I stayed up late (I live in the UK) to watch the Samsung Galaxy S4 release from the glitzy Radio City Music Hall in New York. I was not disappointed with the new device, but I was bored out my mind with the release show. Listen up vendors - putting big lights out and counting down 5,4,3,2,1 not once but twice to release the same device does not created a sales frenzy among the audience. And using little kids to try and make it cute does not inspire me to buy one. It just looks desperate. Next time, show us nice, clear pictures of the device and tell us clearly what it does.
The release had a massively over produced 'Broadway' style show with cars on stage, a 3 story building that came up from the floor, dancers, singers and "acting". I am pleased to share that there was a certain amount of tongue in cheek and a clear attempt to laugh at itself. However, it was really hard to stay awake and hear about the new smartphone.
Roughly every 10 minutes this elaborate show managed to share a key fact, minus any real detail. They did a great job of selling a couple of features that appeared to be existing Google Android features instead of specifically Samsung. These included the S Voice Drive and S Translator (aka Google Translate).
So is the new Galaxy S4 worth looking at? Does it manage to innovate? Or is it the same as the S3. Well it is styled like the S3? But it is a powerful new device with some nice new innovations, they may turn out to be useless gimmicks but thats for the consumer to decide.
As you would expect it is 4G, it comes with 16/32/64 GB of internal storage and you can get it black or white. It got a great 5 inch screen, full HD Super AMOLED with a full 1080p resolution that runs a 441 ppi - this is going to be a one very crisp display.
There is some real power under the hood, it has a 1.6GHz Octa-Core processor. That means 8 cores depending which market your in, in some countries it will ship with a 1.9 GHz Quad Core. It is running Android 4.2.2 OS - Jelly Bean, with the Samsung UI tweaks.
The new camera received a lot of attention, not only because it has a 13 mega pixel display but the software has some new features:
- Dual shot, where the person taking the photo can be in the shot using the front camera.
- Sound & Shot that has 5 seconds of audio recording and a picture.
- Drama Shot that capture 100 shots in 12 seconds and composes them into one frame.
- Story Album which sorts pictures and geo-tags.
I was more interested in trying out the new Air View, Air Gesture and Smart Scroll, than taking photos of myself taking picture of others. The Smart Scroll uses eye tracking to scroll the page and can lock the screen when you look away. This might be a major breakthrough in mobile UX, or it might be an expensive gimmick that is unusable and annoying.
The new device been targeted at being your "life companion" with a assemble of accessories including Samsung Hub (a set top TV box) and S Health (measuring heart rate etc). And at the same time is targeted at the security focused enterprise IT market with a new system called Knox that competes with the Blackberry enterprise infrastructure.
Overall it looks like Samsung have all angles covered to make this device perfect for you and the firm you work for. It will be released globally with 327 operators on 26th April. There was no official price announce but expect the device sim free to be around £470.