From the Forums: Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Reader and potential BECUapp

Samsung has lifted the curtain on its latest Android flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4. We'll not go into too much detail here and repeat what's already been published, but it's only right we tackle the newly announced competing hardware and what this means for the Windows Phone community. As well as this, there are also a number of threads from our Windows Phone forum that are worth checking out. Shall we dive in?

First up (as mentioned above) is the Samsung Galaxy S4. Forum user MattLFC created a thread for consumers to discuss their initial thoughts of both the smartphone and overall presentation. Just how bad was Samsung? Our thoughts - it was awful and painful to watch. Matt also goes into some detail about the HTC One being a better device:

"The HTC One - out right now, OIS, much better GUI, the lifestream is an amazing merge between Android and Windows Phone, the handset is possibly the best looking and built handset on the market ever (despite me still wanting a GREEN Lumia 620 - NOKIA fooking release it will you!!!). Why would anyone touch another SIII imitation, when you could have the HTC One? Whay bother waiting, and then pay way over the odds when it's released, when you can have the HTC One for amazing prices (cheaper than a 920 atm) right now?!!!"

Samsung has Android in the bag for the time being. HTC desperately needs to turn that around for the company to be saved. Unfortunately, HTC just doesn't have the funding to splash out on marketing both its Windows Phone and Android hardware, but what do you make of the Galaxy S4 itself? Like the specifications? Feel Samsung should pour as much money and effort into Microsoft's mobile platform, or do you believe we're not missing out?

Head on over to the "Samsung Galaxy S4" thread and add your thoughts.

Google shutting down its Reader service

You should be aware that Google has announced plans to close Google Reader, the popular RSS feed service. Unfortunately, with advances in social media among other reasons, RSS feeds just aren't viewed as the main source of news and information anymore (though we prefer it over the likes of Twitter). 

A number of developers have announced that their RSS apps will continue to function and they are actively looking at alternatives to work around the closure to keep the apps running. Are you glad to see the back of Google Reader or do you believe RSS is here to stay and the search giant should reconsider? Will you continue to use such apps on Windows Phone? Join in the discussion over in the "So Google said they are shutting down Google Reader" thread.

BECU app potentially on the way

BECU (Boeing Employee's Credit Union) is a not-for-profit, member-owned credit union for all residents of Washington State. Already sporting Android and iOS apps, they have displayed signs of interest to move over to cover Windows Phone too. A mobile version of the website already exists, which works well, but there's nothing that matches a native client, right?

Forum member larspassic has got in touch with the BECU and now urges everyone who would also like to see an official app to tweet out to BECU on the social network. Should enough interest be shown from the community, an app may well be pushed up the priority ladder.

