HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014


Samsung releases new smartphone, posts record profit
Seoul, April 26, 2013
First Published: 11:36 IST(26/4/2013)
Last Updated: 11:55 IST(1/5/2013)
Samsung Electronics employees display the new Galaxy S4 smartphones during an event at their head office in Seoul. Photo:AFP / Kim Jae-Hwan

Samsung on Friday released the latest version of its flagship Galaxy smartphone, as it announced record first quarter profits driven by surging sales growth in its mobile division.

The Galaxy S4, armed with eye motion control technology that will pause a video when the user looks away, comes with a faster chip and is thinner and lighter than the previous S3 model.

Unveiled last month at New York's Radio City Music Hall, the touchscreen device hit South Korean stores on Friday ahead of a global roll-out over the weekend.

Samsung said unexpectedly high demand for the new model was behind shipping issues that resulted in the postponement of its scheduled sales release in the US market.

After years of following and refining the iPhone's pioneering innovations -- a strategy that resulted in bitter patent battles -- Samsung has dethroned arch-rival Apple as the world's top smartphone maker.

But mixed reviews for the Galaxy S4 reflect the increased pressure that comes with that title for Samsung to shed its copycat label and show it can match Apple's creative clout.

How Samsung's Galaxy S4 matches up vs iPhone5

Models show Samsung Electronics Co.'s latest smartphones Galaxy S4 during its unveiling ceremony in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: AP/Lee Jin-man

"Samsung has entered territory that it hasn't been in before, and sales of the S4 will show if it can sustain its newfound status in the market," James Song, analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities, told AFP.

The release of the S4 came as Samsung announced a 41.6 percent year-on-year surge in net profit to a record 7.15 trillion won ($6.4 billion) in the first quarter of 2013.

Samsung profit at record high on smartphone boost

Operating profit stood at 8.8 trillion won, of which the IT and Mobile Communications division accounted for 6.51 trillion won, with sales of 32.82 trillion won in the three months to March.

The general critical consensus on the new model is that it lacks the "wow" factor to really set it apart from its market rivals.

Review: Samsung Galaxy S 4

"Make no mistake about it, the Galaxy S4 is a great phone, and easily one of the best you can buy right now," said Business Insider.

"But is it the best phone? No. You're still much better off with the iPhone 5, or the HTC One if you like Android," the technology news website said.

While there was general praise for the S4's performance, especially its screen and camera resolution, reviewers suggested Samsung had largely played it safe in terms of innovation and design.

"The S4 is still made of plastic -- lightweight and grippy, but not as classy as the iPhone's glass or the HTC One's metal," the New York Times said.

Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is seen during its unveiling at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Photo: AFP / Don Emmert

"All told, nobody at the office will notice that you've bought the latest and greatest," the newspaper said.

But business was brisk at Samsung's flagship retail store in Seoul's upscale Gangnam district where the S4 was selling for 890,000 won ($800).

Housewife Hwang Hee-Sun, buying her first Samsung phone, said she had been attracted by the S4's eye motion and air touch controls, which enable users to accept calls or browse the web with a hand gesture near the screen.

Samsung Friday launched its new flagship smartphone Galaxy S4 in India at Rs. 41,500. Photo: Manoj Kumar/ Hindustan Times

Galaxy S4 decent, but filled with gimmicks

"When you have a young child climbing all over you, it should make things a lot easier. And it's very light," said the 30-year-old who also cited the new model's humidity sensor as a useful childcare device.

College student Kim Yu-Ri was upgrading from a Galaxy S2 she bought more than two years ago.

"I don't know that it's that different from the S3, but it's a big upgrade from my old one, and I want to stick with an Android phone," Kim said.

A South Korean customer holds Samsung's flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone in Seoul. Photo: AFP / Kim Jae-Hwan

More than 41 million units of the Galaxy S3 have been sold globally since its release last May, while the first and second editions racked up sales of 25 million and 40 million respectively.

In its earnings statement Friday, Samsung said "sound sales" of the S3 smartphone had aided profit margins, but cautioned that second quarter global demand was "forecast to dampen".

"We may experience stiffer competition in the mobile business due to expansion of the mid- to low-end smartphone market," said Senior Vice President Robert Yi.

Samsung takes more smartphone market share from Apple

Apple, which reported Tuesday that its quarterly profit had dipped for the first time in nearly a decade, still commands a profit margin double that of Samsung due to its focus on high-end buyers.

Samsung, by contrast, has built its smartphone business on a shotgun marketing approach that involves a wide range of low- to high-end products and which is now being challenged by cheaper Chinese rivals.

Visitors operate Samsung Electronics' Galaxy S4 smartphones at a showroom of its headquarters in Seoul. Photo: AP/Ahn Young-joon

The tech greats say:

TechCrunch says
The Galaxy S4 has an easy mode, and more importantly, the Galaxy S4 needs an easy mode. This necessity is a double-edged sword. It means that the technology built into Samsung’s latest generation smartphone does things you’ve never seen before, and maybe couldn’t even imagine. Read more...

This is the story of a little smartphone series that grows up and, three years later, positions itself to take over the world. The device in question, the newest addition to that lineup, doesn't really need much of an introduction thanks to some of the most successful marketing campaigns in the world. Read more...

