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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --True to its annual cadence, and to the surprise of nobody, Samsung will introduce the worldwide best-selling flagship smartphone -- the Galaxy S4 -- this Thursday evening in New York City. It is likely to be the finest smartphone hardware the world has ever seen.
And I recommend you skip it.
Yes, the world's best smartphone hardware will be launched, and you should take a pass.
Let me explain.
Let's first establish that as Samsung's most extreme fanboy, I love Samsung. I have more Samsung devices than I can count, from Chromebooks to tablets and smartphones. In fact, the best smartphone ever -- relative to its time -- remains the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, in my opinion. I use it right now because it's the best.
The reason you should skip the Samsung Galaxy S4 is this: You need to keep the focus on what really matters in terms of selecting a smartphone -- software -- and not the commodity side of the equation -- the hardware.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will launch with an operating system no higher than Android 4.2. On top of Android 4.2, Samsung has molested this software with its own "special sauce" called "TouchWiz," often referred to as a "skin." Actually, it's a little more than the word "skin" implies (simple cosmetics), but I'll get into that later.
The problem is that this "special sauce" is not like hot fudge on your vanilla ice cream. It's more like ketchup on your vanilla ice cream. It subtracts from Android attractiveness rather than adds to it in a positive way.
The problem with this ketchup on your vanilla ice cream is two-fold:
1. The experience on Day 1: The experience on Day 1 is at least somewhat debatable. The reason Samsung is bothering to employ hundreds -- perhaps thousands? -- of software engineers to create a flavor of ketchup it believes will improve your vanilla ice cream is because the company actually believes it improves the taste.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether this merits all this duplicative labor to molest the otherwise unvarnished look and feel of Android. Samsung would argue that it looks better, and that it adds and changes some functionality so that your Android smartphone becomes easier and better to use.