Samsung Galaxy S 4: Moving further from Android

Samsung Galaxy S 4: Moving further from Android

Summary: The Galaxy S 4 was revealed by Samsung and it's clear the company is distancing itself further from Android.

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Galaxy S4

The lights raised in New York City last night and Samsung unveiled its newest phone in the Galaxy line, the S 4. The features of the S 4 were not a surprise as information had leaked most of them in advance of the launch event. 

See also on CNETFull coverage of Samsung Galaxy S4 launch | Live blog from the Samsung Galaxy S4 event in NYC | Hands-on review

Samsung has designed the S 4 to bridge the successful S 3 and the innovative Note 2. The 5-inch display fits between the two existing phones although it ratchets up the resolution to 441 PPI. 

The touch display of the S 4 is new as it can be operated without actually touching it. It can also be used while wearing gloves, a feature introduced last year by Nokia.

The 13 MP camera on the S 4 is a big jump over the 8 MP cameras used in Samsung's existing phones. Allowing both the front and rear cameras to operate at the same time is a new way to take advantage of those cameras.

Hardware aside, software is the big story on the S 4. Samsung has continued its focus on making software that adds value to the user and perhaps most importantly further distances its offerings from the vast Android herd. 

See also on ZDNet: Samsung Android: Better than Google's Android | Samsung reveals the Galaxy S4 (photos)

The unique use of eye tracking to make operating the S 4 easier along with a collection of software designed to make the phone more useful makes the Samsung software distribution vastly different from its competitors. While Samsung's Android was already better than Google's Android, with the S 4 it is better than ever.

Samsung is deliberately distancing its products from Google Android. Android was not even a topic at the S 4 launch event, it was all about Samsung.

The interface on the S 4 is distinctive and continues to offer features that focus on the user experience. Samsung has added so many useful features to its version of Android that it no longer bears much resemblance to that of all the other Android phones out there.

This formula has worked well for Samsung as the S 3 is the biggest selling Android phone. Put the user first with useful software and produce solid hardware to drive it. The S 4 pushes that model forward without radically changing from the S 3, and that's smart business by Samsung. It's not an Android phone, it's a Samsung phone.

More about the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch on ZDNet:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Samsung

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25 comments
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  • I don't blame them

    For wanting some distance from Google, I think they want desperately to break totally away from Google but that won't be easy
    gordongr
  • That's funny...

    I bought the s3 because it was an Android phone. I don't see that changing to a preference for Samsung products, I'd rather avoid manufacturer lock-in.
    Shrug
    • Because you prefer an operating system lock in?

      Just wondering.
      baggins_z
      • Is there one?

        Dalvik can be ported to nearly anything, and has been. Like Bluestacks.
        Natanael_L
  • No

    The only reason most people buy Samsung phones is the size of the screen or the Amoled technology.

    Crud, most people I know hate Touchwiz.
    slickjim
    • The only reason most people buy Samsung phones

      Your are 100% correct about this; as a matter of fact, XDA ( ROM change) is OUR best friend!
      Marty K
  • Lol

    This is so funny, exactly as I thought. The only one making money with android is Samsung, no one else comes even close. This should be worrying to Google, no doubt they want to converge android & Chrome OS as they have lost control of android. At this rate Samsung can fork off Android and have their own app store and people will continue buying.
    Xenon8
    • Re: The only one making money with android is Samsung

      There are probably more OEMs making more profit from Android than from Windows right now.
      ldo17
      • Which OEMs would those be?

        HTC?
        Sony?
        Acer?

        All struggling and failing with Android.

        Heck, even Motorola is falling apart and they are run by the company that creates Android.


        HP is releasing a cheap $169 android tablet and that will fail in a few months, but HP doesn't exactly have a great track record with tablets.
        Emacho
        • Re: Which OEMs would those be?

          Sony--yes. Amidst all its woes, its mobile division is a bright spot. Also LG has done better in its last quarter. HTC is also still in the black, I believe.

          Asus is also doing rather well, at 5% net profit compared to the more Windows-centric OEMs: Lenovo and Acer at under 1.8%, and of course HP and Dell currently circling the plughole.
          ldo17
  • and by the way...

    ...those who said Nokia should have gone Android should hang themselves. Nok would have been dead & buried by now, but thanks to Windows Phone they are growing in strength.
    Xenon8
    • Re: Nok would have been dead & buried by now

      They're not far off it as it stands.
      ldo17
    • Nokia

      Nokia should have kept Symbian alive and eventually go with MeeGo etc. It was of course silly to switch to Android -- Windows Phone is just a better proposition, despite all the growth pains Microsoft is experiencing.
      danbi
    • Grown in strength?

      Nokia has fallen off cliff edge and is heading foir extinction - total sales still falling in an era when phone sales are booming. Even worse, unlike Samsumg and Amazon who can taylor Android to their needs and allow them to differentiate their product from others because it is open source, Nokia is locked into proprietary loss making Windows Phone which they have no control over, and for which they are beholden to Microsoft.
      Mah
  • I'll just leave this here

    JK Shin, who told The Wall Street Journal that demand for Windows-based phones and tablets isn't sending the company's accountants cross-eyed with glee. When asked about Samsung's relationship with Microsoft after the latter deepened its ties with Nokia, Shin said:

    "Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft's Windows operating system aren't selling very well. There is a preference in the market for Android. In Europe, we're also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products."
    wolfn11
  • nexus 4 all the way

    I will stick with the nexus 4 , all that samsung bloatware on top of android and Guaranteed to not be updated to key lime pie anytime close to soon , no thanks
    kevgr5@...
  • Samsung without Android

    Would it work?? Can Samsung make their own software??
    Hoggy866
    • Can Samsung make their own software?

      No reason why not. HP make their own mobile device OS. It was a miserable failure, but since when has that stopped a huge company from duplicating another one's mistake?
      robin@...
    • Re: Can Samsung make their own software??

      They already have: Bada.
      ldo17
  • Adopting Android doesn't necessarily mean Google adoption.

    Samsung could easily hang on to Android without relying on the Google Android brand. A few other companies have done this: Barnes and Noble with the Nook, Amazon with the Kindle, OUYA... Though I don't think anyone has done it with an actual phone yet.

    Adding their own competing services allows them to avoid Google licensing, but make it "Samsung Android" rather than "Google Android".

    The critical point here is the app store. Samsung's app store isn't nearly as large as Google's but Samsung has a certification process that probably brings it's QA on apps closer to Apple than Google.
    PolymorphicNinja