Friday, 25 January 2013



Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers... I hope that you all are well and having a great time with your tech! The one tech that I have neglected is to get a decent coffee filter machine; this instant stuff is horrid! Yuck! So, that’s another one to add to me list! I am also after an Android tablet too and this year I will be spoiled for choice!

Yes, Samsung’s earnings for the quarter of 2012 do not surprise me at all! As I have said, the Galaxy SII is still a strong seller and the beautiful SIII took the market by storm. Now the Galaxy Note II is triumphant success as a design and as a super-intelligent device.

Now you know where the other half or third of Apple’s could have been earnings went to. Ha ha! But 2013 is going to be a very challenging year for Samsung as China is entering the Android arena globally! Can Samsung remain on top?

I think it is fair to say that Samsung’s entry into the tablet market was unsuccessful with the Galaxy Tab at the time of release. Also the second wave of the Tab concept, Tab 2, did a little better but was nowhere near the success of Apple. I got the impression that the 10” Tabs did a lot better until Apple litigated it off some shelves. If you have been following the Apple vs. Samsung tablets then you’ll know that UK and other European countries ruled in favour of Samsung saying that the iPad is a higher class of tablet and, of course, this ruling was correct. Sadly, Apple was not gracious in their defeat. They were asked to publish an apology to Samsung on the UK Apple website and they behaved like recalcitrant school children by publishing a mock apology instead. Is that the behaviour of a technically advanced company???? Apple had the opportunity to extend their apologies to Samsung and start the building of bridges but they acted in a way that made them look as though they got spanked in public like you (once) would a toddler throwing a tantrum through not getting his or her way.

What the litigation did was to validate that Samsung’s tablet products were worthy of purchasing. Apple unwittingly created a successful ad campaign for Samsung’s mobile devices. I would imagine that the litigation made people take notice of Samsung all the more; I mean all you have to do is just look at the iPad and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and see that there is a great difference between the two tablets. Me? I honestly prefer the look of Samsung tablets – I like the widgets just as they appear on the handsets. I find the widgets are a great way to constantly monitor information and are a first point of interaction. The iPad doesn’t feature this. No doubt that the iPad looks great, but the materials are too precious and aren’t durable. I do feel that Apple uses the fact that Samsung and other manufacturers use a combination of plastic and rubber for the body for their tablets as means of propaganda. When I’ve tested the Android tablets I never felt that I had to be overly careful. I do have a preference for the 7” for its portability. I really thought that Jobs’ mockery of the 7” tablet was really dumb. I thought to myself, ‘How can this so called “genius” openly mock the competition when there’s no need? Clearly, it’s about choice. And if people want to buy a 7” Android tablet it’s up to them...’ It was as if Jobs was trying to hypnotise folk against Android and all it did was to draw more attention to it. A bad move for Apple! My initial thought of the Galaxy Tab 7 was that it was great! It was handy for surfing the web, etc. What let it down was the price. I can’t remember how much it was; suffice to say that it was too much for me! Oddly, I wasn’t thinking about the apps. My mindset has it that Android tablets are great for consuming and light work. Today, my view has changed. I think there are great possibilities for productivity with Android tablets.

What also made Samsung a serious contender is the fact that they didn’t give up. They acknowledged their shortcomings and vowed to do better.

Today, the top mobile retail chains are offering a Samsung tablet, Tab 2 7, with a budget handset like the Samsung Galaxy SIII mini on a 24 month contract. It’s a great advertisement for Samsung’s tablets and it’s an ingenious way to get tablets in the hands of those who wouldn’t have otherwise considered it.

In my opinion the Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablets were really good and underestimated by much of the tech-press / media. The turning point for the tablet came from the Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note was a brave and truly genius device that served different purposes:

1. It delivered the hybrid between handset and tablet. It picked a bit of slack left by the Tab range of tablets.

2. It showed that Samsung are prepared to innovate. They reinvented where the Dell Streak 5” handset failed. Dell was just too early.

3. The Galaxy Note was a calling card to showcase that Samsung are able to imbue their innovative devices with an unprecedented usability that is lacking by other manufacturers – including Apple!

As a result, Samsung were able to represent the tablet with the Note 10.1! It worked! Samsung aimed the Note 10.1 tablet at productivity and design. Their adverts showed what the Note 10.1 tablet can do in terms of multitasking!

I don’t know how many of these Note 10.1” tablets they have sold, but in my local supermarket there’s always someone on the demo tablets. I wonder if I can find out how many units were sold over the Christmas period. I’ll look into it.

