Samsung Galaxy “Ultimate Test Drive” for iPhone Switchers

Last week, Samsung launched the “Ultimate Test Drive” promotional website to entice customers to ditch their iPhones in favor of Samsung’s cheap imitation iPhone clones, namely the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge+ or the Galaxy Note5.

Did I mention all of those devices run the less secure and less frequently updated Google Android OS?
Like I would ever give up my iPhones for an Android device.  Least of all a Samsung Android device.
The program works like this:
  1. You go to the promo site.
  2. Pick out the new Galaxy phone you want
  3. Take a 30-day test drive (after handing over your credit card information)
  4. Buy the phone or send it back.
So, here’s the kicker.  The site went live late last week.  When I visited the site on Sunday morning, I was greeted by a message at the bottom of the page that reads:
“Thank you for your interest. Due to the overwhelming demand, we are temporarily out of test drive phones. Please keep checking back for available phones.”
Huh.  I thought that Samsung was having a hard time selling Galaxy phones after Apple launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ last September.  You’d think that Samsung would have piles and piles of Galaxy phones in warehouses all over the place after reports from earlier this month that price cuts are going into effect.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge+ go on sale in the US on September 21.

Samsung Unveils the Galaxy S5 Smartphone

Today, at the Mobile World Congress trade show, Samsung took the wraps off of their new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5.

Samsung’s full Galaxy S5 press release follows below.

Barcelona, Spain, February 24, 2014 – Samsung Electronics today announced the fifth generation of the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S5, designed for what matters most to consumers. The new Galaxy S5 offers consumers a refined experience with innovation of essential features for day-to-day use.

“With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to basics to focus on delivering the capabilities that matter most to our consumers,” said JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung. “Consumers are looking for mobile tools that inspire and support them as they improve their everyday lives. The Galaxy S5 represents an iconic design with essential and useful features to focus on delivering the ultimate smartphone on the market today through people inspired innovation.”

The Galaxy S5 combines an advanced camera, the fast network connectivity, dedicated fitness tools and enhanced device protection features as consumers stay fit and connected in style.

Capture the moments that matter
Capturing and saving precious memories is one of the most important smartphone features today. The new Galaxy S5 offers superior camera functionality, featuring a 16 megapixel camera with an enhanced menu and user interface that allow consumers to effortlessly take, edit and share photos.

The Galaxy S5 offers the world’s fastest autofocus speed up to 0.3 seconds and the advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR), reproduce natural light and color with striking intensity at any circumstances. Also new Selective Focus feature allows users to focus on a specific area of an object while simultaneously blurring out the background. With this capability, consumers no longer need a special lens kit to create a shallow depth of field (DOF) effect.

Tap into the fastest connections
The Galaxy S5 offers the most advanced LTE experience and Wi-Fi performance available today, ensuring blazing fast data speeds for unrivaled media consumption and productivity.

The Galaxy S5 supports the fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MIMO, and supporting the large number of LTE frequency with LTE Category 4 standard. For consumers seeking an even faster connection, the Galaxy S5 now features Download Booster, an innovative Wi-Fi technology for boosting data speed by bonding Wi-Fi and LTE simultaneously. No matter where a consumer is, the Galaxy S5 will help ensure they have the fastest available connection.

Be more fit and active
With the enhanced S Health 3.0, the new Galaxy S5 offers more tools to help people stay fit and well. It provides a comprehensive personal fitness tracker to help users monitor and manage their behavior, along with additional tools including a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a new, built-in heart rate monitor. Galaxy S5 users can further customize their experience with an enriched third party app ecosystem and the ability to pair with next generation Gear products for real-time fitness coaching.

Express modern, glam look
The Galaxy S5 blends iconic Samsung design with modern trends to appeal to a range of consumer tastes and interests. The Galaxy S5 features a perforated pattern on the back cover creating a modern glam look. Its new sleek, contoured shape comes in an array of vivid colors, including charcoal Black, shimmery White, electric Blue and copper Gold, to complement the style of the individual consumer.

Essential device protection
The Galaxy S5 is IP67 dust and water resistant. It also offers a Finger Scanner, providing a secure, biometric screen locking feature and a seamless and safe mobile payment experience to consumers. The Ultra Power Saving Mode turns the display to black and white, and shuts down all unnecessary features to minimize the battery consumption.

The device will be available globally through Samsung’s retail channels, e-commerce and carriers on April.

Samsung Finds It’s Not So Easy to Replicate Apple’s Tech

Daniel Eran Dilger covering Samsung’s Analyst Day for AppleInsider:

“However, delivery of the most anticipated advance, a 64-bit mobile Application Processor, was pushed out indefinitely into the future at the company’s “Analyst Day” event, offering scant hope for an Android answer to Apple’s A7 anytime soon.”

