Expect the New Samsung Galaxy to Look Familiar
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
Don't expect a striking new look for Samsung's latest Galaxy smartphone.
The Korean company is scheduled to unveil its Galaxy S4 Thursday in New York City, but from a hardware standpoint, its likely most people won't be able to tell the difference between the new smartphone and its predecessor, the Galaxy SIII, said Tavis McCourt, a senior analyst for Raymond James.
(Read More: What to Expect From New Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone )
"One of the takeaways from this is just going to be that there is very little, in terms of differentiation, that you can still do on hardware in this space. The smartphone space is starting to be a lot like the laptop space in terms of the degree of differences in the hardware get less and less and really the differentiation is in software," McCourt said.
Many in the investment community scrutinized Apple for the iPhone 5 not being very different from the iPhone 4 in regards to its form factor. But Samsung's new smartphone is likely to awaken people to the fact that there is just not much more smartphone makers can do when it comes to changing the hardware of smartphones.
(Read More: Apple vs. Samsung—Size Matters: Blodget )
"I think people are going to start to realize that it's not just Apple," McCourt said. "I don't expect a lot of new bells and whistles to the Galaxy S4 relative to the Galaxy SIII. It will have a better processor, a better screen a better camera.. You know, in terms of getting things thinner and lighter, there's a limit to what you can do, and I think we are kind of there."
The next big leap in smartphone hardware will probably be bendable screens, but it won't be debuting until at least 2014, he said. It remains unclear how companies will incorporate bendable screens into smartphones and if it will appeal to consumers.
With the smartphone hardware being pushed to the limits, McCourt said that ultimately software will become the most important factor for consumers to consider when choosing a phone.
"This is the logical conclusion to the form factor that started in 2007. It's going to start to come down to well, do you want the iOS operating system or do you want the Android operating system," he said."I don't think there's going to be tremendous differentiation in hardware from this point forward."