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Old March 22nd, 2013, 09:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The new Android era, software differences...

I think that we are starting to see the end of the hardware Android era in which manufacturers were competing on hardware. Now, it's software that will pave the way for differences between devices.

OK, before you start grabbing the pitchforks and lighting the torches, hear me out.

What has all recent high-end phones had as of late? Nearly all of them have had at the very least a quad-core CPU and 2 GBs of RAM. When all of the high-end phones have that, what is there to differentiate one device from another device?

That's where you talk about software. What software feature sets exist on these devices? What software do you like best? Is it HTC Sense? TouchWiz? Do you like BlinkFeed? Do you like Samsung's software package? HTC's?

This is the new era, the era of Android where manufacturers differentiate themselves based upon the software that comes with it.

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Old March 22nd, 2013, 09:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trparky View Post
I think that we are starting to see the end of the hardware Android era in which manufacturers were competing on hardware. Now, it's software that will pave the way for differences between devices.

OK, before you start grabbing the pitchforks and lighting the torches, hear me out.

What has all recent high-end phones had as of late? Nearly all of them have had at the very least a quad-core CPU and 2 GBs of RAM. When all of the high-end phones have that, what is there to differentiate one device from another device?

That's where you talk about software. What software feature sets exist on these devices? What software do you like best? Is it HTC Sense? TouchWiz? Do you like BlinkFeed? Do you like Samsung's software package? HTC's?

This is the new era, the era of Android where manufacturers differentiate themselves based upon the software that comes with it.
Totally agree. Same as the PC market, the hardware specs will eventually level off. With the advancement of software the increase of RAM may be needed but eventually the processors will be so fast that there will be no point in upgrading as often.

Just like my PC's I like nothing pre-loaded but my OS. I have been through Blur, Sense, and TouchWiz and I will take a straight Android phone over these.

I am convinced that Samsung is transitioning to their own OS. TouchWiz is so far from a vanilla Android experience and they are also now offering features that Google already has out. TouchWiz will be layered over their OS and average users will not notice a big difference coming from an Android TouchWiz device. Google better beware because Samsung is the next Apple.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 10:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: The new Android era, software differences...

I wouldn't say that they will replace Android with their own OS, they still need Android to maintain compatibility with the Google Play Store app ecosystem which is something they absolutely can't lose access to.

Developers already crab about developing for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. A fifth platform is going to cause even more app compatibility issues and we don't want that.

Suffice it to say, Samsung needs Android.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 12:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by trparky View Post
I think that we are starting to see the end of the hardware Android era in which manufacturers were competing on hardware. Now, it's software that will pave the way for differences between devices.

OK, before you start grabbing the pitchforks and lighting the torches, hear me out.

What has all recent high-end phones had as of late? Nearly all of them have had at the very least a quad-core CPU and 2 GBs of RAM. When all of the high-end phones have that, what is there to differentiate one device from another device?

That's where you talk about software. What software feature sets exist on these devices? What software do you like best? Is it HTC Sense? TouchWiz? Do you like BlinkFeed? Do you like Samsung's software package? HTC's?

This is the new era, the era of Android where manufacturers differentiate themselves based upon the software that comes with it.
I agree with this too. There will still be hardware innovations to be made, I just think that they'll be to a lesser degree and will have less of an impact on consumers' choices...Bluetooth watches, glasses, flexible screens, charging methods, battery types, etc.

By and large, I think we're looking at software innovations as the major differentiator in the near future. And I think it also paves the way for developers to encroach into that market a little bit in terms of alternative launchers and such. Want a Samsung GS4?...Hate Samsung's software?...Just load LauncherPro (or whatever the kids are using these days )
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 01:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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When I get my Galaxy S4 whenever the hell it comes out, the first thing I'm going to do is load Apex Launcher Pro. I've been using that launcher for almost a year now, I like how it works, I like its features, etc. This way I get the best of both worlds, TouchWiz and AOSP all on one device.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 01:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jmt9779 View Post
I agree with this too. There will still be hardware innovations to be made, I just think that they'll be to a lesser degree and will have less of an impact on consumers' choices...Bluetooth watches, glasses, flexible screens, charging methods, battery types, etc.