Just from bullying from Apple, Samsung morphed into something that the competition couldn’t conceive. Not even the Dell Streak boasted any usability features. Samsung just said, “There you go, Apple. Let’s see what you have to say about the Galaxy Note!” when they bounced back from litigation. Apple could not respond other than to laugh at the fact that the Note featured the S Pen.

“We have the best way to interface with the tablet... It’s the finger...” announced Jobs at one of the iPad’s press events. C’mon... Lol!

When I got my Galaxy SII I was, and still am, over the moon with it. I loved the 4.27” screen and the design was a bit of a departure from the SI. It is so smooth compared to the SI. The iPhone wasn’t something for me. One of my inexpensive contracts is up for renewal in April and I was hoping that the SII would have come down in price. Uh-uh! No way! The SII retains its value! I am better off looking at the first Galaxy Note!

I used laugh at the headlines, “iPhone Killer?” when it came to the SII vs. iPhone and I think most people knew that the SII was the winner! It was voted multimedia phone of that year – and quite rightly too! I must have told you before that the SII is in the top 5 handset that was selling over the last 18 months. In some retail outlets I have been told that the SII outsold the iPhone 4 and 4S; it still continues to sell! The good news – if you haven’t rooted your SII – is that it is receiving the Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean upgrade. I have rooted mine and waiting for a stable version of the Cyanogen Jelly Bean 4.2 mod! Hopefully it’ll some soon; I think Cyanogen custom ROMs are the best! I am using a 4.1.2 Jelly Bean from Codebox which is very, very good. It is very stable and it shows that the SII is a supreme bit of hardware that can run Jelly Bean in a very satisfactory way! Beautiful!

The SIII did come as a shock to me. I didn’t like the new design at first; I thought the design was a step backwards. However, once I got it in my hand to review it... WOW!!!! I was blown away! It has such great usability features that SIII users are in love with! It took the mobile phone market by storm! It just took over! I was going to get an SIII but went for the Note II instead and I am looking at the Galaxy SIV now.

The SIII just left the iPhone standing choking in the dust.

If you are a lover of handsets – especially the Galaxy premium range of handsets then you would have heard or read some rumours that are flying around. It never ceases to amaze me how the thought of a new Galaxy S handset can cause fever pitch excitement months away from its release! Thankfully, it’s near the end of January and so it won’t be long before we can see what the SIV for is about. But will it be called the SIV? Apparently, in Korean culture, the number ‘4’ is said to be unlucky; this could mean that Samsung will announce a new handset convention. I have also understood that Samsung wishes to change its appearance in terms of its logo, etc and this tentatively named SIV could be the start of this change.

Have you seen the advert for Samsung’s products with a flexible display? You ought to YouTube it! It looks spectacular! It makes many of us speculate upon the screen of the forthcoming SIV; will it have the flexible screen? Has the time finally come for the flexible screen?

All that I can tell you is that a Samsung representative told me that I will be blown away by the SIV. I am sure that I will. Obviously, the representative didn’t go into details... But if it had the flexible screen... Oh my goodness! I think the mobile world will just explode!

Yes, there’s some rumour about the Galaxy Note III that will come later this year. I think that three is the charm for Samsung. The initial release gets people’s imagination fired up. The second has people buying into the product. The third has people buying into in the masses!

A lot is expected from the Galaxy Note III! Again, many – including me – are hoping that the Note IIII will feature the flexible display! The Note III promises to be the pinnacle of the “phablet” mobile device. One of the aspects is said to be a 6.3” screen! This makes me think that this will be possible with the flexible screen. The Note III could be completely without a bezel. We’ll see...

I think it is safe to say that Samsung sits on the top of the Android throne, however this presents many challengers. One of the challengers is Huawei, which has come up leading against HTC and LG. Huawei are hungry! I think they will release a 6.6” handset that will compete directly against the Galaxy Note II and III (when it comes).

And let’s not discount Apple. I can imagine that Cook and friends are going nuts trying to figure out where to go next for the iPhone and iPad. I do think that Apple will have to put out different iPhones: premium and budget. I think there will be two premium iPhones: Standard and Max. The Max version will have the bigger screen – possibly 4.7” or 4.8”. The budget handsets won’t necessarily feature a retina display. Again, there will be two budget iPhones: 4” and 4.7”. But will it be too late? There’s some mileage left in iOS and if the design is right the iPhone can come back in the frame! The next iOS has to offer so much more as Android has outclassed it. Yes, iOS looks pretty but it’s not as functional and borrows heavily from Android’s notification. I don’t know why Google hasn’t sued! But Apple needs to step up!

