NEW YORK, USA – Samsung has unveiled the highly-anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4, with a 5″ full HD display, dual video call, Air View, Air Gesture, Smart Pause and Smart Stay.
Building on the successful Galaxy S III, which has accumulated over 30 million sales worldwide, the South Korean manufacturer has committed to launch the device on 327 network operators in 155 countries from the end of April. For this reason, the phone has 4G LTE hexa-band compatibility supporting speeds of up to 100 mbps, and HSPA+ connectivity for downstream speeds of up to 42 Mbps.
The networks are hardly the Galaxy S4′s highlights: Samsung has bundled in a taller 4.99″ full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED display with 441 ppi pixel density, a 13 megapixel back and 2 megapixel front BSI cameras with zero shutter lag and full HD video recording, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, GPS and GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, MHL 2.0 and even Infrared.
The company has taken the performance of the smartphone to the next level with 2GB LPDDR3 RAM, and depending on the region, either a 1.6 GHz Exynos 5 8-core processor or a 1.9 GHz quad-core CPU – potentially the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600. These variants will be further divided into 16, 32 and 64 GB in storage capacity, with additional support for microSD memory cards, and a starting colour offering of Black Mist and White Frost, with more coming later this year – all enclosed with a thickness of just 7.9 mm, a weight of 130 g, and with a 2600 mAh battery providing it the power it needs, an improvement from the S III’s 2100 mAh.
Samsung has greatly improved its software, in order to counter threats from the HTC One, which brings HTC Zoe, BlinkFeed and the Ultrapixel camera technology. The Galaxy S4 does, therefore, carry Dual Camera technology, allowing users to record from the front and rear cameras at the same time, so that both user and subject are captured – this includes several options to configure the sizes of each view and frames; and it is extended to video calls, where video call recipients can see the user and whatever the device could be filming; sound is now also stored with pictures, as to remind users of the environment of when the image was captured; these pictures can be inserted in a Story Album, where they’ll be categorized in a time-line and delivered as an offline photo album.
An innovative function shipped with the handset is Group Play, with which users can share multimedia, other files and even games without Wi-Fi or network connectivity. Music can be shared so that it is played simultaneously across different phones, and these devices can be configured in such a way as to create a 5.1 surround sound environment.
While Google Translate is widely used on the internet, it is not available offline, where it might otherwise be needed by travellers. Samsung’s S Translator is an offline app that can translate text and voice found in emails, text messages and on the Chat ON application, from speech to text and vice-versa. There are no mentions of an API which developers could use to interact with this feature for their apps.
As rumoured, Smart Pause and Smart Scroll are now official, and these detect the user’s eyes and pause video when not looking at the phone, or scroll pages according to the movement of the eyes, respectively. The latter can also be controlled by tilting the handset.
Air View is likely to be one of the more impressive technologies in the Samsung Galaxy S4 – by simply hovering the screen, one may preview emails, the S Planner, image gallery or videos without actually touching the phone. Air Gesture supplements this by detecting fingers over the screen in order to change music tracks, scrolling web pages or simply accepting calls.
Samsung’s competitor to Siri, S Voice, has been improved with the addition of S Voice Drive, ideal to control the handset while on the road. The device turns automatically to this mode when it is connected to a car via Bluetooth, and even goes to the point of voicing messages when these are received.
The Infrared unit has made its way back to smartphones, in this case for Samsung WatchON, where it controls a plethora of machines, such as TVs and the air conditioner, just like on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Temperature and humidity sensors that already come with the S4 can be supplemented by a range of health accessories, such as a blood-sugar sensor, purposely developed for sports by Samsung itself, whereas for other manufacturers, users have to browse third-party companies.
Lastly, the Samsung Galaxy S4 takes business use into account, therefore integrating Samsung KNOX, an enterprise security feature ideal for companies that adopt BYOD and need security policies for this same function, making the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean smartphone suitable for all kinds of users.