It's good to take a look back sometimes. The mobile business moves ridiculously fast. It has its hits. It has its misses. Sometimes it has both simultaneously.
I can't say I'm a theater connoisseur. Haven't been to enough shows to get anywhere near calling myself a critic. Is it good theater? Is it bad? I dunno. I do think you generally have to take it with a bit of a nod and a wink. Working on the stage means over emphasizing. Expressions and emotions have to reach folks in the back row. And there was a pretty big difference in watching Thursday night's night's Samsung Galaxy S4 event at Radio City Music Hall from the fourth row than when I watched it again today on YouTube, with multiple camera angles and close-ups. (It also makes a big difference when you watch it instead of work it.)
But I couldn't help think that we'd seen a bit of this before.
I'm also not going to wade too deep into the torrent that is outcries of sexism or misogyny. I'm not dumb enough to tell people what they should be offended by. If the stereotypes portrayed in the presentation offended you, by all means speak up. Maybe it was outright offensive. Maybe it just wasn't the best theater in the world. Maybe it was a bit of both.
What I kept flashing back to, though, was the original Samsung Galaxy S presentation in 2010 at CTIA in Las Vegas. Controversial content this year notwithstanding, the parallels are tough to miss. That event in Vegas marked the birth of S Life, with actors walking us through how the new features would fit into your life. Your new S Life. Now? The Galaxy S4 is your "Life Companion."
Fast forward a few years. The Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 events (in Barcelona in 2011 and London in 2012) were lighter on the storytelling. This year, though, everything old was new again.
Some folks have made a big deal about how little the word "Android" was mentioned. As we've said any number of times here, once the manufacturers do their thing, you cease to have an "Android" device and instead have a "Samsung device that runs Android." A "TouchWiz device," if you will. Or an "HTC Sense" phone that runs Android. I'm OK with that. Android is an embedded operating system. The manufacturers are doing exactly what they were intended to do.
But in watching the 2010 presentation followed by the 2013 event, it's also interesting to see just how many Google services have been supplanted by Samsung's own. Have a look.
Samsung Galaxy S presentation (2010)
This was shot by yours truly from the second row.