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Gear VR may thrill gamers, but value to Samsung and business is unclear

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 4, 2014
Galaxy Note 4 seen as incremental improvement, while the Note Edge is unproven.

"The success of Edge will depend on the apps," Milanesi said. "This will make a difference between gimmick and true enhanced user experience."

Gold said the Edge is really a "halo" product that "shows Samsung is thinking about design and trying to counter the upcoming announcement from Apple, which always tries to out-style the competition."

While Samsung presented its Note 4 as the most important of the three new devices it announced, analysts were unimpressed and questioned whether the device can dramatically improve Samsung revenues.

"The new Note 4 is an incremental improvement to the Note 3 with improved screen and processor and some tweaks to the S Pen," Gold said. "It will appeal to the phablet crowd, but is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Nevertheless, Samsung leads in the phablet category (smartphones with screens larger than 5.5-in.) and needs to to maintain its credentials there."

Gartner analyst Hugues de la Vergne said the Note 4 and Note Edge 4 show how all hardware vendors face challenges. "Just about all smartphone hardware features will be incremental improvements at this point," he said. "Such improvements will keep Samsung ahead of their Android competitors in mature markets like the U.S., but the real risk is a larger screen iPhone."

All the major U.S. carriers have said they expect to carry Samsung's new products in the fall, but pricing has not been announced.

 

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