By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK — Although Samsung may not have quite the rabid following as Apple (yet), the introduction of the Galaxy S4 earlier this month marked a noticeable increase in the timeline for accompanying Android accessories.
In the past, Android smartphone accessories have played somewhat of a forgotten stepchild role, with just a few selections offered for each device vs. the overwhelming waterfall of Apple-compatible attachments. This was not the case with the S4, which had an iPhonelike ripple effect of protective cases and devices being announced within hours of its unveiling.
Samsung also released its own branded accessories for the phone, including a blood-pressure monitor and a gamepad controller.
TWICE has rounded up some of the most recent introductions, many of which are scheduled to be available with the S4 at the end of April.
Samsung unveiled several of the products during its S4 launch event, all designed to specifically enhance some of the smartphone’s new features. The S Band is a waterproof biometric bracelet that syncs with the Shealth 2.0 app preloaded on the S4. It tracks, among many things, steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled and sleep patterns.
Samsung is also offering an S-health blood-pressure monitor, an arm-strap heart-rate monitor (that also works with popular running apps), and a Bluetooth body scale. The S-health app can support up to seven different users in a household.
Wireless charging for the S4 is available with an addon backplate receiver and pad. Samsung did not disclose whether any wireless charging capability is built into the phone.
For gamers, the Game Pad fits around the S4 and mimics an Xbox controller with dual analog sticks, shoulder keys and action buttons. It features one-touch Bluetooth pairing via nearfield communication technology.
Also available: protective cases, stereo ear buds with on-cord phone control and a flat cable for fewer tangles, and an extra 2,600 mAh Samsung factory battery with included charging base. Pricing and availability weren’t finalized at press time.
Belkin unveiled 11 cases for the S4, all of which will be available in April. The Sartorial wristlet case ($39.99 suggested retail) has a removable wrist strap, embossed woven material, tab closure, microfiber inner lining and inner pockets. Access to all controls, ports and cameras is provided.
Belkin also announced it will have a Micra Glam Matte polycarbonate case, which features a scratch-resistant form-fitting design, metallic finish, camera cutouts and a $29.99 price tag.
BuQu Tech said it will offer S4 versions of its Magnetyze line of magnetic-enabled cases and charging accessories. The two-part Magnetyze protective charging case is designed to protect the S4 from everyday wear and tear, and charge the smartphone by attaching it to the company’s charging desk stand, car charger or wall charger. The magnetic connection holds the phone in place, BuQu said, and it has 360-degree rotation.
The Magnetyze extended-battery case has the same magnetic charging features as the protective case, but also adds an automatic charging function meant to eliminate the need for an on/off switch.
A company spokeswoman said the planned price point is $59.99 and will include the Galaxy S4 case and magnetic charging cable. Shipping is scheduled for early May.
Cygnett will have a range of cases for the new smartphone, including its Form hard cases for $19.99. Offered in a variety of high-gloss colors — Sapphire Blue, Ruby Pink, Onyx Black, Diamond White and Emerald Green — the snap-on cases feature a rubberized finish.
Case-Mate announced several high-end cases, including a Crafted Woods case with polished wood and brushed aluminum. The case is said to be inspired by the interiors of vintage cars. Suggested retail will be $80.
The Genuine Mother of Pearl case has Mother of Pearl harvested from mollusks, Case-Mate said, while the Gemstones case is made from genuine turquoise and gold brushed-aluminum. Both will carry $150 suggested retails.
Case-Mate will also launch S4-compatible products under its Vaja brand. The Nuova Pelle wraps the phone in vegetable-tanned Bridge leather ($80), while the iVolution Grip ($90) has pebble-textured Floater leather and provides full access to the controls and cameras.
These cases, and the rest that the company has planned for the S4, will be available April 26.
Griffin Technology said a number of its cases will be available, including the Military-Duty case, billed as the company’s most protective model. The polycarbonate case is reportedly able to meet or exceed the U.S. Department of Defense Standard 810G, and is dirt, sand, rain, shock and vibration resistant. It will be sold in three colors for $49.99.
The company’s Survivor Skin cases can also pass military standards, Griffin said, but are designed to be slimmer and have a lower price ($19.99). They will come in black, pink or blue.
Also available will be the Reveal cases with slim rubber edges and a hard-shell design ($24.99) and the Midtown Wallet case with a flip-open folio ($44.99). All of Griffin’s cases will be available in June.
iLuv said it took consumer feedback into consideration for its S4 cases, and the company announced no fewer than eight products will be available for the smartphone. The Jstyle leather wallet case can hold four credit cards, as well as cash and an ID. Access to all controls and cameras is provided.
iLuv also unveiled two other wallet cases: the Diary, which has a shell that holds the S4 as well as cards and money, and the Modena with a snap-shut closure. Both are leather.
The FlightFit is a dual-layer case that comes in three colors, and the Bolster has a soft cover that duplicates as a fold-back stand.
The company will also have its Snoopy hard-shell and Gelato flexible cases, as well as protective film kits. Pricing for these products will range from $14.99 to $89.99.
Otterbox said it would have versions of its Defender, Commuter and Reflex cases for the newest Galaxy. The Defender is a hard composite, element-sealed shell offering the company’s highest level of protection. The case incorporates a screen protector for the 5-inch 1080p display. Retails will range from $49.95 to $59.95.
The mid-range Commuter’s thin polycarbonate plastic outer shell adds a layer of silicone and a separate screen protection film. It will retail for $34.95.
The Reflex has the slimmest profile of the company’s three S4 cases, with a two-piece sliding design that fits around the phone. It will retail for $34.95.
Proporta added its British flavor to the S4 mix, unveiling a genuine leather case with aluminum lining ($39.95), a leather-style flip case ($33.95) for whole phone protection, as well as hard back shell adorned with the Union Jack ($19.95).
X-Doria has extended three of its lines to the S4.
The Dash Folio has a protective leather-like exterior with a multi-position stand and magnetic on/off closure.
The Dash Icon combines textured fabrics and raised 3D puff prints with a polycarbonate inner shell, in in herringbone blue, Navy Dots and Birds.
The Engage Form Vector features a matte finish contrasted with the 3D effect of raised angular vector designs, and is offered in blue, pink and silver.
All three models retail for $29.99.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.