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Samsung Galaxy S4: Disaster 101

Guess what else is similar? The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the S3 from a year ago. I'd be darned if I could tell the difference. The screen grew from 4.8 to 5.0 inches, the resolution was upped from 720p to 1080p, the CPU became faster and the battery increased, just like the competition. Most people would fail a blind test.

It's a snooze-fest. All smartphone hardware is now essentially the same. They have similar screens, the same chips mostly from Qualcomm (QCOM), and... well, that's it.

Actually, these presentations might as well be made by Qualcomm, because they contribute the only interesting advancements anyway. At least on the hardware side.

The software side? C'mon, this is all about Google, not Samsung or any of its Android OEM peers. Google makes the latest software available, and if your device is a relatively new GSM unlocked Nexus, you get this new software right away. This is of course why you should only buy Nexus, if you have decided Android is for you.

Samsung made a superb smartphone from November 2011 to October 2012 -- the Galaxy Nexus. It runs Google's latest OS, 4.2.2, which is the same the S4 will get when it hits U.S. stores in a month or two. This just goes to show you that if Samsung were smart, it would make a version of this new outstanding Galaxy S4 hardware that ran pure Nexus software. That would be an awesome device.

I'm not going to go into all the gimmicky new non-Android specific features of the S4 here. You can view them in numerous other write-ups and watch on videos elsewhere. Suffice it to say that I have a slight -- very slight -- preference for Samsung smartphone hardware over the competition, but that all of that is secondary to whether an Android device is a Nexus or not, getting software upgrades right away instead of 6-9 months down the road, if ever. And the S4 isn't, just like the other non-Nexus competition isn't.
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