Samsung’s Galaxy S4 emerges to do battle on Apple’s home turf

NEW YORK/SEOUL, Fri Mar 15, 2013 — Samsung Electronics Co. premiered its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, which sports a bigger display and unconventional features such as gesture controls, as the South Korean titan challenges Apple Inc. on its home turf.

The phone, the first in the highly successful Galaxy S-series to make its global debut on U.S. soil, was unwrapped at Manhattan’s iconic Radio City Music Hall on Thursday evening. Some industry watchers were clearly dazzled by its features, setting a high bar for Apple to surpass.

The S4 can stop and start videos depending on whether someone is looking at the screen, flip between songs and photos at the wave of a hand, and record sound to run alongside snapped still pictures. But other industry watchers said the phone would not upturn an industry that lives and dies by innovation.

The plethora of new features “are good steps in this direction, but they can be seen as gimmicks rather than game changers. At this point, Samsung appears to be trying to kill the competition with sheer volume of new features,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecom analyst at IT research outfit Ovum.

“For now, Samsung can likely rely on its vastly superior marketing budget and the relatively weak efforts of its competitors in software to keep it ahead.”