Back in September, Samsung officials boasted to The Korea Times:

“[Samsung’s mobile business chief Shin Jong-kyun said] that upcoming Samsung Galaxy-branded smartphones will be more powerful and faster by confirming that they would have 64-bit processing capability. 

“Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality,” Shin said, adding he followed the media coverage of Apple’s new iPhone.”

Maybe Samsung should use their massive pile of resources to execute on their own ideas rather than trying to rip off Apple’s.

Samsung’s New Business Model: Copy Palm, Access, and HP

Samsung, as previously reported by many websites, it working on it’s own operating system called “Tizen.”

BGR recently posted an article in which they report on Samsung’s hopes Tizen will be the alternative OS.  I believe that Samsung intends Tizen to be the OS that breaks them free of the need for Google’s Android operating system for smartphones and tablets.

But Samsung doesn’t just want to stop with smartphones and tablets, they see Tizen powering all sorts of devices.  In a recent interview with CNET, Samsung co-CEO J.K. Shin states:

“There are many convergences not only among IT gadgets, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and cameras, but also among different industries like cars, bio, or banks.  Cross-convergence is the one [area] Samsung can do best since we do have various parts and finished products.”

I don’t know about you, but a few things make me worry for Samsung.  First off, that co-CEO thing.  Ask RIM how that worked out for them.  Secondly, Samsung does a horrendous job putting their software on top of Android, now they’re writing their own operating system.  And lastly, when I hear talk about putting smartphone operating systems in all sorts of consumer electronics like cameras, banks and ATM machines, cars…I start to think about all the grandiose plans I recall reading about PalmSource Palm OS 5, ACCESS’ Access Linux Platform (aka Palm OS 6), and even Palm/HP webOS.   All of those efforts failed to even come close to reaching the kind of market penetration that was talked about.

Samsung, for it’s part, does control a number of product lines where they can just say we’re going to put the Tizen OS into this refrigerator and it will happen.  And Tizen will gain marketshare just from the sheer amount of gadget spam and appliances they put out.  But will people really want to run apps on their fridge, coffee maker, and toaster?  Maybe some day, but it looks doubtful for the next few years.

At least Samsung isn’t planning on abandoning the use of Google Android in their smartphones and tablets any time soon.

[Via BGR.com…]

Samsung Announces Developer’s Conference

Earlier today, consumer electronics giant Samsung announced a cross-platform developer’s show, Samsung Developer’s Conference , or SDC.

Scheduled to take place October 27-29 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, Union Square, the event is being billed as a cross-platform event that will cover topics including their Android-powered Galaxy smartphones and tablets, Windows PCs, Windows Phone smartphones, and even their SmartTV and Boxee offerings.

If I was Larry Page, I’d be more than a little worried that my largest Android partner is “going rogue.”

Bottom line: still looks like Samsung can’t come up with any original ideas.

Check Out Cygnett’s New WorkMake Evolution and Galaxy S4 Drop Test

Cygnett makes some amazing cases and the new WorkMate Evolution tri-materail protective case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is no exception.

But don’t take my word for it.  Check out Cygnett’s torture test video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4PrO6mn-N4]

(No Samsung phones were hurt during the filming of this video.)

I think the WorkMate Evolution Bright Blue case is my favorite.  I really like that color.

The WorkMake Evolution cases are on sale now for a very affordable $29.99.  To see the full line of WorkMate Evolution cases, check out the Cygnett website for more details.

Facebook Home Goes Live on Select Android Handsets

If you are the type that just can’t get enough Facebook and you use a Google Android smartphone, you might be interested to know that Facebook Home is now available for download from the Google Play Store.

Facebook Home provides deep Facebook integration into your Android-powered smartphone putting your friend’s status updates, notifications, and Messenger chats front and center so you always know what’s going on.

According to BGR, compatible devices include the HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One X+, Galaxy S4, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note II and of course HTC’s (2498) First. Unfortunately, Facebook Home is only available in the US right now and you must be running Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS or later.

Want to learn more about Facebook Home?  Check out Facebook’s promotional video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiqbNxRurFA]

[Via BGR.com…]

Samsung Galaxy S4 Launch Event Comments

The following are my thoughts and comments made while watching the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch event video.

Be advised that I am an Apple fanboy.  You’ve been warned.

– The opening remarks made me think that I was watching an boring awards show rather than a product launch from a major technology company.

Comments from JK Shin – President and Head, IT and Mobile Communications Division

– The Galaxy S4 was developed by “Innovation inspired by people” as opposed to….?

– Forget the famous S Pen, get ready for “S Heath”

– BlackBerry will be fuming that Samsung has ‘borrowed’ their idea for BlackBerry Balance and created Samsung Knox for separating personal/business applications and data

– “These ideas have been conceived from observations from real life.”  And by real life, Samsung means Apple, the iPhone, and iOS.

– Life is a journey and the Galaxy S4 is a companion for that journey.

