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April 24, 2013

Samsung Executive: More Rugged Galaxy S4 Coming Soon

Earlier this week at a press conference in Dubai, Samsung Gulf Electronics President Young Soo Kim, alluded to an upcoming version of the Galaxy S4 that would be water and dust resistant. Samsung is currently powering the standard version of the Galaxy S4 that doesn’t encompass any special dust or water protection to markets around the world.

Although the company has not formally announced any upcoming ruggedized versions of the Galaxy S4, details and specifications of how such a phone would compare feature-wise to the standard version or how resistant it would be to the elements are unknown at the moment. Depending on one's point of view, Kim's remarks are either a slip of the tongue or a deliberate 'pre-announcement.'

Regardless of Kim's intentions, Samsung clearly had to respond to the introduction of other rugged phones to the ultra competitive smartphone market.

The prevailing leader in the Android rugged phone market is Sony's Xperia Z. Its glass display is both scratch and shatter resistant. The phone is also water-jet resistant and can be immersed in one meter of water for 30 minutes.

Another rugged phone is the Kyocera Torque, which can survive drops of five feet, nine inches and can also be immersed in one meter of water for 30 minutes.

One of the concerns that critics of rugged phones have is that consumers are forced to pick between durability and functionality. The Torque has received less than stellar reviews for its features, especially the built-in camera.

Samsung fans are going to have similar concerns with any ruggedized version of the Galaxy S4. If consumers can't have their cake and eat it too when it comes to making phones rugged, then what will the implications be for a toughened Galaxy S4? Will it have fewer features than the standard version or just as many? If the latter, then will the rugged version be cost-prohibitive and clunky or will it be good competition for the Xperia Z?

For now, we will just have to wait and see.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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