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Friday, March 15, 2013

Samsung Unpacks the Galaxy S4


I just finished watching the livestream of the unveiling of Samsung's 2013 version of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4.  All I can say is that the company really went all out in presenting its new gadget in a, ummm, big way at the Radio City Hall in New York City.

Let me give you the important details first - the specs of the new phone.   The key specs include a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080p HD resolution, an Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor in the international version and a quad-core Snapdragon chipset in the U.S. version, a 13-megapixel rear camera, up to 64GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, microSDXC support and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the latest available version of Google’s mobile platform. 

JK Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung claims that  "All the innovative features of GALAXY S 4 were developed based on the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world."

So what are these innovative features? For one, the Galaxy 4S sports a new 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2-megapixel front camera.  It also has a dual camera mode, which allows you to use both cameras at the same time.  A dual video mode also allows you to speak with somebody in a video call while showing him or her what you are looking at.

When Samsung said that this new phone will connect people even more, they weren't only talking about the support for up to 6 different band sets which allows it to function in most LTE coverage areas as well as enabling global LTE roaming.  It also meant to say about the  'S Translator' which provides instant translation, using text or voice translation on applications including email, text message and ChatON. This instant translation is possible both from speech to text and text to speech and ensures that you can rely on the correct information whilst abroad.

Based on the presentation this morning, it appears that the best features of Samsung Galaxy 4S are not in the hardware but in the applications.  It still runs on Android, particularly 4.2.2,  but added some new features.

One is the Smart Pause which lets you control the screen by where you look.  The feature stops and starts video based on whether or not you’re looking at the screen.  Now before you jump and down thinking that you can control it with your eyes, it seemed that the phone detects the movement of your head; whether you are facing the camera or looking somewhere else.  Similarly, the Smart Scroll allows you to scroll the browser or emails up and down without touching the screen. It recognizes your face looking at the screen and movement of your wrist and then scroll the pages up or down accordingly.

Air View allows users to hover with their fingers to preview the content of an email, S Planner, image gallery or video without having to open it. You can even see a magnified view on the internet browser, or a phone number saved in the speed dial on the keypad. With 'Air Gesture', you can change the music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with a wave of your hand.

As I've said earlier, Samsung put on quite a show which included a tap dancing boy who took almost 20 minutes before showing off the new phone and a group of bridesmaids who danced to show the other features of the phone. But it seemed that they forgot to include some very important details: the price and the availability of the S4.  The online buzz is rife with speculation that it will come out in April in the US with the major telecom companies carrying it.

Well, I hope Pinoy Samsung fanboys won't have to wait longer to get your hands on this new gadget.

photos from online sources.

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