Some analysts have speculated that Samsung is further inclined to move off Android because its OS updates have been sometimes slow to roll out to all devices and manufacturers, adding to the criticism from Apple and others that Android is a fragmented OS. Even Samsung officials, in announcing the company's KNOX security enhancements at Mobile World Congress, called Android fragmented.
At the Galaxy S4 launch event, analysts noted that Samsung was creating its own ecosystem instead of using the Android approach, renaming and altering some software features that rely on Android underneath. The biggest example of that is how Samsung adds its own interface to Android, calling it TouchWiz, as it has in many previous smartphones.
The way that Samsung launched the S4 and showed a long list of Samsung-inspired features, such as Smart Pause and Smart Scroll for gesture controls of the device, gave the impression that the OS wasn't necessarily integral to the phone, several analysts said.
Samsung's hour-long event covered many new features in the GS4, prompting Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC, to wonder, "How are they going to train the salespeople to cover it all?"
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, said it will be harder to describe and promote software features to potential customers than to simply show differences in hardware.
Shortly after the presentation, Samsung released an under-five-minute YouTube video that describes many of the S4's features, which could be a start to addressing some of the feature complexity.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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