By and large, I think we're looking at software innovations as the major differentiator in the near future. And I think it also paves the way for developers to encroach into that market a little bit in terms of alternative launchers and such. Want a Samsung GS4?...Hate Samsung's software?...Just load LauncherPro (or whatever the kids are using these days )
I agree with you there. I still think that in the near future they will pack in more and faster RAM, maybe add flexible glass displays maybe even with 3d capability that doesn't require you to wear glasses, upgraded gpu's, better audio, and slightly faster cpu's. Personally I'm still having a hard time deciding between the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Is it true that the S4 has faster DDR3 RAM and the ONE has DDR2? I know they have the same processors in the U.S. but the the S4 is clocked slightly faster. I do love the look of the One though. I'm upgrading from an old HTC Evo 4G so I really can't lose with either one. I'm just a perfectionist and I want the best I'm still hopeful that technology will keep finding a way to surprise and excite me. I know one of these days they are going to have some kind of breakthrough that gives us the battery life we all dream of without having to strap a brick sized extended battery to our phones or sacrifice performance. Anyway I was wondering if you guys could help me make up my mind between the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. I can't do it on my own
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 02:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I can think of three hardware advances that I'm expecting:

1) A truly all day battery (the Razr Maxx line has it, but it's limited to two phones on one carrier).

2) Unbreakable screen.

3) Camera with optical zoom.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 06:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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From what I've read Corning has already developed a new gorilla glass that is flexible and unbreakable. How unbreakable it really is remains to be seen but I wouldn't be surprised to see on phones before 2015. I think the S5 will have it. There were a lot of rumors the the S4 would have the flexible glass screen. True Octa-core processors isn't a farfetched idea either. Do we really need this stuff? No! I can't help but wonder what happened to the discussion about call quality. My brother has a Galaxy S3 and I really wasn't impressed with the call quality. His voice wasn't the most crisp and clear and I actually believe my old HTC Evo 4G is as good or better in that department.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 07:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If Samsung made a new one of these:

Galaxy Pixon? ;D
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 04:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by trparky View Post
When I get my Galaxy S4 whenever the hell it comes out, the first thing I'm going to do is load Apex Launcher Pro. I've been using that launcher for almost a year now, I like how it works, I like its features, etc. This way I get the best of both worlds, TouchWiz and AOSP all on one device.
I am in the same boat with Nova Launcher - can't go without .. When I reinstalled once I was confused that my swipe geastures and stuff didn't work anymore haha. I do like Touchwiz though to be honest. Although having said that - I somewhat stopped using Widgets so might go back to basics .. we'll see.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 04:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Hopefully spank gestures and airview will still work on the S4 if you switch launchers.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 06:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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If Samsung made a new one of these:

Galaxy Pixon? ;D
is that a real thing?
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 06:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by trparky View Post
I think that we are starting to see the end of the hardware Android era in which manufacturers were competing on hardware.
I have no idea where or why you think we are "starting to see the end of the hardware Android era".

S4 is a significant improvement over the S3 in terms of hardware. Until we see the official hardware spec of S5 and S6, we can not draw such an conclusion.

So where you got your evidence or how you draw your conclusion is a mystery to me. Then again, internet forum is where people like to draw conclusion with little evidence.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 06:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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is that a real thing?
Yep, Samsung W880 in South Korea, M8920 in some other markets, same on the outside but with some technical differences.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 09:12 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FinancialWar View Post
I have no idea where or why you think we are "starting to see the end of the hardware Android era".

S4 is a significant improvement over the S3 in terms of hardware. Until we see the official hardware spec of S5 and S6, we can not draw such an conclusion.

So where you got your evidence or how you draw your conclusion is a mystery to me. Then again, internet forum is where people like to draw conclusion with little evidence.
CPU and Ram whores will always like new models. But the point is (which I think he is refering to), that you can only go so big or so fast with a mobile.

What do you want to see ? 6" screen size ? 7" ? 8" ? At the end there are only "so many ways" to make a phone. The market is somewhat saturated, at least in terms of evolution I think. S3 is brilliant as it is, S4 is quicker, sure, if the S5 comes out then the thing probably has 4GB of RAM and maybe even a true octacore (and not just a marketing octa) .. But in the end - it will always look like the same thing so the only way you can stand out from the competition is really on the software side.

And yes yes, battery life - serious - if you want a mini computer in your pocket then live with the fact that you actually need to charge the danm thing over night. Or get a Nokia 2110 - that probably lasts you a week.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 11:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Anyway I was wondering if you guys could help me make up my mind between the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. I can't do it on my own
There's no perfect phone, just the phone that's perfect for you at the time.

