Samsung's press conferences are often polarizing — from the heights of weirdness at CES 2011 to the depths of boredom at CES 2013. For the launch of the Galaxy S4 on Thursday, the company clearly wanted to make as big an impression as possible, with a presentation that was kitschy and bombastic, but accessible. (It was also offensive to some and Samsung was called out for portraying women in insulting stereotypes). But Samsung's presentation at Radio City Music hall went far beyond its song and dance for press and fans, and the company took to Times Square, turning it into a mammoth billboard for the S4.

Samsung clearly wanted to make a big impression

Thousands gathered on a chilly evening to watch the phone's unveiling, streamed on multiple jumbo screens in Times Square. The crowd didn't show much emotion during the unveiling, but many seemed interested enough to video or photograph the spectacle. Missing was the applause and cheering commonly heard at Apple events, but money can't buy everything.