Samsung's New Phone Isn't Just a Shot at Apple


Samsung turned heads during last week's Samsung Unpacked event.

Everyone seems to be wondering how the new Samsung Galaxy S4 will eat into Apple iPhone sales when the high-end smartphone hits the market by the end of next month. However, it's not just Apple that will be challenged by Samsung's bar-raising device.

Let's go over three publicly traded companies that may also be in the crosshairs when it comes to Samsung's new phone.

The sultan of swoosh would seem to be an odd target for a South Korean smartphone maker, but have you seen the new Galaxy's fitness features?

S Health is a major component of the new handset. The S4 comes with a pedometer, counting the steps taken in order to track someone's active lifestyle. Ambient temperature and humidity is also tracked for an accurate fitness read, and an updated app includes food nutrition information.

There are plenty of third-party accessories and devices -- from scales to heart-rate monitors -- that will play nicely with S Health. There is also the S Band bracelet that can track movements for those who aren't always carrying around their phones.

This is a full-on attack on Fitbit and Jawbone UP, but it's also a shot at Nike's FuelBand wellness bracelets and the whole NikeFuel ecosystem.

Nike bulls will argue that the branded athletic footwear and apparel company is still a winner. Folks who are more conscious about their physical activities will go through more Nike shoes and sweat-wicking shirts. They have a point, but for now the challenge is for Samsung's S Health to establish itself as an important wellness brand.

Rosetta Stone
S Tranlsate is another feature of the new S4.

The device allows instant speech-to-text and text-to-speech translations in 10 different languages. The ability to translate emails or text messages is novel, but the ability to actually communicate with a local in a foreign country is where Rosetta Stone will feel the pinch.

Rosetta Stone succeeds in getting language learners to pay up for intensive courses, but some may argue that it won't be necessary when the S4 can do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Apple may be challenged by the S4's new features, but the timing of the announcement couldn't have been worse for BlackBerry.

Samsung's event was slated just as BlackBerry's two largest U.S. carriers began to take preorders for the new Z10 device that runs on the BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system. The smarpthone pioneer's new platform drew some critical praise, but it's not the Swiss Army Knife of smartphones that the S4 is shaping itself up to be.

Diehard BlackBerry fans are going to get the Z10 when it becomes available domestically, but those straddling the fence about buying now or waiting until a likely summertime release for Apple's next iPhone now have an even more current reason to reconsider with the S4 April rollout.

Beyond Nike, Rosetta Stone, and BlackBerry
The Galaxy S4 is a clear challenge to Apple, but it's not the only target.

Nike, Rosetta Stone, and BlackBerry aren't the only additional targets, either.

The new 13-megapixel camera will make it even harder for the makers of digital cameras to stand out. Smartphones no longer take crummy pictures, and Samsung's upping the quality. New photo and video features will make it harder for the makers of content authoring programs.

Nokia also can't be happy.

The Finland-based handset giant was starting to gain traction with its Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone. The nifty camera turned heads, and even though developer support for Windows Phone isn't as solid as Android and iOS, it's a better situation than BlackBerry is initially finding with BlackBerry 10.

The new S4 becomes the top alternative to the iPhone. Nokia and BlackBerry will be back to nibbling at the fringes of the market.

Samsung's new phone is taking shots at everybody.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple, Nike, and Rosetta Stone. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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