The Galaxy S4 Keynote: Why Samsung didn't want you to know that it runs Android

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Last night, you've probably watched Samsung's theatrical Galaxy S4 keynote. And If you didn't, I'd recommend that you watch it. Love it or hate it, the keynote was unlike any other before it, and showed the new features in a creative and fun manner. The keynote was purposely set out to impress the general consumer rather than the geeks, as it showed less detail and showcased the 'real-world' uses of these new features in short and somewhat-funny acts.

However, something weird caught my eye. During Samsung's 50 minute keynote, they've never mentioned that their new Galaxy S4 runs the latest Android 4.2! They had many slides about the technical hardware and the software of the device, but didn't even bother to add just one bulletin to say "Runs Android". They've endlessly talked about the new camera features like Drama Shot, as well as AirView and the S-branded features like S-Translator and S-Health, and Group Play, without mentioning any stock Android feature that comes with 4.2.

So why is that? Did they forget to mention that it includes the latest Android; shouldn't they be proud of that at least? Not that at all. However, I do believe that Samsung doesn't want people to think that it just runs Android. Because this keynote was targeted to the average consumer, Samsung didn't want to confuse consumers to think that their new features like Smart Pause and Smart Scroll are part of Android. They want people to think that these are product-differentiator features that aren't part of Android, and that they're Samsung-only.

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I think that Samsung is trying nowadays to keep its branding under their control without tying it up with Google or Android, so they can introduce these features on other platforms like WindowsPhone and Tizen in the future without any confusion for the customers. If Samsung is serious about releasing a high-end Tizen phone, then they're probably going to introduce the S-features and Air Gestures on that phone as well.

Samsung isn't the only suspect here. HTC has added non-Android features like Blinkfeed and HTC Zoe in their new One phone, so consumers can easily identify each product from another without assuming that these are standard Android features.

In the past, OEMs added skin to Android to made it look different so it can be differentiated in the market. Nowadays, that's not enough. Most phones, even the cheap ones, are packed with Android 4.0+ features, that skinning it just isn't enough. These manufacturers are now working so hard on releasing new software 'innovations' that are far beyond Android to stay relevant in the premium market, and Samsung is the pinnacle of that.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments. If you haven't watched the keynote, watch it down below.


Edit: Samsung just came out with a 4-minute showcase video for the Galaxy S4. Again, no mention of Android at all.