Samsung smartens up its phones

15 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Watch May Be Winning the Hype Battle, but Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Is Off to a Strong Start.

Smartphone sales passed the one billion mark in 2014 and lots of new models were on display at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, many of which are now available in Europe. Despite the enthusiasm around the big release of Apple’s newest device, which is now available to try on in stores and for pre-order online, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are quietly racking up huge sales, according to analyst estimates.

Will Findlater, the editor of Stuff Magazine, explained: “They both tend to come out pretty much exactly the same time of the year, their various devices have always been in competition with one other and this year I think the competition is going to be hotter than ever because Samsung, which has traditionally been in the controlling position. Samsung Electronics’ new smartphones, which went on sale on April 10, raked in an estimated 20 million pre-orders, according to a report in the Korea Times.

These include AT&T removing Download Booster, OneDrive, Simple Sharing, and Smart Manger; Verizon also removed Smart Manager and all the Microsoft apps; T-Mobile locks in S-Finder and Quick Connect, and stops you disabling the capacitive lights; and Sprint has removed Download Booster. The latest models are receiving glowing reviews. (Our very own Sam Grobart calls them “fancy.”) Samsung expects this to be its highest-selling Galaxy S phone ever, and analysts mostly agree. For example Samsung promoted OneDrive’s 100 GB of online storage during the launch of the handset, but if you go with AT&T or Verizon for your S6 you will not get that extra cloud storage. While many of these apps can be reinstalled by the user, they need to be available in the Google Play Store, which leads to complications if a users wants to install Samsung’s Smart Manager to manage memory and battery on their device.

There is a lot of Android knowledge online, and with a bit of work and exploration, someone who really wants to get around these restrictions will be able to do so. Because both products hit stores on the same day, the Apple Watch and Galaxy S6 are competing head-to-head for people’s mind share and disposable income. While I think that loading up a smartphone ‘out of the box’ with a ridiculous number of applications damages the initial user experience, with Android handsets in general suffering lower selling prices and lower profit per handset sale bloatware and software placement deals are a necessary evil for manufacturers to remain profitable.

This time they’ve put a 21 mega-pixel camera in there, they’ve taken part in the ‘Mega-Pixel Race’ which is never necessarily a smart thing, but it has resulted in a better camera than what the HTC One M8 had.” But between the two big competitors, the Motorola Nexus 6 could be the big winner. For one measure of how the products are piquing people’s interest, Google search data show a sizable lead for the Galaxy S6 at the time it matters most—right now, when people go to stores or browse online to make a buying decision.

By all means load up a handset with content deals, prominent widgets, cloud providers, and media packages – after all , we lived through that in the desktop and laptop market – but give us the choice to remove all the cruft, reclaim vital storage space, and reduce the memory overheads. It acts as an extension of them, every smartphone will be set up slightly differently, and one of the advantages of Android is that it does allow a huge level of customisation and personalization. Part of the attraction of one manufacturer over another does include the user interface, how the handset works, and the applications included in the bundle, and this applies to iOS as well as Android.

To a certain extent this is how carriers see themselves (especially in the US) even though most users would prefer they were a cost-effective and invisible communications data pipe. But locking applications onto the handset forever, removing features from software, and preventing other applications from being easily installed suggests that manufacturers and carriers know best.

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