Read up more information over in the "BECU wants to make a WP app! Show your support!" thread on how you can help out.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I must admit the Galaxy S4 is going to be a BEAST!! 8 core processor, what the hell you going to do with that? Power the space shuttle. There is something to be said for elegance, charm, fluidity hence Microsoft is the winner in my book. Plus Touchwiz is just horrendous but I think it's the best of all the phones. Some people just can't resist all the bells and whistles of the S4. To each his or her own I guess.
  • But the truth is most people, including those who will buy it have no idea nor do they care about the "bells and whistles".
  • In reality though its only 4 cores running. It has 4 high power cores running when the phone is in active use, and it has four low power cores that runs when the phone is in standby. So you'll never use more than 4 cores at a time.
  • I have to say that the hardware specifications of the GS4 is much better than anything WP has to offer. Blows the L920 out of the water.. Nokia needs to top this! I don't care if anyone here thinks WP doesn't need a octo core processor, 2G ram, and a 1080p screen, the next generation WP devices better have this in order to be recognized. I love WP software, but I want android spec hardware and I would prefer if it came from Nokia.. Somehow I still think that the 920 opened the tech world eyes, and the innovation that we're seeing in these new Android devices is fueled by the L920's innovation.... I still think my L920 is the best phone in the world though.....................
  • You seem to be pretty fixated on specs but ever stop to think "what does this get me?"
  • It actually would help. Windows Phone only needed one core, but then they made dual core devices and their performance was way better. Imagine three or quad core Windows Phones. They would smoke competition.
  • It's not about what WP needs to literally run fast, and smooth, it's about WP being competitive with the competition. Sure me and you know what a WP device is capable of, but the average consumer will look at specs and choose a android device over a WP because the WP will appear to be the inferior device next to high end Android devices in the store,, especially if uninformed sales associates look at only specs.. I don't say that WP needs competitive specs because I think higher specs are necessary for WP. I'm looking at the whole situation from a gaining market share standpoint, and WP is in desperate need of Market share. Market share will not increase if the general public thinks that the GS4 is superior in every way than any WP will ever be. No, I'm not stuck on specs to the degree that I think 8 core processors are necessary for a great experience, but I do know that you can't be competitive by telling consumers that they don't need things that other platforms have to offer... That is not the way to be competitive. Yes, its a shame that this has turned into a spec war, but WP has now has no choice but to fight in this war or always be considered not as powerful as Android devices. Sorry, but that's the reality, and that's the way it is... And, if Nokia came out with a 8core device tomorrow you, me, and everyone here would jump on it like white on rice. You know its true so let's not say that specs aren't appealing to even us.. High specs aren't the only thing that matters, but they are exciting, and nice to have.. We bragged about how innovative the L920 was compared to the competition,, now the competition is being innovative and you guys are saying that we don't need that. Sounds like some of us are being hypocritical, and sore losers.....
  • Windows phone does not need ultra high specs.
  • Good bye battery life...@_@
  • This fall Windows Phone update "Blue" or WP9? with new hardware....Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 series (MSM8974), 5" 1080p display's, 2GB RAM etc etc... - Lumia 940
    - ATIV S2
    - HD8
    - W3
  • So if a Lumia (any one of 'em) can actually run as smooth, and glitch-free than a GS4, if not better does it still need that stuff? And for that matter does the iphone "need" that as well?
  • Yes, in order to be recognized as a high end device in the average consumers eyes when they are in the store ready to purchase a device. They don't read about how efficient WP is compared to Android and all they have is the stupid sales associates opinion to go by. Its all about market share and awareness. So, yes WP needs this to to be competitive and sale more devices to the average consumer.
  • Sorry, but I really don't agree with that at all. I'm not sure you realize who the average smart phone buyer is, but its not people like you and me who bother to check and speak on sites like this. The average consumer does not know about that stuff, let alone about that stuff at all. Maybe with the exception of screen size.
    Keep in mind that although android outsells ios as a whole, there is not one single android device, despite all the stuff packed in that comes close to selling as much. Why? People don't care.
    I mean look how long it takes iPhone to "compete" with the high end android devices, and people still don't care. They talk about the 'retina display' because apple commercials tell them to. Android sells as well as it does because of market saturation and the fact that carriers are pushing them so hard. Just walk into any carrier store and you are getting hammered with android devices as soon as you walk un the door. Specs don't make THE difference like people want them to.
