1. ITV Report

A new smartphone, but where's the WOW factor?

The launch of the latest Samsung smartphone - the Galaxy S4 - has once again opened the floodgates for comparisons between the leading handsets.

The launch took place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York Credit: Reuters

Apple's perceived dominance of the market continues despite having fewer features than the likes of its Android competitors, yet Apple launches still attract more attention amongst the mainstream than a Samsung, Sony or HTC phone launch ever has.

Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing executive, took an overt pop at manufacturers running Android. "With their own data, only 16 percent of Android users are on year-old version of the operating system", he said in an interview with Reuters. "Over 50 percent are still on software that is two years old. A really big difference".

Yet that doesn't detract from the fact that Samsung handsets outsell Apple's offering worldwide.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 phone Credit: Reuters

The launch of the iPhone in 2007 heralded a new wave of innovation in the smartphone market. The hype and coverage that surrounded each subsequent iPhone launch was unparalleled. But even the most recent iPhone 5 launch last year was welcomed with muted eagerness.

Innovation has appeared to stall. The wow factor no longer exists. Last night's Samsung launch, whilst delivering a slew of software improvements to its operating system, barely added to the hardware offering. A slightly bigger battery, a slightly faster processor and a slightly better screen resolution are the headlines.

The Galaxy S4's features are welcome improvements, but they are merely incremental. A video that can pause itself when you look away is all very well and good but the chore of pressing the pause button hardly requires maximum effort.

Galaxy S4 phones on display after the launch Credit: Reuters

So what's the killer feature that phone manufacturers need to regain the wow factor? What's the one feature that all smartphones fail to deliver on? What's the one thing that will ensure phones fly off the shelves in their droves?

It's battery life.

Not one of the smartphones on the market today can rival the likes of the Nokia 3310 when it comes to battery life. The phones of the past lasted for days on end without needing a recharge. Today you're lucky if you can get through a day in the office without your phone being dangerously close to empty by the time you're ready to head home.

You can now buy add-on battery packs, portable chargers and download software to improve battery life but no smartphone manufacturer can give you a phone that does all these things as standard.

JK Shin, President and Head of IT and Mobile Communication Division at Samsung Credit: Reuters

The Galaxy S4 comes with a 2600mAh battery (an extra 500mAH on top of its predecessor) but with its more power hungry screen and processor that's likely to deplete just as quickly.

Manufacturers advise disabling the WiFi or mobile data services when you're not using them to help conserve battery but the very reason most people have smartphones is to stay connected at all times.

When Samsung and Apple can produce a phone that can last for 48 hours without multiple charges in between, that's when you'll hear the next Wow. That's when the next wave of innovation will begin. Until then, carry a charger.

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