Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Samsung piles pressure on rivals with fresh products

PHOTO | FILE A Samsung sales promotion in Nairobi. New products from the company are a big bet on changing trends in mobile computing.

PHOTO | FILE A Samsung sales promotion in Nairobi. New products from the company are a big bet on changing trends in mobile computing.  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ESMOND SHAHONYA shahonya76@gmail.com

In the past few weeks, the technology world has been treated to a range of new products from Korean tech giant Samsung.

The company now has a range of smart devices that are innovative and pose a challenge to its rivals.

To begin with, the Galaxy Mega phones are now the biggest smart phones on the mobile market. Samsung seems to have pushed the “phablet” trend further into the consumer market with the Galaxy Mega range of products.

The giant phones come with either 5.8-inch or 6.3-inch HD screen. They are packed with dual-core processors and Google’s latest Android software. The giant phones offer a mix of both smartphone and tablet features such as an effortless user experience, a split screen, multitasking between video and other apps and more.

The Galaxy Mega phones have been released alongside the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 8.0.

In a move to retain market dominance and pile pressure on competitors, Samsung has packed innovative features in its new products. Take the new Galaxy S4, which has new technologies in its operation and general functionality.

One such technology is use of an eye-tracking mechanism in achieving the Galaxy S4’s Smart Pause, Smart Stay, and Smart Scroll functions. When playing a video on the Galaxy S4, the Smart Pause will automatically pause the video when you gaze away from the phone’s screen and resume play when your eyes make contact again with the screen.

On user interface technology, Samsung has set a competitive pace with TouchWiz UI combined with latest releases of software from Google.

The Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy Mega phones have the TouchWiz interface and run on Android Jelly Bean operating system. One fact about Android is its open source nature as compared with closed source software like Apple’s iOS and BlackBerry’s OS.

Jelly Bean OS has an enriched serving of APIs that enhance, among other features, media access, Android Beam, gesture mode, and network bandwidth management. The Android OS comes with a Siri-like digital assistant called the S-Voice on Samsung gadgets, which accepts voice inputs and gives feedback using text, spoken words, and search results from websites.

Apple’s iPad has over the years dominated the tablet market. In response to iPad Mini, Samsung has added in the line of seven-inch tablets a competing product called the Galaxy Note 8.0. To many users, the gadget is as good as a small tablet.

The earlier model of the Galaxy Note was classified as a phablet due to the gadget’s capability of blending smart phone technology and tablet functionalities into a single unit.

The Galaxy Note II has a big screen of 5.5 inches and stands out as a big smartphone. The front part of the device is almost similar to what is available in the design of the Galaxy S3 phone.

The display is a HD Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen with a resolution ideal for viewing multimedia content. The hardware of the Galaxy Note II includes a Quad Core processor crafted to give the device extra power.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 is not quite different from the Note II in terms of software and hardware. What makes the Note 8.0 different, however, is the big crystal clear display of eight inches. The display comes along with support for multi-window feature and the marvels of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 has some notable features that edge out the iPad Mini. Other than the HD display, the gadget has extra processing power and trendy functionalities.

Users now have a choice between the iPad Mini, the Galaxy Mega, and the Galaxy Note 8.0. The competition is stiff, given that products like Nokia’s Lumia 920, iPhone, Blackberry Z10, and others will battle for a piece of the market share against the Galaxy range of products.

As the company continues to innovate, the pressure to introduce new products is piling in the inner circles of competing phone makers. The Galaxy Mega, S4, and Note are bigger in screen display size compared with the iPhone, Lumia 920, and BlackBerry.

The new products from Samsung are a big bet on trends in mobile computing. The Galaxy Note devices specifically target people who like the flexibility of combining a tablet and a smartphone into a single gadget.

The same applies to the Galaxy Mega range of products. The big screens and friendly interface are meant to entice users who prefer mobile gadgets for viewing multimedia content and accessing the Web.

Samsung Electronics posted a profit of $6.6 billion in the last three months of 2012, with a substantial success in the Galaxy range of products. The Galaxy S3 hit 30 million units in November, according to Samsung’s sales figures.

The writer is an ICT analyst and a telecommunication engineer

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