The new Samsung Galaxy S4 offers some great new features which make it an even stronger rival to Apple, but its larger screen is both a blessing and a curse to digital advertisers, mobile specialists have said.
The new mobile phone model launched last week with a slightly larger screen, an improved camera and a beefed up processor power and memory. It also features improvements to its eye tracking feature and the additions of S Translator.
The new model has transformed many of the apps available on the iPhone into native features, like a camera with the ability to take photographs from both sides of the camera.
“It’s a very advanced device. Samsung have really stolen the march on this,” said Rob Marston, regional director Pacific at InMobi.
“They really broke through with the S3. This was timed to launch when Apple wasn’t really innovating. The iPhone 5 was not quite the success we expected it would be and Samsung came out with a product that broke the mould and was an iPhone beater. The S4 is an upgrade on the S3.
“Apple has a lot to do to come back to where Samsung are now on the phone.”
However one ‘catch 22’ for the advertising industry is the phone’s larger screen which will necessitate the reformatting of apps. While developing apps for the iPhone is relatively simple on account of Apple’s standard screen resolutions, the Android software isn’t nearly as standardised.
“From an advertising and development perspective it’s easier to develop an app on an iPhone because there are fairly standard screen resolutions of sizes. That is not the case for Android generally,” said Marston.
“In one way the bigger screen is fabulous for advertisers, it provides a very rich, immersive experience, but it's another screen size they have to develop for.
“The proliferation [of Android screen sizes] is a big problem for Android generally and seems to be the reason why a lot of people just go with developing apps for the iPhone. It’s hard to make sure it formats across all the Android screens.”
As Samsung increasingly builds its reputation as a leader in the mobile space, Ovum chief telecom analyst Jan Dawson pointed out the challenges the brand faces in continuing to innovate.
“The Galaxy S 4 is a worthy successor to earlier members of this line, and will doubtless sell well. But… having innovated rapidly over the last several years to vaunt itself into top spot in the world smartphone rankings, Samsung now faces essentially the same challenge as Apple: how to continue to improve its devices year on year when existing phones are already top of their class, and there aren't obvious shortcomings?”
Furthermore, Dawson said the brand would have to work harder to set itself apart from the increasingly popular Android phones from HTC and Sony.
“ As rivals such as HTC and Sony up the specs of their devices and provide ever better hardware, it becomes more and more important for Samsung to differentiate on software and services,” she said.
“The improvements to eye tracking and the additions of S Translator and the hover feature and so on are good steps in this direction, but they can be seen as gimmicks rather than game changers.”
Finally, Samsung also needs to build a stronger set of content offerings that cross its various platforms, so that it can “extend its leadership in smartphones into the tablet space, and give consumers a reason to buy into an ‘all-Samsung’ experience with their consumer electronics”, said Dawson.