Samsung’s About to Announce a Whole Bunch of New Products
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After releasing the Galaxy S4 smartphone in April, Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) is getting ready to unveil several new products later in June. What can investors expect? And what does it mean for Samsung’s rivals?
Samsung’s June 20 event
After unveiling the Galaxy S4 at Radio City Music Hall in March, Samsung is heading over to London for its next unveiling. This time, the Korean tech giant will have multiple devices to showcase.
According to reports, those devices will include a miniature version of its flagship Galaxy S4 and several tablets -- some running Android, others Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows.
The Galaxy S4 Mini
The Galaxy S4 Mini should be on display at the London event, but Samsung has already put up the specs on its website. As its name literally suggests, it’s basically just a smaller version of the Galaxy S4.
But there are some other key differences. In addition to its 4.3-inch display (which is still larger than Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5), the Galaxy S4 Mini has a processor with two fewer cores, and a camera with five less megapixels.
This seems to suggest that Samsung might discontinue its Galaxy S3, instead offering the S4 Mini as the cheaper alternative. That would stand in stark contrast to Apple, which has continued to produce older models of its phone (the iPhone 4 is almost 3 years old) for consumers on a budget.
It also serves to highlight the fundamental difference in product strategy. Although most reviewers seem to appreciate Samsung’s larger screens, the company isn't taking any chances. Five inches is too big? Ok, buy a Mini then.
Meanwhile, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has continued to insist that Apple has produced the phone with the best overall display, despite the chorus of critics clamouring for a larger iPhone.
Just like Samsung isn't married to any particular screen size, it also isn’t content with just one operating system. Samsung’s Windows tablets are given the “ATIV” brand, while its Android tablets get the “Note” or “Tab” designations.
But from there, it gets even more complex. Samsung offers three different ATIV tablets: one sporting Windows RT, and two with full Windows 8.
The one with Windows RT has never made it to the US. The company’s executives have been critical of the mobile-only operating system, blaming Microsoft for failing to adequately explain Windows RT to the consumer.
At this point, Windows RT is looking like a failure for Microsoft. Investors should watch to see if Samsung has changed its mind, or if it has decided to completely abandon Windows RT. As Samsung has become such an important company in the consumer electronics space, its take on Windows tablets should be seen as significant.
Samsung also makes ATIV phones which runs Windows Phone 8. So far, Verizon is the only major carrier to pick one up. Sprint is rumored to be getting the ATV S soon.
Like Windows RT, will Samsung stick it out with the Windows Phone operating system and announce a new ATIV phone? Or is it committing fully to Android? Windows Phone 8 has gained some modest market share in recent months, but remains a distant third behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
That leaves Samsung’s Galaxy tablets. The company launched the Galaxy Note 8.0 to little fanfare just a few weeks ago. But the Note 8.0 also has a 10.1-inch cousin -- will Samsung update this model as well?
With the Note category gaining steam, a revamped Note 10.1 could easily become the top, full-size Android tablet. Apple lost its dominant global market share position in terms of phones many months ago -- only recently did Android outpace Apple in terms of tablets. If Samsung is going to continue to compete with Apple, it must offer a compelling iPad alternative.
There’s also been rumors that Samsung could update its Galaxy Note lineup of phones. However, the Note 2 was released just last November, only seven months ago. Thus, it seems a little early for a Note refresh. But if one comes, it once again shows the stark difference between Apple and Samsung -- the former is content with one phone a year; the later, a major new phone almost every quarter.
Samsung: the next horseman?
Generally, Samsung isn't lumped in with the major tech companies (Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon). But perhaps that’s unfair. Although Samsung is not an American company and doesn't have its own operating system (at least not yet), its products are immensely important to the overall tech industry.
Tech investors should pay attention to what Samsung unveils, knowing that its products could have a direct effect on Apple, Google and Microsoft.
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