    If carriers pushed WP devices like they do android this wouldn't be a discussion at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm a WP fan but I'm not an apologist... I'm not saying "we don't need that stuff until Microsoft says we need it". I am saying its a damn shame the GS4 has all that stuff in it and when it comes down to it, it will not perform better than a 920.
    Truthfully I'm not even sure the average buyer even recognizes devices as "high end". IMO its the tech writers and sites that determine that stuff.
  • One does not simply compare the 920's innovation to anything else. Got it?
    1080p screen with 2GB RAM is NOT innovation. Nothing blows my 920 out of the water, yet. Its still got the best camera overall, the fastest browser, great microphones, some fancy screen features that I never needed to use, brilliant OIS, free music downloads, a pretty UI, wireless charging, beautiful build. 
    Nokia doesnt need to top anything. I hope they dont lost in the spec war. People like you need to open up their eyes though. Realise that experience is what matters, not specfications.
    While I partially agree with you on specifiactons, it'd be much better to have bettter GPU's on WP devices than more CPU power. Something like an Adreno 320 or so. But I believe they are coming in the next wave of WP devices. So stop panicking buddy. And it'd be better if the app situation is improved rather than getting lost in a meaningless war with the droids out there.
  • If you read my reply above you would see that I don't care about specs as much as experience.. My point is that the average consumer does, and to appeal to a larger audience you have to be competitive. My eyes are open fool. Why do you think I use WP? Its all about MS gaining market share at this point, and they have no choice but to be competitive. No, I don't personally care if WP has 8 cores, but the average consumer has been brain washed into thinking that a phone does.. Everyone doesn't read WPCentral dude.. Maybe you need to open your eyes.
  • This battle vs android can never be won playing by their rules. The spec war has got to stop.
    Why do people not worry too much about the innards of the Iphone?
    Its because the device performs so well that the question of peeking into its harware specifications hardly arises. Thats more the case with WP, which is arguably the smoothest OS out there. So the better strategy here would be to mimic Apple and sell an experience and not just a super-specced device.
  • Yes it is better...for christ sakes lets quit whinnig about the specs already. 8 cores in a phone just to call, text and do some "smart" things? And some of us call it inovation! IMO WP8 or Nokia and Htc don't need to follow the crowd.
    Microsoft and Nokia should plug ALL holes in the WP8, make it more secure, bring in more real innovative features(increasing the number of cores or screen ppi for each release in not innovation), get the big missing names in the app store, upate it's own apps to ehance productivity, optimizing further the whole OS experience to improve battery life and market the sh*t out of there phones BASED ON THESE FEATURES.
    They should also MAKE THE DEVICE AVAILABLE AT LAUNCH, get it on more carriers and market these devices. Majority of the consumers don't care about specs, they just want a smart phone that is simple to use and do real smart stuff well. Playing catch up with the android gang is not the way to go...focus on your strenght and play on the weakness of your opponents.
    At this rate, I am waiting to see what the SGS5 (or whatever they choose to call it) will bring to the party...16 cores or more cores maybe and then everyone drools and goes nuts, starts whinnig and forgets the distinctive features that drew them to WP8 in the first place.
  • I can agree with that.. Just for the record, I'm not saying that I personally think WP needs higher specs to perform better. My comment is about market share and selling devices.. The things you said are true though, and I believe them. Its just that MS/Nokia need to play both sides of the field.
  • How do you not recognize that Windows Phone does not need 8 Cores to be just as smooth. You need a reality check. I tackle this topic all the time when people bring up specs and make them realize that windows phone OS is not as bloated as Android and doesn't need four cores. I tell them if they are buying an android don't buy nothing less then 4 cores otherwise expect lag and bad performance but I also tell them that more cores equal faster battery drainage. I love it when Android users and Iphone users tell me that they have to keep killing apps because it drains their battery and I tell them I don't have to manage this or even think about it because Windows Phone suspends apps in the background and will only hold information for the last 8 apps. Don't get fooled by the smoke and Mirrors dude. I know this because I have an Android device as well.
  • Me not recognize that WP doesn't need 8 cores?? Lol! You've got me all wrong.. Read my reply's above dude.
