Today is the big day. Samsung will have the attention of the entire tech world and hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of consumers around the world. The successor to the one of the most successful smartphones ever will be unveiled shortly after 7:00 PM EDT today. And there is a ton of pre-announcement buzz leading up to the event.
A mad rush of leaks and rumors broke out this week, some as recent as this morning. But the reception of these rumors and leaks has been surprisingly mixed.
Judging from the increasing number of pictures that show off the purported Galaxy S IV in intricate detail, the Galaxy S III design is being recycled and only slightly tweaked for the fourth-gen Galaxy S model. It features the same mostly-plastic build with a faux-metal trim around the edges.
The design does seem to incorporate the less rounded corners from the Galaxy Note II and a different camera and LED setup around back. And the brushed finish has been replaced with a dotted pattern, which appears to mimic a grippy texture. But the outcome is virtually the same (if these seriously convincing leaks are to be believed) – same cheap plastic, same mundane design.
And we’re left wondering if Samsung is pulling an Apple here. Over the years, Samsung has managed to mimic the success of Apple. And, no, I’m not talking about copying phone design. That’s history now. Sammy made that very clear with the Galaxy S III design, aiming to design something that looked nothing like the iPhone. They succeeded.
What I’m referencing is how Samsung consolidated its branding, hit a few grand slams with marketing and quit catering to individual carrier requests, cold turkey. Unlike the original Galaxy S and Galaxy S II, the S III was launched under a single name, worldwide – the tactic that was first implemented by Apple, at least in the smartphone industry, to incredible success.
And now, it seems, Samsung is ripping another move from Apple’s playbook: putting the brakes on truly inspired design and slowing innovation. It’s milking the current design and banking on some specification upgrades and more unique software features to carry it through the year. The rumored specifications will get the Galaxy S line up to speed with the competition: a 4.99-inch 1080p (with PenTile subpixel arrangement), 1.8GHz octa-core Exynos 5410 SoC, 2GB RAM and a 2,600mAh battery. It’s also said to feature 16GB of built-in storage and, of course, microSD card support. With the exception of the Exynos 5410, it’s nothing we haven’t already seen.
We’ve been seeing more and more unique software features pop up here and there, as well. Smart Stay and Smart Rotation as well as multitasking features, such as Popup Browser and Popup Video, were introduced last year. A host of camera features were unveiled, too.
No doubt, as specifications continue to rapidly improve, software differentiation and innovation is vital. But the software features we’ve seen so far are quite gimmicky: floating touch, SmartPause and Smart Scrolling.
The question of the hour is: will Samsung pull an iPhone 5 with the Galaxy S IV?
Our obvious hope is that they won’t. It’s much more interesting and fun to report on something entirely new, something with a truly new design and high-quality build. There is still hope – albeit quite slim – that Samsung is simply throwing us off its scent, keeping the real meat for the big unveiling that’s just hours away. Last year, the design was almost a total surprise. Sammy put a lot of effort and money into keeping the design and official details under wraps.
We were grasping at straws for any information we could get in 2012, but the information is flowing in faster than we can take it in this year. And, to some of us, that’s a tad suspicious. Sure, we’ve seen the device in full detail thanks to it168. But there’s still something fishy about knowing every last detail about the Galaxy S IV considering how protective and locked-down Samsung was over the Galaxy S III.
In that respect, the exact same thing happened with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. Prior to the iPhone 4S event, we knew the iPhone 5 was coming. When it didn’t, we were all completely befuddled. Yet we knew every detail going into the iPhone 5 event.
As bleak as it may seem, I’m holding onto hope that Samsung isn’t resting on its laurels, that the S IV will be a truly noteworthy upgrade to the S III. But if these rumors pan out, it looks like we may have the Galaxy S IIIS on our hands here, folks.
Either way, we’ll be live at the event, Time Square and on a Google+ Hangout, tackling the event from every possible angle. So be sure to tune in and watch with us as the mystery unfolds!
Also, feel free to throw your last-minute speculations in the comments below. Will you be upset with an incremental Galaxy S upgrade? Or are you on the other side of the argument? Does the purported S IV make you salivate uncontrollably?