Can the Samsung Nexus Prime Compete with the iPhone 4S?

As it stands, we sit about a week out from Samsung and Google’s event at CTIA San Diego where the companies will presumably announce the next version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, and a new Nexus device made by Samsung, a device that might be called the Samsung Nexus Prime. Details at this point are scarce but we did see what we believe to be the first photo of the Nexus Prime show up today.

But guess what?

Very few people saw it and that’s because at today’s “Talk iPhone” event, Apple announced a brand new iPhone called the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S’ launch couldn’t come at a worse time for Google and Samsung.

Pre-orders start this Friday, October 7th, and the device is going to go on sale on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon starting October 14th. In addition, Apple plans on pushing iOS 5 out on October 12th.

That means that whatever Google is announcing at CTIA on October 11th is going to be sandwiched in between iPhone 4S and iOS 5 buzz. And the buzz is just one enemy that Samsung and Google are going to be facing.

There is also a ton of anticipation and thus, high expectations in the Android community for this operating system and this new Nexus especially with the progress we’ve seen this year in terms of 4G LTE and hardware. I mean, we’re on the verge of quad-core powered phones here folks.

This is an uphill fight, no matter how you slice it. Apple launched first which puts the pressure on Google and Samsung to deliver a proper competitor to the iPhone 4S at CTIA. But what will the Nexus Prime need to compete with iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S?

Here are a few.


The Nexus Prime? Maybe.

The iPhone 4S will not have true 4G on board. Instead, it will have support for HSPA at 14.4 Mbps which won’t even be available on Sprint or Verizon. The Sprint and Verizon iPhone 4S’ will be limited to CDMA’s 3G EVDO while AT&T’s HSPDA network will likely never allow iPhone 4S users to achieve those sorts of data speeds.

That leaves a big void for the Nexus Prime to fill. It not only has the chance to be the first device with Google’s Android Ice Cream Sandwich but it also has the chance to be the first Android Ice Cream Sandwich device with 4G LTE.

That alone puts it above the Motorola Droid Bionic and to some people, above the iPhone 4S.

4G LTE is a trump card that Google, Samsung and the carriers absolutely need to play here if they want the Nexus to compete with the iPhone 4S. If it doesn’t have 4G LTE  on either AT&T or Verizon, not only will Android fans be disappointed but those on the fence between a Nexus and iPhone 4S surely will be as well.

Competitive Pricing

Apple announced three different iPhone 4S models. We have the 16GB priced at $199, 32GB at $299 and the massive 64GB model with a price tag of $399. If Google, Samsung and the carriers were smart, they would, at the very least, price the Nexus Prime like the iPhone 4S.

If they were smarter than smart, they would undercut the price of the iPhone 4S. Maybe by $50 or so.

Verizon and AT&T will have to play along though and thus far, neither of them have. AT&T released a 4G LTE tablet with an absurd price and Verizon is still asking for $300 for the Motorola Droid Bionic even though retailers have dropped it down to $150.

Why not just start the Nexus at $150? If it costs $300 at launch, it will be there in a few weeks anyway.

Killer Software

If you followed the Apple announcement at all, you would know that Apple unveiled something called Siri Assistant that will be coming exclusively to the iPhone 4S along with the hundreds of other features found in iOS 5. Not familiar with Siri? In a nutshell, it’s a powerful voice command tool that allows you to say things like “What’s the current weather like?” or “Set an alarm for 8am” and get the proper results.

All without lifting a finger.

For most, this is the main attractive of the iPhone 4S. Not the dual-core processor and not the massively upgraded camera. And guess what? Apple has it right here.

It had great hardware in the iPhone 4 and it made that hardware better. It also, and remember this was the focus of WWDC 11, developed fantastic software to go along with that hardware and that puts an enormous amount of pressure on Google to deliver with Ice Cream Sandwich on the Nexus Prime.

Right now, the details of ICS remain shrouded in mystery. We have bits and pieces but there is nothing at this point that stands out to the average user and that is who the Nexus Prime needs to lure in order to compete.

Oh, and it would probably help if it was able to get it to its phones shortly after announcing it instead of months or a year after the fact. In fact, if Google wants to keep up ahead of iOS 5, Android Ice Cream Sandwich needs to hit recently released devices in a timely manner.

Inspired Marketing

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Marketing is a driving force behind smartphone sales. We’ve seen how bad Verizon’s 4G LTE/Droid Bionic campaign has been and I would definitely say that it has a direct correlation to the phone’s mediocre sales. Verizon failed it. It has proven that it has no idea how to market 4G LTE to the average consumer and it rehashed the same old robot ads from its previous Droid campaigns but somehow managed to blunder those as well.

Here’s a novel idea.

How about Google and Samsung market the Nexus Prime? Samsung has proven that it has the ability to put out high quality advertisements and Google is an advertising company.

How about we get a pre-launch teaser to get folks excited and try to kill off some of the iPhone buzz? Instead of talking Ghz and Mbps, show consumers what they can do in an a way people can relate to instead of pretending we all attend rooftop parties and fight robots in our downtime.

Why not go all out for a phone that deserves it?

Here we are a week away from the probable announcement and the only people that know about the phone are geeks who write about phones for a living and those that are Android enthusiasts.

I don’t get it. Apple seems to though.

I really do think that the Nexus Prime can compete if all four of these elements are executed successfully, not one of them, all of them. Sadly, I just don’t see that happening. I see the Nexus Prime thrilling Android enthusiasts only to hit the bargain bin like every other Android flagship a month or two after launch.

I hope Google and Samsung prove me wrong.