The release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 highlighted what we claimed a little while ago – software is the new battleground. Focus is firmly placed on software in an attempt to clearly differentiate the Galaxy S Series from it’s competitors on two fronts; hardware and software. Now that we are probably nearing an end to the trend of yearly screen size increases we may see software taking the forefront of flagship product launches. This is particularly relevant as manufacturers increasingly seek ways to build their own eco-systems rather than relying solely on the world’s most popular mobile operating system. So now we have had time to digest the Galaxy S4 specs sheet what didn’t we get that other devices already have?
1. Front-facing speakers
It really does sound like a no-brainer. You watch videos on the screen yet the sound fires out of the back of the device often from a small tinny speaker. Whereas the Galaxy S4 speaker doesn’t sound too shabby it pains me to say that the HTC One got it right on this occasion – stereo speakers on the front of the device. Personally I think that this is an awesome, and very logical idea.
2. Aluminium / metal unibody
The Galaxy S4 is a slightly squared version of the Galaxy S3 design. It uses a poly-carbonate shell as Samsung continue their preference to plastics over metal. The internet has been a buzz asking why Samsung didn’t introduce a new design utilising a metal unibody – intensified by the gorgeous look of the HTC One and the iconic iPhone 5. The answer to this question may be twofold. Firstly metal weighs more and with the Galaxy S4 Samsung wanted a lighter device possibly to offset the slight increase in dimensions. Secondly a new design body would have taken the shine off their software launch – after all the Galaxy S3 design is gorgeous and they’ll probably want to keep some reserves in the tank for the Galaxy S5.
3. Headphone jack on the bottom
Okay, okay. So this is a highly debatable question – should the headphone jack be on the top like the S3 or on the bottom like the iPhone 5. I would argue that it needs to be on the bottom. It feels more natural as you take your phone out of your pocket. This is a very minor point but we didn’t get it (whether it’s right or wrong) so I have added it to the list.
4. A single processor for all markets
Unfortunately here in the UK we will not be getting the Octa-Core processor which I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Instead we will be getting the quad-core processor due to the UK Networks’ impending launch of LTE / 4G services. For future devices I would like it if there was one processor for all markets – this would stop the disappointment in finding out that one of the most interesting points will not be available in your market… well unless you import.
5. New battery technology
It’s one of the biggest advances in mobile that has yet to come – a more efficient way of providing battery life to your life’s companion. Hitachi Maxell’s new battery technology promises 60% more energy from the same size battery. That’s a 3200 mAh battery that is the same size as today’s 2000 mAh battery. Not only would this help get us to the haloed two day battery life it could also make smartphones considerably lighter as there is less battery bulk to carry. That could also mean room in the casing for new advancements.
The Nokia Lumia series heralded the return of the colours to mobile devices. I was hoping that Samsung would release more colours of the Galaxy S4 from the word go. However instead I expect that they will create carrier / retailer exclusive colours three to six months after launch just like they did with the S3. This is a real shame but also very easy to understand why they would be reluctant to do it – stock. The Galaxy S4 is set to sell in some pretty huge numbers and the last thing they want is a stock problem to deter would be buyers. It would be difficult to forecast the popularity of Rocket Red, Purple Mist, or Nectar Amber which leaves Samsung wide open to stock issues that could lose custom.
So that’s our list folks. If you think we should have added anything else feel free to comment. Provide us with your Twitter handle and we’ll give you a shout if we include your idea / item in an updated version of this article.