In search of a Smartphone USP

Boring

Smartphones have become so samey that manufacturers have been searching for a USP to differentiate themselves, Android especially is suffering from this and the heavy weights are sparring as we speak.

Let’s look at some of them, starting with the King of Android Samsung, they have packed so much tech into their devices they positively bulge, there is more hardware and software innovation in a Samsung device than you can shake a stick at but, with that said they often get accused of being plastic and pretty cheap feeling from a physical perspective.

Queue, HTC and the new “One” this is milled from a single piece of aluminum and is without doubt beautiful, could this be HTC looking for their niche? Trying to be the Apple of the Android world and looking for a way to compete with Samsung.

Then we have Sony, in the past they were top of the beautiful products showcase in everything they did, Apple knocked them off that perch and so recently they went with Waterproof in their Xperia model. A useful feature for that unfortunate accident everyone dreads but a reason to choose them over another? You Decide!

Moving onto Nokia, they already have a USP or a Unique reason to NOT buy if you include operating system, for some it will put them off. Windows 8 Phone sets them apart but in an attempt to appeal they have focused on imaging, Carl Zeiss everywhere and the new 41Mp camera is evidence of that, of course Nokia have a reputation of building great devices so that helps.

How about LG, now this is a not so obvious but IMHO they have gone with cheap as their appealing factor, pack lots of hardware in a keep the price rock bottom.

How about Blackberry, they continue to hope that the legendary Blackberry experience will bring them the appeal, time will tell but perhaps they need another USP in the back pocket just in case?

Lastly we have to mention Apple, love them or hate them, you pay the money and in return they provide objects of desire that are well made and provide a slick experience, the benchmark perhaps?

In HQ’s all around the world clever people desperately try to come up with new and appealing ways to make rectangular, thin, touch screen devices more appealing over the oppositions next thin, rectangular touch screen device!

Attending the London Samsung Galaxy S4 UK Launch tomorrow evening …

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Let’s hope its another event like the Galaxy Note 10.1 launch at One Mayfair, mixing with all those celebs was rather cool, but a hard act to follow. That was a hefty marketing budget.

So tomorrow then, Olympia West Hall so perhaps a larger venue is required?

Will Blog the excitement as it unfolds …. watch this space, looking forward to eye balling the device up close.

 

Samsung unveils its new Powerhouse

SGS4

Late on March 14th in New York Samsung launched its next generation Galaxy, the S4. By all accounts no expense was spared at this flashy affair.

So initial looks then, dare I say it disappointing, but with that said how different can a rectangular smartphone  actually be? it looks like a Note II.

This thing is quite frankly packed to the virtual eye balls with technology, in fact some say Samsung have “Featuritis”  if the game was purely tech bling, they would win hands down.

With a 5″ 1920X1080 Screen, up slightly on the S3’s 4.8″ a 13MP rear and 2MP front facing camera, and a “sort of” 8 core CPU you can’t fail to behold all that hardware.

The 8 core CPU is clever, it’s basically 4 powerful cores that have less-powerful shadow cores. These less powerful siblings step in when the power is not needed, and use less power, generate less heat etc, therefore increasing battery life, how ingenious.

Things start to get useful when you look at all the sensors they have crammed in, on top of the usual there are geomagnetic and proximity sensors, gyroscope, accelerometers and even temperature, humidity and barometer sensors, this device is now aware of its environment as well as location and orientation.

Also announced was the eye-tracking software, that auto scrolls pages when your eyes reach the end of a page, health monitoring abilities using Samsungs “S” Health app, later to include the ability to monitor blood pressure and sugar levels, are you impressed yet?

It will be available in the UK on April 24th no prices are available yet but it has to be a pretty penny with that amount of tech!

So what do we think the rivals will do in response? NFC in a smart watch from Apple maybe?

All this started me wondering… a personal device that is used for communications (of all types) used to pay for goods via NFC, take pictures find your way and even light up the keyhole of your front door late at night, not that exciting in 2013?  Add to that the ability to track your eyes, blood pressure and how about be able to detect your health condition, even alert you if something serious could be wrong, your eyes can tell a lot about you.

Also, imagine something happens, your heart beat is irregular, your device knows categorically it is in your pocket as is able to detect that without doubt! It then calls the emergency services and shares your location, activates the speaker phone and camera? not that far away I would suggest.

In the meantime, respect to Samsung.

Mobile Device News

20130204-010028.jpgIt’s busy busy at the gadget end of the mobile world and although it’s not all about the bling its still our most favourite part.

