When Samsung pulls back the curtain on its new Galaxy smartphone March 14 at its launch spectacle in Radio City Music Hall, it will likely be introducing a summer blockbuster of a handset.
Presumably named the Galaxy S4, Samsung’s new flagship is rumored to sport a 4.99-inch screen—technically not a phablet, though phablet specs certainly aren’t set in stone. The S4 could also come with a 1080p AMOLED display, a Snapdragon quad-core processor (with an octo-core chip said to be installed in the overseas model) and possibly some form of eye-tracking technology.
But with the spec war victories approaching the limitations of what a smartphone actually needs in terms of processing, memory and resolution, Thursday’s unveiling could well focus on software.
Recon analyst Roger Entner thinks Samsung really wants to differentiate itself with software, saying the company needs to go “on top and above and beyond what vanilla Android is providing.”
It stands to reason taking into account both BlackBerry’s and HTC’s big flagship phone announcements earlier this year. While both presented well-built pieces of hardware, the bulk of their focus was on software. In BlackBerry’s case, a wholly redesigned, gesture-based operating system, and in HTC’s case, a radical update to its Sense UI which added a live panel update to the homescreen.
But Samsung’s biggest competitor, Apple, could find itself in a fairly unique position after the Galaxy S4 launch in Entner’s opinion.
“If it comes out in April, [Samsung] will have several months of lead time where it might have the best phone out there,” Entner said, presuming Apple’s next launch won’t come until the end of summer or past that.
In a sign that Cupertino could be sweating the S4 launch a bit, Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller came out yesterday blasting Android’s fragmentation, saying that the vast majority of users aren’t even on the most current update of the OS.
It’s likely the S4 will come loaded with Android 4.2 but if Samsung is able to ship the phone soon after announcing it, Entner sees the potential for the Korean handset maker to deal a death blow to a competitor.
“If they’re smart, I would expect April. March would be even better,” Entner said talking about an S4 release date. “Because that would completely destroy BlackBerry’s delivery date, which is next week. Imagine that. Boom! They could wipe out BlackBerry.”
It won’t be long before the world gets a look the Galaxy S4 and an idea of how it will shake up the industry. The Unpacking event is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET tonight. Samsung will be live streaming the event from its Facebook page and on YouTube.