The technical wizardry is about trying to pack enough features so each model appeals to the widest audience. The best to the blogosphere may not be the best for you.

Want to be able to play your phone really loud for others to hear? Or take photos in lower light at the sacrifice of resolution? Or video record loud events? Then the One is for you.

Want to be able to swap batteries, if you're a really-heavy user or if you live or work in an area where reception is a problem (a definite battery killer)? Do you need the ultimate in on-board storage with a separate sd card? Then the SGS4 is for you.

Don't care about those things?

Do you have a screen preference? The One will get brighter, the SGS4 will get deeper blacks.

Do you like the S features - gestures, etc etc? You want the SGS4.

Do you like news feeds a _lot_? You want the One.

You'll be the one living with your choice. I'd be happy with either one, probably a little more so the One because I like the loud speakers - but that's just me.

So - look to see if there are features that appeal to you most - and very importantly, and I cannot stress this enough - it's a handset, so before buying, spend some time in stores holding them in your hand. And then, trust your gut instincts. If one phone says, "I'm yours," when holding it - go with that. I've yet to hear of anyone unhappy using that criteria when choosing between models.

Not everything important to you will show up in a spec sheet.

~~~~~~

Just as the iPhone has always been storage-intensive due to the way its apps are formed and how its multi-tasking works, Android has always been processor intensive.

Each year we've seen breakthroughs in processing capability - and each year, we've seen more software features because the platforms can support them.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 07:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Also consider your preference as to which side you want back and option capacitives on.
----
Not sure but I think there was options in engineer menu to force brightness higher, hopefully that can be done with the S4 if I find it's not as bright as I had hoped, you've got me worried now.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:08 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Also consider your preference as to which side you want back and option capacitives on.
----
Not sure but I think there was options in engineer menu to force brightness higher, hopefully that can be done with the S4 if I find it's not as bright as I had hoped, you've got me worried now.
I don't say that it's anything to worry about.

The HTCs have been known for their higher brightness beginning with the One X and the One is no exception. The numbers are listed in one of the screen articles that CafeKampuchia linked here. Max brightness on the One is higher than max on the SGS4.

Everyone's eyes and especially environment are different. If you want max brightness, the HTC has it.

Everything is a trade-off, there is no perfect phone (or perfect anything).
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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CPU and Ram whores will always like new models. But the point is (which I think he is refering to), that you can only go so big or so fast with a mobile.
As I said, we never know until we see the official spec phone makers in the future. But the current trend is still evident that hardware improvement is still significant.

OP thinks that we have reached near maximum hardware capacity without any evidence.

Who knows, may next year S5 will have 2560x1440 6inch screen with 16 cores.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 10:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FinancialWar View Post
As I said, we never know until we see the official spec phone makers in the future. But the current trend is still evident that hardware improvement is still significant.

OP thinks that we have reached near maximum hardware capacity without any evidence.

Who knows, may next year S5 will have 2560x1440 6inch screen with 16 cores.
I think I agree with the OP to a certain extent - particularly display specs. I wouldn't consider a 6 inch screen an improvement. It would stop me from buying it, frankly.
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 11:23 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: The new Android era, software differences...

Personally, if we need more than a quad-core CPU in our phones... Then God help us all. That means our software has become way too bloated.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 01:00 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I think we're almost at that levelling out point, like how cars did with engine power. Different types and arrangements of processors will be developed but overall I don't think we'll see anything above a 2.2ghz, Quad-Quad core, or some more 4+1, 8+2 type things like the Tegras.

GPUs might get some attention next though, I get the impression they barely get the job done, and then there's talk of using spare GPU power to help the CPU.

Also, these chips heat up a fair bit, sometimes I worried about my S2 blowing the processors.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomjaba View Post
CPU and Ram whores will always like new models. But the point is (which I think he is refering to), that you can only go so big or so fast with a mobile.

What do you want to see ? 6" screen size ? 7" ? 8" ? At the end there are only "so many ways" to make a phone. The market is somewhat saturated, at least in terms of evolution I think. S3 is brilliant as it is, S4 is quicker, sure, if the S5 comes out then the thing probably has 4GB of RAM and maybe even a true octacore (and not just a marketing octa) .. But in the end - it will always look like the same thing so the only way you can stand out from the competition is really on the software side.