  • Nokia said it themselves when they released the 920. They could have put more cores but for what, to cause your battery to drain faster. 1080p Screen, can someone really tell me if this really makes a big difference on these tiny phone screens over 720p or is it BS? When I first bought a HDTV I was disappointed when I get home hooked up my cable and the image looked like garbage. I then realized I needed a HD cable box. That was for my first 42". I later bought a 32" for my bedroom and I hooked up the SD cable box and it looked great. I didn't need to upgrade because standard definition stretched properly across my screen compared to the distortion on my 42". Does a 4.5 inch screen really need 1080p? They all still record in 720p. Does Microsoft really need to follow to get the uneducated to buy their phones? Their is a joy to the simplicity of Windows Phone over Android. If you want to manage your phone all day and create a chore get an Android if you want do just use a phone and it's smart enough to looks after all the nitty gritty in the background for you without the headache then get a Windows Phone.
  • S4 does NOT have an octo core processor!!!! It has 2 seperate quad cores that DONT work together. It will switch between the faster quad core and the lower powered one when it needs to to conserve power. So to recap it has a dual quad cores that cannot be combined to run as 8 octo core
  • ^this!!!
  • Slick bit of marketing on sammie's part, didn't the HTC Droid DNA do it first? WP on quad core Qualcomm will eat alive anything on android
  • Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 series will be the new King of low power SoC WP...this fall.
  • More info please...
  • Quad-Core Snapdragon 800 series:
  • Windows phone does not need ultra high specs. Yeah.
  • ^Very true...but they will have new hardware this fall!
  • HTC One looks much better and has all the specs u should ever ask from a phone geeeeez. Thats only if you insist on discussing this android nonsense ;)
  • HTC HD8
  • Cold Game, can't wait until Windows Phone get the apps to compete with the competition!
  • The GS4 only runs 4 cores at a time. Read up on the processor!
    4 cores for active duty, and 4 cores for standby duty. But normal people will only see the 8 cores numbers in the ads.
    So Nokia should make a phone with 28 cores. 2 who actually do something and 26 cores that does nothing!
  • Hey, if it sells phones, right??
  • +1
  • +1
  • I still love nokia lumia
  • I still love my Samsung ATIV S!
  • Smartphones aren't smart in the sense that they have any intelligence. Apart from slicker UIs and nice features we are still using glorified PDAs. I want a phone that learns your routine, tailors the interface to what you do most. Samsung seems to be trying to do clever things, but they are all completely dumb and don't solve any problem people have ever thought about. Give me a phone that tells me about good offers when I'm shopping. Or warns me about bad traffic when I'm about to drive home. None of these things should require configuration or entering data, it should be automatic.
  • I believe this exists in the form of Google Now
  • so what if S4 runs on dual quad cores? would specs really matter that much? as if youll be going to utilize their full capacity every single day... ha.
    seriously? it does still look cheap to me.
  • I think the way Android and Apple throws gimmicks and higher specs that the consumers won't ever really need is to sell phones to uninformed people that's why people like me have the task of making sure our love ones don't buy into the bullshit right now im helping my sister pick a new android phone and it's gonna be between htc one and sg4 yes i wish all my family would hop on over to WP but they aren't like me i need a unique Os they just need something they're familiar with that has a huge number of apps free apps to be more specific the normal consumer doesn't care as much as i do about supporting app developers I sadly don't know too many Android users who buy apps I do know some who will even hack to get paid ones free but hey I've gone off topic ...
  • In regards to spec wars, I think Apple has proven that experience trumps specs (for most part). iPhone lagged behind most flagship Android phones for forever, and yet continued to outsell everyone. Why? Apple built a quality and comfortable, smooth experience for users to come to. Android? Even with high specs, laggy and varied experiences. WP8 is currently building that base experience without the need of ridiculous specs to run. The onus is on manufacturers to differentiate (I.e. Nokia's cameras, HTC audio, etc.). Its certainly going to be interesting next couple of years to see how landscape unfolds.
  • Phuck specs. Droids suck. Period
  • Own a L920 for about 3 month..getting fed up with random reboot,stuck,apps crash etc etc..maybe what WP8 need not a fancy phone spec..but update to make this os more stable.havent received the portico update though in my country
  • I don't think most people know or care about specs at all. I'm a tech support guy and my staff only cares about the brand. They hear what their friends have, what's most popular and that's their decision process. Windows has a bad rep, both phones and OS. Windows still has the blue-screen stigma, WP has a rep for no apps. Most people don't see a difference between the two so use what they know to say, I'm getting an iPhone or Droid. Samsung gets the nod because it's pretty or "my friend said...". Microsoft has a ways to go to turn their rep around and Nokia needs to help MS to help themselves. /soapbox MS needs to drop their relationship with Samsung. It's doing them harm. /soapbox
  • I would not change my ATIV S for a iCrap or Droid ever! The only Smartphone I would trade my ATIV S for is the next generation ATIV S2 :)
  • Wait a second guys, news just in............decacore!!