One of the downsides of being Samsung and owning 40 percent of the smartphone market share is that everyone is gunning for your top position. As such the company has to tackle low-cost manufacturers and other big name OEMs for a slice of the smartphone market, and consistently shipping a truckload of Android phones.
However, if you thought Samsung can afford not to be wary of competition, then here’s a reality check. The Galaxy S4, easily one of the most anticipated handsets of the year, is about to be unveiled to the world on March 14. That’s the same day that XOLO will unveil what the company cliams will be “the fastest smartphone ever” in India.
XOLO is counting down to the launch
The company sent out invites for this “Mission X” and made it pretty clear that the phone, rumoured to be called the X1000, will have an Intel processor. According to XOLO’s Facebook page, the device will have a pixel density of 312 ppi and HD resolution. Here's hoping that XOLO puts in a 720p display that can compete with the likes of Micromax A116 Canvas HD. It will also have a unibody design and curved “2.5D” display. But that’s all we know. No details about the camera and the connectivity features of the device have been released yet.
Of course, on pretty much any given day, a Samsung announcement will get a large chunk of the news cycle, but the fact that the XOLO smartphone will be powered by a brand new Intel processor leads us to believe that this clash of launch dates is no mere coincidence. It could very well be that XOLO’s announcement doesn’t even come up as a blip in Samsung’s radars, but colour us excited!
Intel is currently striving hard to stay relevant or even make a dent in the mobile CPU segment. The company holds a woeful one percent market share in that segment and has recently forayed into the contract-manufacturing business, which should allow it get a foothold in the ARM-dominated mobile CPU landscape. Speaking of which, Samsung may have an eight-core monster prepped for its Galaxy S4. Well, it’s not eight-core in the traditional sense, but the Exynos 5 Octa uses two quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 and Cortex A-15 CPUs in synch and switches seamlessly to handle tasks relative to their processing power. Could Intel be aiming straight for this beast?
This image of the Galaxy S4 tweeted by Samsung looks remarkably similar to the Galaxy S3
Intel’s Clover Trail+ CPUs should be able to match up in terms of real-world performance whatever Samsung throws at them with the Exynos 5 Octa. We expect the Clover Trail+ CPU to be blazing in everyday tasks, but there are serious questions lingering from the Intel Medfield platform about the power efficiency of the new chips and the subsequent low battery life. This was one of the chief reasons that the X900 did badly in the market. ARM chips are famed for their power efficiency and that is something Intel has to re-learn for the mobile business. If Intel has managed to deliver on the power efficiency front, it could have a winner in the form of the XOLO smartphone.
One area that XOLO will have a definite leg up over Samsung is the pricing, of course. Samsung’s top-end phones have been priced close to the competition in the past. And if we were to speculate, based on the S4's specs that have been doing the rounds, the new Samsung flagship is expected to be priced around the Rs 40,000 to Rs 45,000 mark. In contrast, looking at XOLO's record in the past, its X1000 phone will be priced between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000. Price is a very important consideration for a market like India and XOLO has regularly been announcing reasonably-priced handsets like the A800 and A1000, which are both solidly built and have decent specs for their price.
The image of the phone posted by XOLO on its website
If XOLO manages to impress with the spec sheet and the powerful Intel CPU inside doesn’t chomp down your battery, then the Galaxy S4 will indeed have to share the limelight come March 14. Complicating matters further are the recent additions of the Sony Xperia Z and the BlackBerry Z10, both of which offer top-of-the-line specs and have been doing well in the market. One thing is for sure, smartphone lovers who are looking to choose from among the best in the market will have a tougher time deciding which handset to go with.
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