The Verge
Thanks to its high quality and wide availability, not to mention Samsung's sheer brute-forcing marketing effort, the Galaxy S III became the face of the Android universe. It has sold tens of millions of units, and helped Android take huge marketshare away from the iPhone. Now Samsung's back with that device’s successor, the Galaxy S4. Read more...

Mashable says
Samsung's Galaxy S III was one of the most successful Android smartphones of all time, but is the Galaxy S4 a worthy successor? In a word: yes. The Galaxy S4 manages to build on the framework that helped Samsung sell over 40 million Galaxy S III devices in the first seven months, and it packs in new features and better specs to keep it competitive with the likes of the HTC One and other high-end Android devices. Read more...

techspot says
It's good to be king, especially when Samsung knows that it reached the top position after some early missteps. The Behold didn't earn the Korean manufacturer many friends, but the Galaxy S showed that Samsung could twist Android's software just enough to combine interesting features with limit-pushing hardware. Read more...

Wired says
The Galaxy S3 firmly moved Android phones from iPhone wannabes to fully-fledged iPhone alternatives, matching Apple's baby in terms of performance and many features, and in the process became the best-selling Android phone in the world. The problem was how to follow it, but the S4 is better in just about every way -- thinner, lighter, more powerful, with a better screen and more features. What's not to like? Read more...

comment Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of
blog comments powered by Disqus
Militant video: American suicide bomber in Syria smiles, says he wants to go to heaven
An al-Qaida-linked group fighting in Syria has released video of the first American to carry out a suicide attack in the country's civil war, showing him smiling and saying he looked forward to going to heaven.
Look who all came for Salman Khan's Eid bash
From Bollywood A-listers to celebrities, here's a peak into who all came for superstar Salman Khan's Eid bash at his Mumbai residence.
Happy to know Salman's Kick is doing well, will see it soon: Aamir Khan
Known for their camaraderie Bollywood actor Aamir Khan gave his best wishes to Salman Khan over Kick's stupendous opening at the box office and also shared his plans to watch it soon.
Reports of bugging Nitin Gadkari's house untrue: Rajnath Singh
Following an uproar in the parliament senior BJP leader and union home minister Rajnath Singh rubbished the reports claiming that the residence of transport minister Nitin Gadkari was bugged.
Israeli tank hits UN school sheltering refugees in Gaza
A Palestinian health official says at least 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians sought refuge from Israeli attacks.
Jazz comes easier to me than pop: Lady Gaga
Walking the carpet before her taped performance with Tony Bennett at Jazz at Lincoln Concert in New York City, Lady Gaga admits that she has sang jazz since she was 13, and Bennett reveals how impressed he is with the singer's voice.
Harry Potter on why he disguised as Spider-Man at Comic-Con
Actor Daniel Radcliffe, in San Diego last weekend to promote his new film "Horns," donned a Spider-Man suit to anonymously visit the Comic-Con convention floor.
Modi has proven increased transparency aids growth: John Kerry
There is a “new government in India, with a new set of priorities, and new possibilities", Kerry said in a speech, setting up the tone for his upcoming visit to India for strategic dialogues.
Movie Review: Bollywood lovers, Salman Khan delivers the Kick
Bhai fans, rejoice! For a change, Salman Khan's Kick has much more going for it than just his charisma. It has a story and some brilliant performances.
Raw footage: Massive explosions from airstrikes in Gaza
Israeli aircraft, tanks and navy gunboats targeted symbols of Hamas control in Gaza City early Tuesday in the heaviest night of bombardment in three weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting.
Worst outbreak of deadly Ebola virus hits West Africa
West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history.
Home ministry rules out probe into Gadkari bugging row
The home ministry rejected calls for a probe by Congress party, with former prime minister Manmohan Singh saying it is not a 'good omen'. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home, said there is no scope for intervention when Nitin Gadkari himself has called it speculative.
Israel, Hamas trade fire despite truce in Gaza
Israel and Hamas have each launched new attacks after failing to agree to a 24-hour truce that had been proposed by both sides at different times.
Kim Kardashian mobile game is a top seller
A new mobile video game that lets players party, pose and spend money like Kim Kardashian is near the top of the download charts. The CEO of Glu Mobile talks about the hit his team created.
Benedict Cumberbatch just adores the Penguins of Madagascar
Benedict Cumberbatch makes an appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego to promote his voice role as a James Bond-esque agent in 'Penguins of Madagascar.'
Watch trailer: Scarlett Johansson's latest sci-fi movie 'Lucy'
Scarlett Johansson stars as Lucy, a drug mule, in Luc Besson's new movie 'Lucy'. The action-packed thriller about a woman who gains superpowers is due to hit Indian theatres on August 1, 2014.
Hercules is my most challenging role ever: The Rock
Former wrestler Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson premieres his latest action flick, 'Hercules' in Los Angeles with his star power friends, including Mariah Carey, Eddie Murphy and Sugar Ray Leonard hitting the red carpet in support. He talks about his role and how it is the most challenging one ever.
Air Algerie crash: Black box recovered
French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said.
Centre to soon finalise on building war memorial: Defence Minister
Soon after paying tribute to martyrs on the occassion of Kargil Vijay Diwas defence minister Arun Jaitley informed that the government would soon initiate the process of building a war memorial and war museum.
First Trailer: Fifty Shades of Grey is high on teasing
The first trailer of the much-awaited film Fifty Shades of Grey is now out and guess what it's high on teasing.
more »
Copyright © 2014 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved