Thursday, 21 August 2014


Above: A Galaxy Note 4 concept.
Good evening, Synapse Circuit Readers. How are you tonight? I hope you had a great day and chilling out in the lounge taking things easy! And if your day is currently unravelling there is still time...

I tell you it never ceases to amaze me how people can react to my articles! It is a constant amusement when people take simple things out of context and complicate things... Why? I just don’t know... Hahahaha!

Anyway, Samsung seems to be going through something of a system failure where the premium handset is concerned... Can Samsung reboot?

#Samsung #GalaxyAlpha #SamsungGalaxyNote4 #GalaxyAlpha #GalaxyS5LTE #GalaxyS5Prime #GalaxyTabS #GalaxyTab4NOOK #SamsungUNPACKED2014Episode2 #Mega2 #GalaxyS6

As with all major Samsung Galaxy S and Note launches there is a massive wash of endless speculations, wishes and “leaks”. I think the “leaks” are done on purpose for titillation purposes and it works! By golly these “leaks” have folk salivating like a Bloodhound! Expectations ride high and we expect to reach climax on the launch date itself.

What we got on the day 24th day of February 2014 was a very unusually sombre Galaxy S5 launch by Samsung’s own flamboyant standards. Gone was the theatrics that launched the Galaxy S4 into the consciousness of the consumer and media. Gone were the elaborate stage scenes that went to show off the powerful features of the Galaxy S4... The Galaxy S5 felt like the GS4 and a half! What happened to this premium version intrepidly dubbed the “Prime”? Talk about the fireworks failing to go off! Don’t get me wrong... I think the Galaxy S5 is a superb handset that I would have upgraded to if had been coincidental; at this rate I am heading for the Galaxy S6 and certainly a Galaxy Note 4 this year! Oh, goody!

I thought the dust and water resistance was a good idea as is the heart rate monitor! I know of several physical fitness trainers who got the GS5 specifically for the heart rate monitor. Oh, let’s not forget the fingerprint scanner! I thought it worked quite well. I know that the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S doesn’t always work according to my nephew and friends who have this device. I guess nothing is perfect and that’s no reason why the Galaxy S5 should result in disappointed sales. Here are a few theories...

The Galaxy S5 did not meet with the qHD screen resolution expectations.

Can this be true? Surely, the 1080p screen is sharp enough? The screen on the GS4 is pretty awesome and is higher than that of the iPhone 5S. But there again the iPhone 5S is said to be selling better than the GS5, so perhaps it’s not the screen.

2. The design was too similar to the GS4 to feel completely new to for some people, right?

Well, I think so! I have said in another Samsung Talk article that a new design is part of the upgrading experience!  Only the most loyal Samsung followers would have upgraded to the GS5 while there are the Android consumers who trip out on the highest specs!

3. Samsung fans were waiting for the announcement of the Galaxy S5 Prime – they could have been holding out for this nonexistent handset. Well, the Galaxy S5 based K Zoom and Active was released pretty quietly. Could it be that they were waiting for the Galaxy S5 LTE-A G906S as this variation features the 1440 x 2560 5.1” Super AMOLED, 577 ppi screen.

This one seems very plausible to me! But Samsung seems to be confusing the market perception by releasing GS5 variants internationally.

4. Samsung fans are holding out for the Galaxy Note 4!

I will tell you why in a bit why I think this is plausible...

5. Not metal?

Huh? Well, look at the iPhone Antenna Gate with poor signal reception due to the metal chassis.

What do you reckon so far?

Once upon a time I thought I had an idea of what a “premium” is about but lately the lines have become very, very blurred these days. On the one had we have Google and the Nexus line that has an anti-premium philosophy. When the Nexus 5 went retail in the high street it sold out! Then if that wasn’t enough the then Google Motorola released the mid-range but budgeted priced Moto G in November and that too sold like hot cakes! But the specs on the aforementioned handsets would at one time be considered as “premium-ish”! Well, obviously not by today’s standards.

Then we have Chinese manufacturers that have blurred that line even more with a range of beautifully design handsets from Xiaomi, OnePlue, Oppo, Huawei, ZTE and a few more! The “premium” handsets that are coming out of the manufacturers mentioned above are pretty amazing! It is not surprising that Samsung are having a tough time in China right now. However, Samsung remains on the top of the throne in India and are said to be opening up a manufacturing plant in Indonesia!

Then one has to take into account that the idea of the “phablet” has just gotten bigger as I have pointed out! Again, there is now a trend for 7” tablets with 3G or 4G built in that facilitates receiving and making calls. This kind of tablet has become the new “phablet” and this is going down well with consumers! Therefore the Galaxy Note now seems like the standard handset. I caught myself thinking, “Maybe I’d just opt for two Galaxy Note handsets when both my contracts are up...” Then I think, “Well, the Galaxy S6 could be a very big departure in design...” I no longer see the Galaxy Note as a “phablet”.

Just imagine what would have happened if Samsung had released the Galaxy S5 looking like the LG G3, which, by the way, is selling like hotcakes.

