Opening Up A New Galaxy
After all the usual bouts of fuss and hype, the endless rumors and leaks, the time has finally come for Samsung to take the wraps of the Galaxy S4 (or SIV depending on how you like your numerals). With its predecessor the S3 reported to have past 40 million sales at the beginning of the year, the new model has a lot to live up to.
At today's event at New York's Radio City Music Hall, interesting subtitled Episode 1, suggesting there are more to come, the specifications were confirmed as an Exynos 5410, 28 nanometre, CPU packing in eight cores running at 1.8GHz each. Alongside that is a mighty PowerVR SGX 544MP3 offering more grunt than any mobile device bar the iPad 4, spreading its pixels and polygons across a gorgeous 5-inch 1080p HD screen.
Inside there's 2GB main RAM, 16GB internal storage (up to 64GB depending on which model you buy) and further expansion via a MicroSD slot. Running the show is Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with a refined interface for a really smooth user experience. New sensors include temperature and humidity and health monitoring, but for traditionalists there's a 13 megapixel and 2 megapixel camera with a software twist for photo and video.
Software Sells Systems
These cameras can be used in sync in a mode called Dual Camera to allow the taker of a video or photo to appear in the shots as a thumbnail. its not quite pasting the person into the main scene, but that can't be far away. Sound can also be added to photos, adding to the moment.
But the hardware can only do so much, as we've seen in increasingly bland upgrades from most vendors. The software bolted onto the OS is what is attracting buyers these days and Samsung has brought a number of new tricks to the party (although ones shared by some rivals).
The new eye-tracking technology called SmartPause helps pause video when the users looks away from the screen. Smart Scroll will move the screen up or down just by looking in the appropriate direction. Alas, for Samsung, this was trumped yesterday by LG inclusion of a similar feature in the Optimus G Pro.
Then there's the ability to hover a finger above the screen and still interacting with the phone, say to preview items or change focus, which Sony already uses in some devices. Finally, there's the addition of the SwiftKey Android keyboard, which was the best selling Android app of 2012, so a logical inclusion, considering BlackBerry is touting its Z10's keyboard as one of the best and smartest out there.
Samsung Knox was mentioned as offering enterprise-level security while there is also a feature called Group Play to play the same song among your friends, wherever they happen to be, to create ad hoc listening parties.
Billed as the device to be your life companion, the phone will be coming to 155 countries, launching at the end of April with 3G and 4G models. Expect more details soon as the press releases filter out.