Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Active Rugged Smartphone Hits Bluetooth SIG As All-Terrain Phone Battle Heats Up

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Gadgets, GT, Mobile, Samsung
Tags: , , , ,

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Samsung is moving quickly to diversify its phone line,
with variants of the S4 popping out of the woodwork
left and right, including the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which
features a rumored 10x optical zoom on its rear
camera. Today the Galaxy S4 Active, a ruggedized,
smaller version of the flagship S4 has hit the Bluetooth Special Interest Group for certification,
which means it could be coming along shortly, too. The S4 Active is supposedly a water- and dust-
resistant phone designed for use with an active
lifestyle, or in outdoor conditions where generally
phones don’t fare very well. The S4 Active would
compete head-to-head with Sony’s latest lineup of
phones, including the Xperia ZR announced today, which is a smaller version of the Xperia Z with slightly
less impressive specs. It’s submersible in water for
up to 1.5 meters, however, which pits it against the
Active’s rumored feature set. Both the Active and the Zoom S4 variants remind me
of how companies are diversifying in another
crowded, near saturated market: point-and-shoot
cameras. Manufacturers regularly highlight the long
zoom and rugged versions of their devices, as these
are areas where consumers feel they need more than what’s available to them on the smartphone devices
they carry around every day. Manufacturers like Sony and Samsung moving in this
direction with their devices marks an attempt to
broaden their lineup’s appeal vs. other similar
competitors, but also encroaches on the territory of
single-purpose devices like the camera. And the
market is likely to get more crowded, not less, as Google has been teasing devices that can withstand
harsh environmental forces coming from its Motorola
acquisition, through executive statements. I said previously that Samsung is essentially
preparing a phone for every feature to compete with
any unique advantage its rivals may try, and the S4
Active is definitely that. But these variant devices
also have the potential to act as advance market
research for tech that can be adopted back into a flagship device: if any is particularly successful, it
provides a roadmap for Samsung about what will draw
customers to the S5 or beyond. The S4 Active getting its Bluetooth certification
means it’s likely to get a consumer reveal before too
long, so we should see exactly how far Samsung has
taken the rugged phone concept soon.

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