And yes yes, battery life - serious - if you want a mini computer in your pocket then live with the fact that you actually need to charge the danm thing over night. Or get a Nokia 2110 - that probably lasts you a week.
Agreed. There will always be hardware innovations, but at this point, a faster processor or more RAM or an SD card slot or whatever just isn't enough to differentiate. Software innovations will play a much larger role (IMO) than having a faster processor or higher pixel density in my camera.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 10:46 AM   #24 (permalink)
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I hope we're not in an era where software is the only differentiator. I think more care ought to go into designing the hardware than stuffing features into the software. This is Android and people are going to tweak the hell out of these devices. If I have an HTC One or S4, I'm going to install my own launcher and widgets. The screens would likely have the same contents. TouchWiz, Motoblur and Sense are mostly useless additions for me.

I'd like to see powerful and beautifully designed devices with great screens, expandable memory and obsessively efficient battery consumption. I'd like to see manufacturers think about where they place volume buttons relative to the headphone jacks. Where should the power button go? Does it need capacitive buttons? Is it comfortable to hold? These are the things important to me in differentiating between phones. The software is mostly window dressing as far as I'm concerned because I can install apps which do most of what the manufacturers bloat our phones with.

This is Android not iOS! We customize!
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Old March 25th, 2013, 11:41 AM   #25 (permalink)
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^This!

And the slider market hasn't died, they simply stopped producing high-end variations to support it.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 01:18 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I'd like to see manufacturers think about where they place volume buttons relative to the headphone jacks.
Basically this. And personally I won't buy a phone with the power button on the top because I like to use a neoprene 'case' with the opening slit down the side, for me it offers the perfect protection and access combination.
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Old March 26th, 2013, 07:52 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Basically this. And personally I won't buy a phone with the power button on the top because I like to use a neoprene 'case' with the opening slit down the side, for me it offers the perfect protection and access combination.
You have earned my respect because almost nobody seems to get that one. I've whined about it for several years and most comments sum up to "who cares?". It's little things like that which streamline the user's experience.

To sum it up for those who haven't heard my rant yet: If the headphone jack is on the same side of the phone as the volume buttons, then when put into a belt pouch, you can change the volume without removing the phone. The side of the phone which has the headphone jack is always on top of a pouch by necessity. Just think about it for a second.

I totally agree with power buttons on the side too. Even without a pouch, it's so much easier to turn a large screen on and off if the button is on the side. It's just a flex of the thumb or finger.

Ergonomics!!
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Old March 26th, 2013, 08:17 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RichSz View Post
You have earned my respect because almost nobody seems to get that one. I've whined about it for several years and most comments sum up to "who cares?". It's little things like that which streamline the user's experience.

To sum it up for those who haven't heard my rant yet: If the headphone jack is on the same side of the phone as the volume buttons, then when put into a belt pouch, you can change the volume without removing the phone. The side of the phone which has the headphone jack is always on top of a pouch by necessity. Just think about it for a second.

I totally agree with power buttons on the side too. Even without a pouch, it's so much easier to turn a large screen on and off if the button is on the side. It's just a flex of the thumb or finger.

Ergonomics!!
I totally get what you (and a few others) are saying. Ergonomics are a huge part of the decision to buy...well...anything! But you don't see any of these phone manufacturers touting volume rocker location as a big selling point when their competitors are talking up their screen size and micro SD slots and stuff. (Also, what may be ergonomic for you may not be for the guy sitting next to you...Especially if one of you is right-handed and the other is left-handed.) Every phone has a power button. They don't all have Super AMOLED screens or SD card slots or sharks with laser beams attached to their heads

That's all I'm tryin' to say. There's only so much the manufacturers can do to differentiate themselves from the competition with hardware at this point. The average John Doe walks into a cell phone store, looks at the lineup and thinks "they all look the same". There's a fine line between "innovation" and "fad/gimmick". I'm sure at some point someone will come out with a gamechanger that everyone else will copy or try to one-up, but until then, it's just tough to get excited about more megapixels than I need or stuff like that.

Just my $0.02.
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The all-new Samsung Galaxy S4 is all but guaranteed to be the next top-selling device. The new device is dubbed the "Life Companion" due to its intuitive features. The Galaxy S4 sports a 5-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display, an awesome 13 MP... Read More



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