Is a Galaxy S4 with a 5" screen a step too far?
Andrew | On 28, Dec 2012
It’s pretty safe to say that the Galaxy S3 took the world by storm. Samsung’s success, perhaps boosted by Apple’s lawsuits, have led the South Korean company to sales of 30 million over five months – that’s over 190,000 S3s sold every single day! Naturally, the next most anticipated smartphone is the Galaxy S4 and the rumour mills started whirring even before the S3 was even released. One of the more interesting rumours is an increase in screen size from 4.8″ to 5″.
The Galaxy family has seen an increase in screen size along with general hardware specs year-on-year. In contrast, their biggest competitor, Apple, has seen their screen-size remain static with the exception of the iPhone 5. The reasons for this are very clear. Samsung have always traditionally excelled in the hardware stakes. It also happened to be the perfect focus in their fight for smartphone supremacy as Android was still relatively young. I alluded to this HERE where I talked about the hardware battle being over and the software battle just beginning. Android is now five years old and stands up to iOS in it’s own right. In many areas it excels plus it continues to grow and stay fresh. iOS in comparison has pretty much remained the same – especially in the UI department. Yay for continuity. Boo for innovation.
Left to right: Galaxy S, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3
Android, as an operating system no longer needs to compete against iOS through the hardware it is installed on. Samsung does however need to compete against other Android manufacturers. The trend of Android manufacturers has been to increase the size and quality of their screens. Premium devices have the bigger screens – low/mid range devices have smaller screens – it’s how manufacturers differentiate between what is premium and what is a solid mid-range device. However at 4.8″ the screen size will already be uncomfortable for some to use – screen size fussy people like me who much preferred the size of the Galaxy S2.
Left to right: Galaxy S3, Galaxy S3 Mini
The Galaxy S3 Mini on the face of it offered the perfect solution – a premium device that comes in two screen sizes. However when you look more carefully the Galaxy S3 Mini is nothing more than a mid-range device that sits in between the more powerful GS2 and the slightly less powerful Galaxy Ace 2. It’s a very poor strategy – an attempt to cash in on a premium brand at the cost of the brand’s premium identity. Dare I say that Samsung should take heed of HTC who have the One X and the One XL? Or for that matter the Motorola Razr i which reduced its bezel to keep device size as low as possible? A 5″ screen is all good and well but without an identical but smaller screened option, Samsung (and Android manufacturers if they follow suit) risk losing those who want a top-end device with a smaller screen over to iOS or Windows 8.