– The Galaxy S4 “is slimmer, lighter, and more solid” – ok, sure, but as compared to what?

– Galaxy S4 will launch on 327 mobile networks in 155 countries

– Galaxy S4 will begin shipping at the end of April in 3G and 4G LTE editions

– Look how big that white Galaxy S4 looks in the emcee’s hand!

Comments from Ryan Bidan – Director of Product Marketing

– Full 5″ display with 441ppi using Super AMOLED screen

– I find it interesting that while they are talking about wireless performance, there is a note at the bottom right side of the slide that reads: “All data in this presentation is based on internally measured standards.”

– 13MP back camera, 2MP front facing camera – Ok, that makes the iPhone’s 8MP camera seem wimpy

– 2GB ram, 16/32/64GB of storage, microSD slot for up to an additional 64GB

– Temperature & humidity and IR sensors join accelerometer, RGB light, digital compass, proximity, gyro, and barometer sensors

– Galaxy S4 will ship with a removable 2600mAh battery

– Dual Camera feature – picture/movie can include images from rear and front facing cameras simultaneously.  Ok, that’s cool.

– Having flashbacks to Qualcomm’s “Born Mobile” CES 2013 keynote address during the Dual Camera feature demonstration

– Drama Shot can take 100 photos in 4 seconds and lets you pick the one(s) you want to keep

– Eraser allows you to take multiple pictures, blend them, and remove unwanted people who may wonder into the shot.  Works on Does not work on real people like in-laws.

– S Translator is the voice translation feature that can be useful if you travel to places that don’t speak your native language.

– S Translator understands 9 languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish); 10 if you count US and UK English separately

– I’m a little embarrassed that Apple’s Siri can’t do this already

– Story Album is Samsung’s answer to Apple’s iPhoto and Cards

– Where have I seen that HomeSync cloud icon before?

– HomeSync is Samsung’s iCloud response.  It comes with 1TB of storage space, vastly more than Apple’s 5GB of space for every iOS user.

– HomeSync can support up to 8 users and can be paired with a Galaxy S4 over NFC.

– HomeSync also has an Apple TV AirPlay-like feature.

– Why is no one laughing at these *amazing* jokes?!

– Smart Switch is a utility that will allow you to transfer all of your data “from almost any mobile operating system” to the Galaxy S4.  Funny how that phone on the left side of the slide looks familiar.

– “Samsung Knox is designed for business and enterprise users.  It locks your device down and keeps it safe from malicious applications.” Wow! That says A LOT about the state of Android. First you talk about who it’s for – That’s fine – and the next thing you say is that it will help protect you from all the malicious Android software?!  Did Samsung forget they were in a room full of journalists and tech writers?

– Knox is built on top of security enhanced Android. At 36:54 minutes into a 55 minute presentation, this is the first and last time that Samsung mentions the Google Android operating system.

– Group Play will allow you to stream music to up to 8 Galaxy S4 phones simultaneously.  Must be fun at parties.

– The Galaxy S4 can be used while wearing gloves!

– Works even better if the actress remembers to turn on the phone on first.  It would be easier to see it in her gloved right hand if that super bright 4.99″ AMOLED screen was on.

– Air Gesture allows you to swipe your finger over the phone screen to scroll up/down, left/right

– Smart Scroll / Pause allows you to look away from your phone and have the video you are watching pause until you look back at the screen.  Again, another cool feature.  I wonder how much battery running the front facing camera while watching a 2-hour movie chews up.

– Would you buy an expensive smartphone from these guys?!

Galaxy S4 “Premium” Finish

I was watching the Introducing Samsung Galaxy S4 video yesterday and I was wondering how a phone with a plastic body can have a ‘premium’ finish.  I didn’t have to wonder long or look too far to find my answer.

From BGR.com:

“The first time you pick up an iPhone, HTC (2498) One or even a Nokia (NOK) Lumia smartphone you will be impressed with the build quality. These are devices that actually feel like they’re worth the $600+ price tags. 

The Galaxy S 4, on the other hand, feels more like a toy than a high-end smartphone.

The device is incredibly light, weighing a mere 130 grams, but unlike the iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grams, Samsung’s latest smartphone feels as if it can be snapped in half, even more so than the Galaxy S III. Over the course of a two-year contract you better not let this smartphone fall out of your hand or else you will be in trouble.”

I’ll be sticking with my iPhone, thanks.  If you are planning on getting a Galaxy S4, you also better consider getting a protective case from Cygnett.

Samsung Posts Galaxy S4 Videos

Samsung has posted a pair of videos for your viewing pleasure to go along with yesterday’s unveiling of the new Galaxy S4 Life Companion smartphone.

Samsung Unpacked 2013 Product Announcement Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yaw6CSaPnfk]

Introducing Samsung Galaxy S4 Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LHv1FPd1Ec]