And so the Samsung Galaxy S4 is upon us. Brilliantly gazumping all major smartphone news at this week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), Sammy’s marketing machine has ensured all eyes are trained on it after announcing a special launch event in New York on March 14th.
Already the smartphone world is quickly forgetting the HTC One, Nokia’s new budget devices and ZTE’s latest ‘phablet’ and priming itself for what has all the makings of 2013’s benchmark blower.
But in order to beat off any challenges, Sammy will need to follow these five must-dos.
1 Make the US its top priority
By holding the Galaxy S4’s launch in NYC, rather than London, as it has done for previous flagship Galaxy handsets, Samsung has this one sewn up.
comScore stats show that Sammy had 26.3 per cent of all mobile users in the States as of October 2012.
It’s number one, but Apple is close behind on 17.8 per cent.
The story is different globally, where Samsung has 32 per cent of smartphone sales (as opposed to sales of all mobiles), with Apple way back on 15.5 per cent, according to Canalys.
Samsung knows it needs to push even harder in Apple’s backyard, with the global race being won.
Heading to the Big Apple is all about ensuring it can corner the Stateside market more effectively.
2 Don’t go crazy about specs
Samsung will doubtless be tempted to play spec oneupmanship. But the Galaxy S4’s success will be predicated on its usability and sharp design, with the added help of the latest Android software.
Bigging-up specs isn’t really worthwhile and always smacks of the desperation of smartphone stragglers, rather than big players that know that UX is without doubt the number one factor.
For that reason, pixel-density chat and screen-resolution jibber-jabber should be kept to a minimum.
3 Ship quickly
This is a no-brainer, but no one wants a Nokia-style, ‘here’s a new phone, but you can’t have it for six months’-style launch.
Samsung needs to have the Galaxy S4 on shelves and readily available within a matter of weeks.
If Apple really is priming the iPhone 6 for launch in summer, returning to its old-school June launch schedule, then the Galaxy S4 needs as much time as possible to eat into its fruity rival’s market share.
4 Price competitively
It’s unlikely the Galaxy S4 will match the Nexus 4 when it comes to cost. But Google and LG’s Android reference handset should at least guide Samsung towards pegging the cost lower, making the option of buying it outright more tempting.
This might infuriate networks, but you can bet it’d get plenty of new converts on board and rile Tim Cook and co no end.
5 Make Android the star
Custom skins have their place, but Android Jelly Bean is superb without any tweaks and tricks on top.
That means Sammy should aim to keep its bloatware and specialised services to a minimum, or at least ensure they don’t impact on any future updates to Google’s next-gen Key Lime Pie edition of its OS.
Failure to do so will only wind-up users who want the best of Google’s software coupled with Samsung’s increasingly impressive design.