Some TV networks do weekend reruns of their popular weekday shows, but we get our entertainment elsewhere. Counterclockwise is a weekly rerun of the most exciting mobile news to come in recent years.
This week we’ll look at the Samsung’s rise and fall and rise again with the Galaxy S series, Apple’s difficult relationship with NFC and how Swiss makers are entering the 21st century.
Galaxy S4 leaves a legacy the S5 struggled to live up to
There’s plenty in the news about Samsung’s new darlings, the Galaxy S6 and the S6 edge, but this time in March two years ago all eyes were on the Samsung Galaxy S4.
It launched with a 5″ 1080p Super AMOLED screen, choice of Snapdragon 600 and Exynos 5 Octa chipset and a 13MP/1080p camera. Out of the box it ran Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but it recently got updated to 5.0 Lollipop (a good update track record).
Live shots from Galaxy S4’s unveiling
The Galaxy S4 struck a chord with with consumers and in the UK demand for the new model was 40% higher than what the Galaxy S III experienced a year before. Rollout was set to begin in April and hit 327 carriers in 155 countries across the globe.
The next model, the Galaxy S5, failed to win the hearts and minds of consumers so Samsung made major changes and now the new Galaxy S6 (and its Galaxy S6 sibling) are on track for record-breaking sales.
The iPhone will-won’t-will have NFC
Back in early 2011 there were some rumors that Apple will launch an NFC-enabled iPhone. Then the iPhone 4S hit and there was no sign of NFC. Same thing with the iPhone 5, then 5s until finally the technology landed on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Apple is still not fully sold on the short-range wireless tech though, it’s only piggybakcing it for Apple Pay – the company’s replacement of paying with credit cards.
Perhaps the team at Cupertino was waiting for fingerprint scanners to mature so that they can be used to secure the transactions. Or maybe it was reluctant retailers that slowed things down.
Either way, phone-based payments are now in the public mind despite the technology existing for years prior to Apple’s involvement. Perennial rival Samsung is building its own alternative (it’s already partnered with PayPal) and Google’s efforts have been reinvigorated).
When luxury watches and luxury phones combine
This year at the MWC we saw two heavy hitters of the smartphone arena unveiled, but the majority of products were wearables – smarwatches and bands were everywhere. Swiss companies, the most famous watch makers in the world, were rather quiet though.
Tag Heuer has been dabbling with mobile devices, launching a luxury phone every now and then. Like the Tag Heuer Racer announced in March 2012, which was built like a supercar – from carbon fiber, titanium and rubber.
Despite running Android, at 2,800 the Racer had no chance of escaping the premium niche market.
The company is moving closer to its core competency with its first smartwatch. It’s the result of partnership between Tag Heuer (which provides the premium casing), Intel (which supplies the electronic hardware) and Google (which brings the Android Wear software). Details are scarce for now, but the design will be based on the popular Carrera watch.
This is coming just a year after Google unveiled the Android Wear platform. Other Swiss makers are jumping on board too, though for now they prefer to stick closer to mechanical watches with only a few dashes of “smart.”