At a slightly kitschy Broadway-style event at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Samsung on Thursday officially lifted the curtain on the latest member of the storied Galaxy smartphone series: the octa-core Exynos 5-powered Galaxy S4.
With all due respect to the Korean electronics giant who was clearly trying to make its first smartphone unveiling on U.S. soil special, all the theatrics at today’s Unpacked 2013 event were not only tedious but unnecessary, as it had very little to tell us that we didn’t already know — what with an unrelenting deluge of rumors that continued until a few minutes before the official unveiling.
The intolerable theatrics aside, here are the specs Samsung confirmed today: 5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display, 1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor / 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor (to vary by market), Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), 2GB RAM, 16/32/64 GB internal storage, microSD support, 13MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE) and IR LED (Remote Control) and 2,600 mAh battery.
Granted, the Galaxy S4, with its powerful innards, 5-inch full HD display and 13MP camera, is without any doubt a better device than its predecessor, but it’s still nothing more than an evolutionary leap. With most devices sporting more or less similar specs and, thereby, finding it hard to stand out in an increasingly competitive smartphone market, the software is, in many ways, more important than the hardware. Thankfully, the latest Galaxy smartphone, which is scheduled to make its retail debut next month at an as yet undisclosed price, is not short on software innovations.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the phone’s software innovations (excerpted from the press release):
Dual Camera and Dual Video Call: When capturing moments, users can choose from a variety of frame effects which blend the two pictures naturally and also adjust the size of the small picture inside the big one. Users can select 8 different ways to combine the two photos taken by the front camera and the rear camera. At the same time, the 'Dual Video Call' function enables you to make and receive a video call with friends and family while showing what you are looking at during the call.
Story Album: Photos taken by the GALAXY S 4 are automatically gathered and sorted out according to your timeline, geo-tagging information, or a specific event to create a photo album.
Group Play: With its 'Group Play' function, users can enjoy music, photos, documents and games with those around them without even requiring a Wi-Fi AP or cellular signal. This innovative feature enables users to connect directly with others to share, play and co-create content and entertainment instantly. Its 'Share Music' option allows users to have the same song playing on multiple phones in sync to create the best party atmosphere.
S Translator: “The GALAXY S 4 brings all people closer together by breaking down language barriers. It makes international travel a joy, with '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.
Smart Pause and Smart Scroll: 'Samsung Smart Pause' enables you to control the screen by where you look. When you are watching a video, the video pauses when you look away then it starts right up again when you are back. 'Samsung 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 and Air Gesture: '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.