"SAMSUNG UNPACKED" EVENT IS SLATED - WILL WE SEE AN S PEN?
It's officially official! The next "Samsung Unpacked" event is scheduled for March 14th, 2013 for the unveiling of the wildly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S IV smartphone, to be held in New York City. That said, what is the status on inclusion of an S Pen?
By now, you all know that the magical S Pen sits on the forefront of my mind. I am more interested in this feature than any other. Up until now, the prognosticators have been waffling on this issue more than Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election.
As much as I want to have slightly-smaller-yet-more-powerful version of the Samsung Galaxy Note II with an equally capable S Pen stylus, I don't think it will come to fruition with the Galaxy S IV. There are two overwhelming reasons why I now believe the "no-S-Pen" predictors are calling this one correctly.
First, the inclusion of an S Pen would make the Galaxy S IV compete directly with the Note II, a phablet device that is still selling strong and not yet willing to be driven into obsolescence. Previously, I wishfully thought that the S Pen would become the new standard for all Galaxy handsets and tablets. But it doesn't appear that this is the direction the company is moving.
Even though Samsung likes to whip out updated devices faster than you can blink your eyes, they aren't going to kill the insanely popular Galaxy Note II this far ahead of the future third generation edition of the Note. We don't even have any fresh or credible rumors on the follow-up at this point. That makes me tend to believe that they are still going to ride out the popularity of the Note II and maximize their return on investment before killing it dead.
Second, I hate to admit it, but the addition of an S Pen stylus to the Galaxy S IV smartphone will add unnecessary extra thickness to a device that they might be trying to "thin out". If an S Pen was included similar to what we have with the Note II, the device would have to be about 9.1mm in thickness to house it inside of the case.
Everyone knows that the race is on to make the most paper-thin smartphone on the market. In my opinion, this is not practical, and it provides no advantage. How slim do we need a smartphone to be before we stop the maddening race-to-paper-thinness? I think it has gone too far. But the smarphone manufacturers don't seem to agree with me.
Therefore, with thinness being the call of the day, I seriously don't see Samsung switching from selling a super slim sliver of a smartphone to make a fatter S Pen-packing phablet just for the stylus nerds like myself. Sad as it seems, this is the reality of the situation. My Galaxy IV S Pen dreams will likely be dashed on March 14th, 2013.
That begs the question... will I still desire a stylus-less Galaxy S4 device? Possibly. Here's why.
If they diss the stylus nerds and leave out the S Pen on the S4, they will more than likely include touchless gestures for scrolling and selecting. This would liberate the user from gunking up the screen while manipulating the device. It is an exciting and welcomed feature. Not exactly a replacement for a stylus, but a nice concession.
If Samsung figures out a way to bring the multitasking, window-floating, and video preview features without the aid of an S Pen, it might be just as good of an experience as with the Galaxy Note II. And the obvious benefit would be that you could have the same powerful features without a stylus to misplace.
I would say that a Galaxy S IV without an S Pen would probably be used more like a smartphone and less like a phablet. Maybe this would be Samsung's slick way to force me into considering the Galaxy Note 8... and spend more of the money I already don't have.
S Pen Enthusiast