So here’s a round up of the latest action,

  • Blackberry (formally RIM) release Z10 and Q10, they look great, let’s hope it all works out for them. I have to say I’m looking forward to playing with one.
  • Blackberry have also said they will release BB10 for Playbook, that lovely little bargain of a tablet, could spark a revival for the pint sized beauty, more apps would also help!
  • Samsung to launch the XCover2 S7710 builders phone, waterproof to 1m for up to an hour and pretty rugged, great if you need tough.
  • Samsung have been busy, soon we also get the Ativ Odyssey I930 Windows Phone, running Redmond’s latest release 8, can it give the Lumia’s a run for their money?
  • LG announce their Spirit 4G with all mod cons and a staggering $199 price tag. With 4.5′ screen, dual core CPU 5MP camera and running the latest in Jelly Bean, this is a bargain, I couldn’t however find any info on this device in the UK.
  • February 19th should see the launch simultaneously in New York and London of HTC’s flagship M7, this beast gets 1.7Ghz snapdragon CPU, 13MP camera and pixel density that’s off the scale at 469ppi (iPhone5 has 326ppi) can’t want to play with this one, looks great to.
  • Nokia are having better times at the moment with the Lumia’s doing well, the rumour is a 38MP Windows Phone will release this year, sounds mad but I bet the pictures will be good.
  • Ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this is the most important news I could find, lots more to come over the following weeks.

    Having hoped to be at MWC this year I got a ticket, then tried to book a fight, everything is booked solid and priced through the roof, I need to be more organised for 2014 MWC!

    I’m test driving a Nokia Lumia 820 so will write up experiences over the next few weeks, what is cool is that Nokia have released the 3D information to allow you to print your own backs, well assuming you have a 3d printer that is.

    Picture: Nokia 2650 2004 Nokia sold 35 millions of these storm trooper phones.

    A Samsung with an 8 core CPU!

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    Having spent the last few months telling people it’s not about the hardware and apps are everything Samsung go and try being the exception to that rule!

    When I say it is not about the hardware of course I refer to apps we can download and use, and on the one hand the most beautiful hardware device with no apps would be as good as a chocolate teapot, on the flip side I would rather a ropey dog of a handset with my favourite apps on it any day.

    Now Apple of course are churning out beautiful devices but actually they should be known as “Beautiful platforms for the consumption of content” Samsung on the other hand are attempting to appeal to everyone,

  • Those who want decent hardware (their devices look sexy)
  • Those who want apps (Play Store app availability is pretty good)
  • Techies who love specs, quad core this and 64Gb of that
  • Finally those who don’t like Apple
  • The processor will be 4 high powered Cortex-A15’s with 4 lesser A7’s wedged in there somewhere, so let’s hope they can get battery life running that little lot.

    I’ve read predictions stating it is coming in the S4, due mid-2013, and others claiming its due in a tablet, so we can safely say we don’t know.

    Read more details

    The chips are down for Apple, well up actually!

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    A South Korean newspaper is reporting that Samsung have upped the cost of the CPU’s they supply to Apple by 20%.

    That’s not really a surprise though is it? They need to get some of the $1.05bn back!

    Even though you read that Samsung Mobile and Samsung semiconductor are totally separate and have completely different relationships you can’t be blamed for assuming the mother ship at Samsung has stick it’s finger(s) up at Apple, or whatever they do in Korea.

    Apple are set to use 200 million Samsung CPU’s this year and are contracted to supply until 2014.

    With Jim Keller, the Chief Architect of Apple’s A4,A5 and A5x CPU’s moving to AMD back in August Apple is having some ups and downs at the moment. Jim takes all that mobile device CPU Dev experience with him to AMD, so expect a decent AMD Mobile chip some time.

    Apple’s A4 CPU debuted in the original iPad and was their first System on a Chip (SoC) processor, it was superseded by the A5 in the iPad2 and the A5x in the 3rd Gen iPad. The most recent iPad the 4th gen now sports at A6X CPU which is dual core and quad core graphics GPU.

    Chosun Ilbo Korean Paper

    Samsung launches Google Chromebook 2

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    Samsung have launched the Chromebook 2 running ChromeOS powered by its own Exynos 5250 ARM system on a chip (SoC)
    This version is lighter and faster than the previous and Google must be praying that it will start gaining some traction.

    ChromeOS is struggling to get a foot hold in the market and even 12 months after its release the numbers were not great viewing for the company.

    From June 7th to 13th 2012 a study by Chitika Insights of Internet Usage share Chrome is minuscule …

  • Windows 86.4007%
  • Mac 12.5191%
  • Linux 1.0254%
  • Playstation 0.0428%
  • ChromeOS 0.0119
  • Source : Chikita Insights

    ChromeOS boots direct into the Chrome Browser after initial login, and this may be making prospective customers uneasy about how it can be used offline, something Google need to address IMHO!

    With that said having used the earlier model, and as long as your connected to the Internet, it’s a jolly nice experience, fast , simple and clean in its interface.

    Check out more of the new model

    Samsung ChromeBook 2 on Amazon USA

    This is a bargain at $249 wonder what the £ conversion will be, 1:1?