#samsung

Farhad Manjoo:

Samsung’s problems, meanwhile, will be more difficult to address, as you can tell by spending some time with the S5. One of its major new features is a fingerprint-sensor meant to let you unlock your phone without typing a passcode, a feature Apple introduced on the iPhone 5S last year. I don’t fault Samsung for copying Apple’s fingerprint idea, just as I won’t fault Apple for copying Samsung when it makes a bigger phone. Fingerprint unlocking is a good idea, and more phones should have it.

But I do fault Samsung for the slipshod manner in which it introduced fingerprint scanning. I’ve been using the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor for the last six months, and it has worked about nine times out of 10 for me. The Galaxy S5’s finger sensor is unusable. It has failed to recognize my finger just about every time I have tried it. It has been so terrible that the sensor feels more like a marketing gimmick than a legitimate feature. 

I’ll just reiterate: I understand why Samsung felt like they needed to include this feature in their new phone. But why on Earth would they let such an inferior product actually ship? In what way does it benefit them to have something so broken on the market? in fact, it must hurt them. Right?

Suzanne Vranica:

Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and was promised its devices would get airtime, these people said. At least one of the product plugs was planned: during the “red carpet” preshow, ABC ran a clip of six aspiring young filmmakers touring Disney Studios. The group were seen in the video using Samsung devices.

The origin of the “selfie” shot was a little different. Ms. DeGeneres, in the days leading up to the broadcast, decided she wanted to take “selfies” during the show and ABC suggested she use a Samsung since it was a sponsor, another person familiar with the matter said.

"Suggested".

Better yet:

During rehearsals Samsung executives trained Ms. DeGeneres on how to use the Samsung Galaxy, two people familiar with the matter said.

"Trained".

And the kicker:

The Samsung stunt didn’t come off without a hitch: many people were quick to note on Twitter that the Oscar host was also tweeting during the evening with rival Apple’s iPhone.

Backstage, of course.

Gregg Keizer:

By NPD’s tallies, Chromebooks accounted for 21% of all U.S. commercial notebook sales in 2013 through November, and 10% of all computers and tablets. Both shares were up massively from 2012; last year, Chromebooks accounted for an almost-invisible two-tenths of one percent of all computer and tablet sales.

Stephen Baker of NPD pointed out what others had said previously: Chromebooks have capitalized on Microsoft’s stumble with Windows 8. “Tepid Windows PC sales allowed brands with a focus on alternative form factors or operating systems, like Apple and Samsung, to capture significant share of a market traditionally dominated by Windows devices,” Baker said in a Monday statement.

Part of the attraction of Chromebooks is their low prices: The systems forgo high-resolution displays, rely on inexpensive graphics chipsets, include paltry amounts of RAM — often just 2GB — and get by with little local storage. And their operating system, Chrome OS, doesn’t cost computer makers a dime.

Even more remarkable: two Chromebooks, one by Samsung and one by Acer, are the two best-selling laptops on all of Amazon (and a second Acer model is #5).

It perhaps took a bit longer than originally anticipated, but The Microsoft Squeeze is now being fully applied.

Quentin Hardy:

Google closed up 14 percent on Friday, at $1,011.41, after a better-than-expected earnings release late Thursday. The jump brought its gain since its initial offering to roughly 1,100 percent. During the same period, the shares of Amazon.com rose 830 percent. Samsung, which makes smartphones as well as the chips that go into many other manufacturers’ devices, rose 760 percent. And Apple leapt a staggering 3,300 percent. By comparison, the overall Nasdaq composite rose 120 percent, while Microsoft — 10 years ago the most feared giant in technology — gained just 28 percent.

While I largely think the stock market has a bit too many forces at play to serve as a good barometer, at a high level, this data seems pretty telling.

Vlad Savov on the new Samsung Galaxy Gear:

There are a couple of significant downsides that temper my enthusiasm for the new Gear. First and foremost is the speed and intuitiveness of the user interface — or rather, the lack thereof. There’s a tangible lag to anything you do with the Gear, while the swipe gestures are hard to figure out and do different things depending on where you are in the menus. Additionally, the speaker built into the buckle is too quiet and makes the old sci-fi action of conducting a phone call via your watch a possibility only in quiet areas; it also doesn’t play back any music, it just controls output on your connected device. Most of all, however, I find it hard to justify spending the $299 asking price on an accessory like the Galaxy Gear. It’s too dependent on its parent device for functionality — which will cost you a fair amount too — and, like all other smartwatches, fails to truly live up to the “smart” part of its name.

Where to begin…

I’ll just repeat what I wrote a month ago after the initial unveiling:

It almost reads like so many new iPhone initial thoughts these days — “the same, but a little better”. Except that it seems that on top of the good, smaller iterations, Samsung added a bunch of stupid shit that no one will use as well.

Air View? Air Gesture? Smart Scroll? Smart Pause? I’m reminded of the the Dr. Ian Malcolm line from Jurassic Park, “But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

The last line is especially perfect since I just got home from seeing Jurassic Park in 3D this evening.

Brent Rose writes up his initial thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S 4 (S4? SIV?) for Gizmodo. It almost reads like so many new iPhone initial thoughts these days — “the same, but a little better”. Except that it seems that on top of the good, smaller iterations, Samsung added a bunch of stupid shit that no one will use as well.

Air View? Air Gesture? Smart Scroll? Smart Pause? I’m reminded of the the Dr. Ian Malcolm line from Jurassic Park, “But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

The actual product update combined with the release event debacle just reaffirms my believe that Apple is making a mistake even acknowledging Samsung here. (The site update today is less of a mistake because it just calls out why the iPhone is great — though it’s also clearly in reaction to all of this.) If it looks like you’re trying to trip your rival after they’ve already shot themselves in the foot, no one wins.