If you had to sit through their hour-long Broadway-themed presentation, that alone might’ve turned you off of their new smartphone or the company altogether, but I dug in. I can handle cheesy, over-produced and perhaps misogynistic presentations just fine. Samsung did a good job, at the very least, of presenting what their new Galaxy S4 is and what it does. Thankfully, I don’t want to be part of their ecosystem any more than I want to be hooked into Apple’s, so thank you Samsung for making my decision so easy.
Let’s ignore for a moment that I’ve already laid out in my next phone, which is effectively the X Phone that (allegedly) Google will be unveiling at their I/O conference in May. The Galaxy S4, once you get past all of its caked on Samsung-specific features, is some plenty nice hardware with a large 5″ SAMOLED display, an eight-core Exynos chipset running at 1.8GHz, and two gigabytes of RAM with plenty of storage. That’s fine and dandy because it’ll be such a popular phone that they’ll have stock Android running on it super quick. It’s all that Samsung on top that steers me clear. With a galaxy (geddit) of new features on the phone, including their own proprietary health system that communicates with new and proprietary branded health bands and accessories, or their proprietary dual-camera mode that lets you snap pictures and shot movies using both of the phone’s cameras at once (twelve and five megapixels, back and front), it’s obvious that Samsung wants to carve out a very specific, non-forked version of the Android environment to call their own.
While some will love all of these built-in additions, it’ll be the best selling phone of the year after all, I’m not hip on their new speak. I have a passion for what Google’s doing with Android that Samsung is disrupting. Do I care about any of the Galaxy S4’s new features or their new themes? Maybe a few, but I don’t want Samsung to be dictating what my phone does, I want Google to.
Bring me the X Phone.