By Joe Levi | March 14, 2013 1:36 PM
Samsung doesn’t need to do anything amazing with the Galaxy S IV to have another amazing product that people will flock to buy. I’m completely confident that Samsung could even take the Galaxy S III, upgrade the processor and battery just a smidgen and call it good. And it would sell. Like hotcakes. And I wouldn’t mind one bit. Why? The Galaxy S III is already an amazing phone, and it’s not really starting to show its age. Not yet anyway.
I’m not normally one to put the brakes on the constant march of technology, but there comes a point where processor speed, quantity of RAM and storage space, and graphics capabilities reach a plateau where the average user doesn’t notice any difference. Is an improvement on a spec sheet that goes unnoticed in practical use really an “improvement”?
Specs Sell Products
I won’t argue against the fact that specs sell products, but specs only tell part of the story. Another chapter tells of the features and software advancements that are included in a new product. That part frustrates me. Most of the time those “new features” could be put into “last year’s model” without much more than a software update. Manufacturers don’t do that and carriers don’t like it. Why? Manufacturers make money selling new products, and carriers rope customers into longer contracts by forcing them to upgrade to get the new features.
The last component in the story is the chapter written by the marketing folks. This chapter is the most exciting. It speaks to our emotions. It makes us laugh. It makes us cry. It makes us want to experience all these things with their product in our hands, because for some reason our lives will be made better by having their product.
So far Samsung has teased us with marketing. They’ve deliberately held back specifications and they’re not telling us what new features their new smartphone includes. But they don’t have to!
People will want “the next Galaxy” just because it’s the “next” one. They’re so happy with the current iteration of the device that they’re willing to put their faith — and their pocketbook — to the test. Some might call that foolish. Others might simply opine, as I am, that there’s not a lot of risk involved in supporting the next iteration in the Galaxy family because of the history of the last one.
Samsung Knows This
Samsung knows that people will line up to buy their new phone (perhaps some people are already lined up). They don’t need to do anything dramatic or game-changing to sell their phone. They just need to keep doing what they’re doing: making wonderful products that are incrementally better than the previous version. Is that what Samsung will do? I doubt it. The folks at Samsung like pushing the envelope. They like “one-upping” their competition. In this industry, some may argue that they need too.
Will Samsung Play it Safe?
Whether or not you think Samsung will “play it safe” with the SGS4 is really a matter of defining what “safe” is. So let me jump in with some predictions. Samsung will not use the SGS4 to introduce a roll up display. They won’t include a 5,000 mAh battery. They won’t include a 3D screen. The camera won’t have a telephoto lens like the Galaxy Camera does. It won’t have an octa-core (but it may have a dual quad-core, which isn’t the same thing).
Most of those sound pretty silly, I know. They’re supposed to. Of course Samsung will “play it safe”, they’ve got shareholders to answer to. However, they’ll also push what we’ve already seen and introduce some new stuff that we haven’t. Or I could be completely off and Samsung will wow us by showing more than just increment improvement. We’ll find out for certain in a few more hours!