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Samsung Galaxy S4: Disaster 101

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I guess we should have predicted it.

Samsung had rented Radio City Music Hall, home of The Rockettes, in order to introduce the Galaxy S4, the latest version of its flagship smartphone that never gets the latest version of the Android operating system.

The event started with the big cheese at Samsung quickly rattling off some of the specs of the S4 and then handing it over to what was essentially a fully-fledged Broadway show. These actors "explained" a variety of non-standard Android features of the S4 that most people will never use. It was the most painfully cringe-worthy and corny product presentation I can remember, by a mile.

In technology as in politics, if you don't have the substance, you have to make it up with music and a show. Politicians and product marketers alike have to dumb things down to the lowest common denominator in order for something to sell: "Hope! Change! Look at this shiny Samsung that will change your life!"

If this is reflective of our country -- let alone the world -- I fear for our humanity's future. Are people no longer receptive to a serious presentation with engineers explaining the finer engineering details of a new product to journalists who cover engineering?

Apple's (AAPL) VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, caught a lot of flak on the eve of this product introduction by savaging Samsung's continued launch of Galaxy S devices that run almost year-old software. Schiller didn't hire a Broadway show to make his point. He just spoke the truth, as it turns out.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available to U.S. consumers right around the time Google will have moved on with Android to version 5.0, so-called Key Lime Pie. The S4 will be stuck at 4.2.2 for God-knows-how-long. Last year, its predecessor device, the S3, took approximately six months to get its software upgrade, which -- you guessed it -- was then obsolete in turn when it was finally made available.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is perfectly nice state-of-the-art smartphone hardware. It is very similar in terms of specs to the HTC One, which will hit the market at the same time. It is slightly ahead of two other main competitors -- LG (LPL) with the Optimus G and Sony (SNE) with the Xperia Z. Basically, they're all similar enough.
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