More than ever Samsung is going to have to dig really deep when it comes to design. The look and feel is just as important as the innards. I think Samsung are pinning their hopes for resurgence with the Galaxy Note 4! Once again, I do not want to speculate too much on the forthcoming Galaxy Note 4 but a Samsung executive has said that the Galaxy Note 4 will take on a new form and I hope this is the case (no pun intended)! I’ve also understood that the CPU will be 64-bit or standard 32-bit depending where it is released internationally. Fingers crossed that us Europeans get the 64-bit version! But you know what? I am getting the Galaxy Note 4 regardless! I think metal chassis or not I think the GN4 is an excellent example of what can be regarded as a “premium” handset! I have yet to see the Chinese manufacturers produce the equivalent of the Galaxy Note! Although well established manufacturers that are HTC and LG have produced a “phablet” of some sort they do not seem able to match the Galaxy Note’s functionality. I have also yet to see such a “phablet” coming from the aforementioned Chinese manufacturers and I am sure that we’ll be seeing a formidable phablet soon... But in the meantime... ...I am looking forward to finding out what the Galaxy Note 4 will bring to the table!

I envisage Samsung matching the likes of Huawei, Lenovo Motorola, Google, etc when it comes to high end but mid-ranged priced handsets. I wouldn’t put it past Samsung to have a line of handsets ready for the Winter Holiday’s / Christmas. I am actually surprised that they haven’t put out a Galaxy Tab S 7” with 4G built into it so that it can also be used as a phone – that appears to be the future of Samsung’s phablet range.

And, hey! I don’t know about you but I am finding these thin handsets to be a bit of a pain battery-wise! I would love a thicker handset if it meant a two day battery life on 80% at the end of the second day! Do any of you remember the NEC handsets that enabled video calling on 3G when it first launched? Do you remember that one of the handsets came with a spare battery? Why not include a spare battery – a bigger one in addition to the standard with an alternative back cover? I think this is the best option than to use non-branded battery extension packs / kits that can ruin the handset (like it did my Galaxy S1 – I would love to restore it).

I also envisage Samsung putting out great cost effective mid-range handsets with a budget price by foregoing its TouchWiz overlay for the pure Android 5 “L” operating system as I believe that this is Google Android coming of age! I can understand that with a premium handset that is the Galaxy Note (4) it needs that TouchWiz magical innovation that enhances usability and functionality that makes it desirable for demanding, productive users. However, if you take notice of what appears to be happening on the market below the Galaxy Note is that users seem to want the pure Android interface; this is what makes the Google Nexus and Moto G fly out of the shops! A retailer tells me, “People tend to buy the Nexus 5 and Moto G because they will be able to get the latest Android updates when they are released...” I am not too sure if this is true of the Moto G but I know it to be true for the Nexus range of handsets. Now if Samsung could release pure Android on some handsets I think they’d be onto a winner!

This gives me the indication that many Android users (and possibly ex-iPhone users) want a practical cost effective handset that is able to make voice / video calls, take a decent enough picture and video and a nice screen size to enjoy multiple mediums i.e. YouTube content, etc. If what is said is true in that cost effective handsets make up the majority of Android sales it means that the Android version of premium is more of a niche but still lucrative. I mean... ...take me as an example of a smartphone fan and ardent user: I have about 7 handsets and 4 of them are premium of the zeitgeist in which they were created:

Samsung Galaxy S2
Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Samsung Galaxy S4

I got those handsets because I wanted the absolute best camera at the time and that is one of the key reasons why I would keep upgrading to the Android version of premium. The rest of the phones serve a secondary function. Don’t worry... I am going somewhere with this...

Effectively, what I am saying is that I do not upgrade all my handsets to premium only two of my handsets are premium. I would like to replace the Motorola RAZRi as I find it to be very, very slow and if I could get an inexpensive handset in the area of the Moto G 4G I would like to do so. Here’s where I am going with this...

I would imagine that a lot of cost goes into the development of TouchWiz when many people do not appreciate it on what I would describe as cost effective high-end that is not premium such as the Galaxy S and Note. So, with that reasoning wouldn’t it make sense if Samsung just put out what essentially is a Nexus handset? Samsung wouldn’t have to think too much about implementing Android 5 and can add their wonderful interface innovations via widgets.

Also, I like the idea of having the option to choose from a range of colours released simultaneously than to wait until further on down the line... This is where I feel that plastic is brilliant! Plastic is inexpensive and therefore once the spec has been decided upon it is just a matter of finding out what colours the consumer find the most appealing and put ‘em out!

A decent quad-core processor, 4G, 1.5GB RAM, 32GB internal storage – expandable via microSD, 12MP main camera and a 5” screen running pure Android 5 (and beyond) for around £15 per month on a UK contract or £180 unlocked! Do you think it can be done? If you look at the Microsoft Nokia handsets they seem to have won some fans and now that Microsoft has killed off the Nokia X Android handset this is the perfect opportunity for Samsung!

In any event if people want a pure Android experience Samsung ought to do a phone as described above as I believe it will sell very, very well!

The Android market is certainly a fascinating one because of the different philosophies that each manufacturer has for the Android handset and tablet. The Galaxy Alpha certainly looks the part of a fashion statement in a similar way that the iPhone is; I will be watching out for it! I want to see how it does!

I would like to see Samsung being more inventive with its designs; boring is quite frankly what I think of when I look at the iPhone. Samsung does not need to go down that path!

That said, I think the Galaxy Tab S is the step back into the right direction! I thought the launch was back to their former grand but meaningful-selves. Let’s hope that Samsung can keep it going!

Oh, best wishes with the Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK tablet!

Things to think about...

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