Samsung 'faces challenges' with S4

The new Samsung Galaxy S4. (Jason DeCrow, AP)
The new Samsung Galaxy S4. (Jason DeCrow, AP)
Cape Town - Samsung has launched its much-anticipated Galaxy S4 in New York on Thursday, but some have cautioned that the South Korean manufacturer may face challenges.

"The Galaxy S4 is not a revolutionary product, but nor does Samsung need it to be," said analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who reckons other phone companies should worry more about the "looming promotional onslaught" reported C|Net.

The S4 sports a thinner profile and a slightly bigger screen than the SIII. Samsung has been cruising at the top of the Android market, as the company chases down Apple as the top smartphone manufacturer in the key market of the US.

Analyst Ian Fogg of IHS argued that the S4 will extend Samsung's lead as the biggest phone manufacturer in the world, but cautioned that the bigger market share may place Samsung in competition with Google which builds the Android operating system.

"Samsung's own app store, wallet, video, music and games hubs increasingly place Samsung in competition with Google's own services," said Fogg.

Competitive market

Samsung has been working hard to ensure that the S4 stands out in an increasingly crowded Android market and the device has some unique feature such as the ability to interact with the phone by hovering the finger.

Also, several of the S4 devices can link together to play the same content and the picture in picture feature may attract some users to the brand.

Jan Dawson of Ovum said that the device will sell well, but that as the South Korean company grows its market share, it faced the challenge of how to continue to improve in a competitive market.

"And secondly, how to set Samsung's devices apart from other devices that share the Android operating system. As rivals such as HTC and Sony up the specs of their devices and provide ever better hardware, it becomes more and more important for Samsung to differentiate on software and services," said Dawson.

Dawson said that the new features introduced on the S4 are "gimmicks".

"The improvements to eye tracking, the addition of S Translator, the hover feature and so on are good steps in this direction, but they are gimmicks rather than game changers. At this point, Samsung appears to be trying to kill the competition with sheer volume of new features. But based on past experience most people will never even find them."

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