Galaxy S4 evidence of an Android market that's heating up, says Game Insight
Is it simply more of the same, or does it have the capacity to eat into iPhone's all-conquering market share?
And with the likes of Sony and HTC having launched their own Android flagships recently, who holds the balance of power on Google's OS?
We decided to ask some of the platform's most notable developers for their view on all things Galaxy S4. Next up, Max Donskikh VP of publishing at Russian F2P master Game Insight:
Pocket Gamer: Broadly speaking, what did you make of the Galaxy S4 unveiling?
Max Donskikh: I don't think it's unfair to say that some of the theatrics seemed a little...over the top. But, aside from the presentation, the S4 itself seems like an absolutely beautiful piece of hardware.
Yes, it's an incremental upgrade from the S3, but that 5-inch, 1080p screen stands out as a very nice addition.
As a mobile game developer, I'm very interested to see how the S4's higher-speed processor works in practice. And as a mobile phone user, it's hard to ignore the new camera. The S4's 13MP rear camera is a big step up from the S III's 8MP camera.
On a consumer level, how do you think Samsung is attempting to distinguish the Galaxy S4 from other Android handsets?
Again, the new on board camera is nice, but otherwise, it seems like the S4 is more about usability enhancements than about quantum leaps in hardware.
Air Gesture/Air View and Group Play seem especially interesting in terms of how they could potentially be used for innovative game features.
On that note, the high-end Android market seems to be hotting up of late, with both the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z. How does the Galaxy S4 compare?
Just looking at the phones, feature-for-feature, suggests that this is absolutely right...the competition is heating up.
The S4's enhancements, in a few areas, put it ahead of its competitors in certain ways - it's lighter than the HTC One and has a faster processor than the Xperia Z.
However, I wouldn't be surprised to see enhanced versions from Samsung's competitors in the not-to-distant future that trump the S4.
Should Apple be worried?
I think it's telling that Apple's Phil Schiller recently spoke out against Android phones in an interview. This is something that Apple previously never did.
It's far too early to pick any winners, but I think it's definitely fair to say that Apple faces much stiffer competition in the smartphone market than it did even a few years ago.
What opportunities does it present for developers ?
As a developer of mobile games that often feature strong social components, I'm interested to see how Group Play will work in practice.
For some time now, mobile multiplayer has largely been asynchronous.
Features like Group Play might help head-to-head, real-time multiplayer, the kind we typically see in console and PC games, become more feasible on mobile.
Speaking of console games, motion control has, of course, become much more prominent in the living room thanks to new console tech like Xbox Kinect and PlayStation Move. It'd be very interesting to see this kind of functionality come to prominence in mobile gaming.
Thanks to Max for his time.
If you're an Android developer with views on Samsung's Galaxy S4, drop us a line at keith.andrew [at] pocketgamer.co.uk.