With Galaxy Note 4 launch, Samsung aims to pre-empt Apple, claim innovation mantle

With Galaxy Note 4 launch, Samsung aims to pre-empt Apple, claim innovation mantle

Summary: Samsung says it won't slow down and launches a barrage of big-screen mobile devices. The big question: Is Samsung taking an innovation lead or throwing devices out there to see what sticks?


Samsung on Wednesday launched its Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, a curved screen phablet, and Gear VR, a virtual reality headset, but the larger mission for the electronics giant was to claim ownership of large screen mobile devices and to position itself as an innovation leader.

The timing of the launch event, held at the IFA conference in Berlin and New York, was hard to ignore with Apple's iPhone 6 debut next week. Samsung was clearly trying to claim the innovation mantle as Apple finally gets around to offering a larger screen iPhone.


DJ Lee, executive vice president and head of sales and marketing of Samsung's IT & mobile communications unit, said "we will never slow down." Lee positioned Samsung as the innovation leader on everything from the S-Pen stylus to user interface to screen resolution and battery improvements.

Lee also talked up Samsung's wearable moves and noted "our industry is at a very important moment."

The takeaway: Samsung will keep firing and innovating with a rapid cadence of device launches. Apple would counter that Samsung is throwing things up against the wall to see what device will actually stick.

CNET: Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has quad HD 5.7-inch display, 16MP camera, faster Snapdragon 805 chip (hands-on)

Let's look at Samsung's high level messaging and whether the talk holds up:

Innovation: Samsung has advanced its stylus and the Note 4 handwriting recognition is faster than its predecessor. The Galaxy Note Edge has a curved screen that is part of the user interface. It's unclear whether developers will go for the design, but the Edge is crazy enough to be useful. In addition, no one has tried that Edge design. Samsung also added 3G connectivity to its latest Gear watch. Overall, Samsung unveiled some innovative features and connectivity to a Gear S smartwatch takes care of the biggest complaint with the devices. Samsung also talked up its user interface tweaks.

Verdict: Samsung's innovation is in keeping with previous moves. Some of the features are almost too easy to mock, but many of them are items you didn't know you needed. Samsung certainly keeps throwing things out there to see what sticks.


Samsung owns the big screen: While Apple will get into the large screen device game next week, Samsung was emphatic that it was there first. The Edge has a 5.6 inch screen. Even Samsung's latest smartwatch has a massive screen. 

Verdict: Samsung was mocked when it launched large screen devices. Nevertheless, you can find people in New York City holding these massive screens to their heads. Everything Samsung is launching — Note 4, Gear S and Gear VR — has massive screens. At some point, these screens are going to be too large. That point hasn't come yet though.


Samsung has a developer ecosystem. Samsung noted repeatedly that it needed developers to support the company and functionality for the Edge as well as the virtual reality goggles. Samsung also has its own health platform.

Verdict: Samsung can woo developers, but it's unclear whether app makers are loyal to Google and Android or the consumer electronics giant. Samsung can partner well, but lacks the developer loyalty that Apple and Google enjoy. That limitation could ultimately impact how the Note Edge's curved screen works in practice.

Topics: Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets, Innovation

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  • Looking forward...

    Definitely looking forward to the Note 4... if only because then prices on the Note 3 will drop and I should be able to pick one up without having to sell my first born.
    • Samsung has a good idea here

      Though they should address customer care better and address their complaints.
      • Samsung Devices

        Great hardware, lousy software...
        • Not really that bad...

          ...but I recently switched from a Samsung Galaxy to an LG G3. I think it's a better phone than the S5, but I'm perfectly aware it's just my opinion.
          • I think it's fair

            The lg g3 is this years model, the S5 is last year's.

            Plus that screen on the lg g3 is redonkulous!

            I would agree that samsung's tweaks to android aren't to my taste. Some of the tweaks they make remind me of my old 3gs. I like the relatively clean moto and obviously the nexus versions.

            The only exception would be with my htc one - when they released a version with clean android I flashed a ROM over my HTC and actually preferred the HTC's original software to the clean android, but it only really felt right with that phone.
      • Customer complaints is

        usually the voice of the vocal minority for any given product/service. As long as the business model can tolerate a certain amount of it, it's no big deal.
        • That's...what is wrong with America today...

          ...when individuals or companies take that attitude you just expressed.
    • a little birdy told me....

      Samsung is incorporating Oculus Rift drivers into the Note 4 release firmware....
  • Sloppy writing

    What an innovative take on a run-on sentence!

    "Samsung on Wednesday launched its Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, a curved screen phablet, and Gear VR, a virtual reality headset, but the larger..."

    How many red marks would an elementary English teacher mark this sentence up with? Enough to need a new pen.
    • None

      The first sentence is fine. Just because it's long doesn't make it a run-on sentence.
      • Incorrect

        It IS a run-on sentence.
        • Nope.

          It is a list of objectives. Perhaps the last one is a bit long, but that isn't a run on sentence.
        • The writing style is called...

          ...Gonzo journalism or stream of conscious writing. Many famous authors used it: (Hunter S. Thompson, Kerouac, Bob Dylan and Tom Robbins all come to mind).

          I have no problem with it as long as punctuation adheres to how our mind "thinks" consciously.
    • Nonsense

      Get that same elementary teacher to mark up Dickens. S/he will need a new pen for every page. I brought accomplished teenagers from the UK into the US public education. As a result I can tell you that a strange set of rules are being taught to your children. The simple, mechanical nature of these rules lines up with the general dumbing-down of your education system. The so-called "run on sentence" is a great example.

      If forced to choose between the red pen of your elementary teachers or the writing style of Dickens (and most other great authors) I think I will go with the latter. You?
      • I will go with...

        what is correct. May I humbly suggest that you move to the UK? :)
        • One might, but you can't

          Your statement is anything but humble, as was the original criticism of the OP's English.
      • Wow

        And that is how you "READ" someone!! I would definitely prefer the writing styles of dickens,Austen and brontes over red pen any day!! :-)
      • It is unwise to make errors when talking about errors!


        ... a strange set of rules is being taught ...
    • Pot, meet Kettle

      "How many red marks would an elementary English teacher mark this sentence up with?"

      Let's take a red pen to this sentence ending with a preposition. This is a perfect example of incorrect grammar and sentence structure, unlike the so-called run-on sentence cited. Nice try, thanks for playing.
      • Love it!!

        Well stated!!