Last week a friend asked me, “Samsung or iPhone”? The question wasn’t really about what Android phone, but about which of the top 2 smartphones he should buy. On March 15 2013, Samsung held a launch event for the Galaxy S4 that left me suggesting to my friend iPhone or any other Android but never under any circumstances should he consider Samsung.
What went wrong for Samsung?
As I see it, Samsung had 2 primary problems in launching this phone. First, the event was atrocious. It was awkward and weird watching actors role-playing the device at Radio City Music Hall. The continual disruptions by the emcee breaking the forth wall and essentially stating “this is a joke, get it?” or “let’s give a round of applause” followed by silence was painful. However, this was only part of the presentation problem. The other large offense is more personal. Every woman depicted looked like a boozy June Cleaver worried about calorie counting and wedding planning. Samsung seems to be aiming mostly at consumers and not at business power users, but it’s no reason to present the content in such a manner as I witnessed.
The other big dilemma observed is that Samsung cluttering the phone they provide with crappy apps that remind me of the crapware pre-loaded onto Compaq and Gateway computers circa 1998. Not only is Samsung duplicating functionality that Google has provided via Android, but they are pre-loading apps that create functionality already available in the Google Play store.
Other Samsung Galaxy S4 Features
- A Google translate clone
- Samsung’s iMessage/BBM clone that doesn’t interface to Google Chat or other Google messaging services
- No major changes in the layout or interface
- More megapixels!
Check out the replay of this horrid event. The ladies enter around 3/4 of the way through:
Moving forward, I hope that Samsung is less about a splashy showy launch that translates well internationally and pays attention to cultural sensitivity in each market.
If you’re looking for a great Android option, my friends suggest the HTC.