give you a true Android experience and all the latest updates, have become even more strategic. Samsung's Galaxy S4 launch may become an opportunity for other handset makers (perhaps HTC or LG) because some smartphone buyers are going to want the true Android experience---not the reskinned one.

More about the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch on ZDNet:

Topics: Samsung, Android, Bring Your Own Device, Google, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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