The only device to ever give the iPhone a bloody nose is getting a refresh.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is expected to unveil the latest version of its best selling smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, at a media event in New York Thursday. The company hopes the new device builds on the success of the Galaxy S III, which surprised many industry observers when it temporarily outsold Apple Inc.'s iPhone in the U.S. after its release last May.
Like its biggest competitors in the mobile industry, Samsung has released very few details about the Galaxy S IV ahead of time, hoping to maximize interest in its launch event.
Nonetheless, speculation has swirled for weeks about what the company will do to differentiate its new phone. A New York Times report hinted at eye-powered scrolling, a feature that allows the user to move around a page on the phone by looking at the ends of the screen.
The extent to which Samsung is able to excite consumers about the S IV is of vital importance not only to the company, but to the entire arena of devices that run on Google Inc.'s Android operating system.
The Galaxy line of smartphones is considered by many the flagship high-end Android devices, and with rival Apple starting to see very early signs of what could be iPhone fatigue among some consumers, Samsung is hoping a significant number of Apple's customers can be convinced to make the switch to Android.
The new Samsung flagship phone also comes at a less than ideal time for Research In Motion Ltd., as it means the Galaxy S IV will likely go on sale around the same time as the BlackBerry Q10, the keyboard-enabled version of RIM's new smartphone.
With the prospects of a new iPhone hitting stores at the same time fairly dim, the spring and early summer period looks to be a showdown between RIM and Samsung.
Samsung has recently made a concerted effort to snatch some of RIM's traditionally reliable business customers by offering a range of tools designed to make Galaxy smartphones more secure (device security is one of the major reasons many enterprise IT departments say they are inclined to avoid Android-based phones).
As such, Thursday's announcement may also include some features designed especially for corporate clients.
Primarily, however, Samsung is likely to use the launch event to focus on areas where it feels the S IV is superior to Apple's iPhone 5.
In total, Android-based phones already outsell iPhones worldwide (although Apple generates more profit every time it sells a phone). With the S IV, Samsung hopes to cash in on Android's popularity and deliver an even bigger blow to its chief rival in the smartphone battle.