BitDepth#878 - March 26

Samsung's Elias Kabeche, VP Sales and Marketing for Latin America, answers questions about the company's new smartphone.
Samsung on the new S4
Elias Kabeche, Samsung’s Vice-president of Sales and Marketing for Latin America. Photograph courtesy Samsung.

In a follow-up phone call after the launch of the Samsung S4, Elias Kabeche, VP Sales and Marketing for Latin America, responded to some questions the company’s new smartphone.
Samsung announced two versions of the new smartphone two weeks ago, one featuring an octacore chip, the other a quadcore processor. T&T will get the octacore version of the Exynos chipset that’s already being used in the GSM version of the S3 that’s targeted for international customers.

The new Exynos 5 isn’t a single massive 8-core chip. It’s designed as two quadcore chips which scale up power to meet user requirements.
Mr Kabeche offered few details on the power consumption profile of the new phone, which increases the battery capacity on the S4 from 2100mah to 2600mah, a concession to the improved processor and the new high definition screen on the new device.

“It will probably be a bit better than on the S3, but the new battery will meet the needs of the new screen and processors,” he said.
The new phone is being released just nine months after the introduction of the S3, which has sold more than 40 million units, but Kabeche dismissed any suggestion that there had been an speeding up of marketing cycles at Samsung.

“It was the appropriate time to launch,” Mr Kabeche said. “Everyone was waiting for a new phone, and we had a great profile of new features to introduce. The S4 is the next generation. It’s leaps and bounds ahead of its competition.”
The new smartphone introduces a business-market only feature called Knox, which separates personal data from work-related data, a feature that had been touted at the late January launch of Blackberry’s new Z10. Could this be the start of a business sector focused thrust by Samsung? A more direct challenge to Blackberry’s acceptance by corporate IT?

“I don't see this phone as going after anybody,” Kabeche said. “We needed to start introducing products that met the needs of customers and there is a big demand for bring your own devices (BYOD) in the workplace.”
“We believe that Knox will satisfy IT managers who are interested in supporting that movement.”
The new phone introduced lifestyle software for health conscious users, specifically new bundled health monitoring software SHealth, SBeat and a calorie calculator, might this represent a new thrust into niche software for the company?

“We are not moving into any niche specific software. We listened to our customers, and we delivered a phone that meets the needs of consumers and brings a wider range of solutions to the customer. SHealth connects to a range of devices that monitor health and personal performance.”
Mr Kabeche is also keen on the possibilities of the new 13 megapixel camera that’s built into the S4 which is supported by software that enables many of the effects that are popular with today’s cameraphone users.

“Being able to put the person taking the picture into the frame of a picture that your taking, the ability to embed sound in a picture, that remarkable camera and the new display make for an experience you won’t believe.”
According to Samsung’s Latin American marketing chief, the new S4 will be released in Trinidad and Tobago “early in Q2.”

An early second quarter launch puts the possibility of an S4 launch potentially as soon as April.
“We know the Trinidad and Tobago market is keen to have the latest devices,” Kabeche said, with a tone of foreshadowing that will be welcomed by fans of the company’s Android based phones.
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