When the Galaxy S4 was announced a little over a week ago in New York City, there were all kinds of complaints and let downs. A lot of people complained about their show they put on at Radio City Music Hall to show off the millions of S features they added to the device. Then there were those that were upset because it looks pretty similar to the Galaxy S3. Which isn’t always a bad thing. Now I’m no Samsung fan boy, if anything I’m an HTC fan boy. But the Galaxy S3 was not an ugly device, sure it wasn’t the prettiest, but I’ve seen uglier. Anyone remember those Casio Android phones on Verizon? Those are some pretty ugly, but rugged phones. There were also those Samsung fans that think it’s the best thing ever and look nothing like the Galaxy S3. There are some differences between the two, but if you don’t have them both side by side it’s pretty hard to tell.
So why didn’t Samsung drastically change the look of the Galaxy S4? Well, the most popular opinion is that they have a design that simply works. Samsung sold a boat load of Galaxy S3’s last year which are still selling like crazy, despite the Galaxy S4 being announced and on it’s way to stores and carriers in the next month. This is also why they stuck with the physical home button and capacitive back and menu keys. Which personally, I really hate.
At this point, Samsung has built a brand similar to Apple. In that they can release a minorly updated device followed by a big update. Which is what Apple has been doing for quite some time with the iPhone. This always brings me back to the conversations I’ve seen on Google+ where people ask why they bought the Galaxy S3. Was it because of it being Samsung or Android? Surprisingly, most people said Samsung. Which is great for Samsung, especially when they make their move to Tizen later this year. But on the other hand, if you ask someone what phone they have “Oh its the new Galaxy”, most of them have no idea that it’s an Android phone. Which is pretty sad for Google, and possibly why Google is worried about Samsung’s market share dominance.
Now the question to ask is how critical is this phone to Samsung? About as critical as any flagship phone for any OEM. Just like the HTC One is a very critical phone that needs to do well for HTC, the Galaxy S4 needs to do well for Samsung. Now will it sell as well as the Galaxy S3? Probably, but then they also still have the Galaxy S3 selling. Which means they have a flagship phone at just about every price point and in every storage capacity. But no matter how well the Galaxy S4 does or doesn’t sell, Samsung will probably remain the top dog in Android, mostly due to the sheer presence they have now.
So what does the future hold for Samsung? Well we know that the Galaxy Note 3 is coming this fall, around September at IFA. So I’d expect a design similar to the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3 and S4. We should also see new iterations of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note 10.1 coming the end of this year or early next year. Which might have a bit more of a design change compared to what it got this year. Samsung is definitely not going anywhere soon, except maybe to experiment with Tizen a bit.