Samsung Steals Apple’s Thunder


In what appears to be an attempt to best its competitor, Apple Inc., the Korean electronics manufacturer, Samsung, stole some of the thunder from Apple with a slew of announcements and updates to some of its top-selling products. Apple is scheduled to announce the launch of new products on Wednesday, Sept 9, however at the IFA in Berlin, which is one of the biggest technology shows in Europe, Samsung unveiled several new products, including the update to the Galaxy Note 4.

The reveal, called Samsung Unpacked 2014 Part 2, introduced a virtual reality headset, the Gear VR, which was developed under license from Oculus,  now owned by Facebook. The Gear VR consists of 3 parts, which are the goggles, the headphones and the phone, which is actually the Note 4, which supplies the power to the device. Indications are that VR may play a major part in new video gaming and although no immediate plans for retailing the device was announced, it may be used as an indication of the  company’s  technological capability.

Samsung also stole a bit of thunder from Apple with the announcement of updates to the Galaxy Note 4, which was originally introduced in 2011. The new phone now sports a 5.7-inch, active-matrix organic light-emitting diode screen, and the resolution has been increased to the maximum available for an HD screen of this size at 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The unit also allows for easier multitasking, and users can cut and paste photos with an improved stylus operation in much as the same manner of using a PC and a mouse. The back of the phone features a 16-megapixel camera, while a 3.7-megapixel camera on the front supports wide angle or panoramic shots. The Note 4, which is expected to go on sale in October, also includes faster charging and a power saving mode for longer battery life.

The company also introduced the Note Edge, which features a curved screen. An interesting feature is the column of notes and buttons displayed on the right side of the screen. In order to save valuable virtual estate on the small 5.6-inch screen, users can tap the buttons to launch the full interface of the particular application. The phone, powered by the Android operating system, offers full support for the popular apps, and developers are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities to have apps and icons embedded on the edge of the screen. The Edge is expected to be introduced selectively in certain countries, which have yet to be announced.

Prior to Apple’s scheduled announcement of new products, hackers recently breached Apple’s iCloud network and gained access to the accounts of several celebrities, then posted nude photos on several bulletin boards across the web. The attack has raised concerns, and while Apple appears to have been affected by concerns for the security of the iCloud storage service, Samsung also continued attempts to steal more of the thunder from its main rival with the introduction of  an upgrade to their smartwatch. The Gear S now features a bigger screen and can operate without being tethered to the smartphone.

By Dale Davidson


The Globe and Mail


Washington Post

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