The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S IV now appears to have been over-hyped. The launch event was very staged with actors, giving the feeling to the audience that it tried too hard to impress. Despite the presentation, the company delivered, which is a win for consumers. The S IV, which will be available in late-April, will support all 4G LTE bands in the United States. The previously-leaked specifications were there. The device will have:
· 802.11ac wi-fi support
· 5-inch screen
· 13MP camera
Additional features that were announced included:
· Simultaneous video recording from front/back cameras
· Infrared, humidity, and temperature sensors
On the software:
· Text/speech translator in 9 languages
· Health-tracking app
· Act as remote for home electronics via infrared
· Eye-tracking and touch-free gesture
Samsung’s S IV pushes the hardware specifications for smartphones. Apple (AAPL), whose iPhone 5 was released a few months ago, may feel the need to accelerate its upgrade cycle. On the software front, Samsung’s introduction of the new features may be hindrances. Eye-tracking and touch-free gesturing could annoy users if it does not work with precision. The phone maker will not be able to introduce bigger screen sizes to sustain unit sales and will need to turn its focus on software. On the software side, the innovation introduced by Samsung was incremental at best.
After S4, Samsung may also need to turn its focus on pricing. The S4 will be pricey, but to grow its user-base, Samsung will need to look for ways to sell a less-expensive device. This market is somewhat dominated by Nokia (NOK) through its Asha line. On the smartphone space, Nokia has a 500- and 600-series that is affordable.
Blackberry (BBRY) said it is not entering the bargain bin smartphone market. The company is gearing up for its U.S. launch of Blackberry 10. Verizon (VZ) will be selling the Z10 on March 28, 2013. Blackberry already received an order for 1 million units.
Investing Ideas: Company Comparison
Qualcomm (QCOM) supplies the 1.9GHz processor for the S4 and competes against NVIDIA (NVDA). An interactive chart below illustrates the impacted companies following the S4 release. The POP (price of profit) is plotted against market cap:
Written by Chris Lau