BlackBerry 10 is forthcoming and the latest rumour is that Lenovo could either be buying RIM outright or just a license to produce BlackBerry handsets. From what I have seen the BlackBerry 10 looks like it could possibly recapture their dwindling market. I know some BlackBerry users have already defected to the Galaxy SIII and SIII mini. I think it will be a struggle for BlackBerry to get the defectors back.

As I have previously stated, there are hungry manufacturers of Android devices looking to assert their products this year. You may be aware of the “leaks” of forthcoming 5” plus handsets from HTC, Huawei, Lenovo, LG, etc. These handsets may be attractive enough to sway Samsung fans... But we’ve seen that with a powerful handset that is HTC One X+ the SIII still came out on top! Any Android competitor has to show something really diverse in its usability. Usability is where Samsung leads. Mark my words; there will be a lot of competitive products this year.

The hardcore Android competition may be the cause of Samsung revealing the SIV earlier than usual.

It looks like the Galaxy Note 8 is a reality and that it could be appearing at the Mobile World Conference next month! Woo! Another rumour is that Samsung will also release a 7” tablet that will undercut all the leading Android based 7” tablets: Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD and the Nook. I don’t have any idea on the spec, but I am quite sure that it will feature an HD screen. I can only hope that there will be an external slot for a microSD or SD card. Then there is a possibility of a range of Tab 3 products: 7”, 8” and 10.1” that may also be revealed at the MWC! It’s quite exciting news if you’re in the market of obtaining a tablet this year.

Let’s look at why Samsung is currently on top...

They take risks. I don’t think any other mobile device manufacturers take as many risks as Samsung. For example, they’ve seen how Dell’s Streak bombed and yet they put the Galaxy Note on the market.

They think outside the box and seem to have a vision far into the future. Apple didn’t do much with the iPhone and iPad – the designs are mediocre with a “if it ain’t broke just add to it” philosophy. Samsung, “let’s make it better...”

They are able to present exquisite designs; the Galaxy Note II and SIII are radical... Future Now.

There’s so much functionality in the Note, Note II, Note 10.1 tablet and SIII. It’s the Premium Suite software onboard the Note devices that have wowed technology lovers.

Samsung have become masters of press presentation. Again, compared to Apple, Samsung’s presentations are factual and show off the devices key functions. Sure, there’s a bit of cheese in the form of a video intro but it brings about emotion and the audience form an attachment. This is the device that will help to get the most out of your day! It works! I was truly sad when I had to give the SIII back when I finished the review.

Here’s how they can stay on top...

1. Keep up with the radical designs.

2. Make it so the latest devices can update to the latest version of Android.

3. Keep developing the widgets and TouchWiz. I think the S Voice can get better – it’s not as bad as some tech-media make out. S Voice functions well enough to launch apps, get the latest weather, etc.

4. Keep up with the built-in software to give their handsets that extra functionality.

5. It’s time for Samsung to get a dedicated team of developers together to form their own app store. It surprises me that manufacturers do not take full advantage of Android beyond the operating system. All manufacturers are doing right now is to put out hardware, hardware and hardware. Android users are screaming out for the app quality that iPhone and iPad enjoy. Why aren’t Samsung doing anything here? I would be quicker to purchase apps from a well known brand than anything else.

Let’s say I am swayed by one of Samsung’s competitors, wouldn’t it be ideal for both me and Samsung to purchase the Premium Suite application.

6. Be first to deliver devices with a flexible screen! Samsung showed off some prototype devices with the flexible Youm screen. If they have gone that far then perhaps we should see a device with a Youm display this year! For my sake (and others) let it be on the SIV! Lol!

7. Keep up with the Galaxy Camera! I almost forgot about that... I have yet to review it! It looks very, very promising!

8. I think Samsung should think about their budget range with more depth. These devices need more storage capacity and RAM. It’s pointless to have a budget handset only to find that it can’t store any decent apps!

9. Invite the public to design a future device! I think it would be a fun exercise that could generate a greater audience.

10. Battery power! All these wonderful devices NEED more battery capacity! They could do the following:

a. Create their own extended battery case.

b. Make it so that the back of the device is one big battery.

Include a spare in future devices.

Thank you for reading!

Synapse Circuit Readers! Just to let you know that I am busy working on a new format... Bear with me! I hope to get it up online in time to coincide with the end of this month... In the meantime please check out the Interactive PDF right here:
Synapse Circuit Dot Com!

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