Samsung unveils new smartphone
S4 includes enhanced gesture controls and taps into mobile health trend
At a major event in New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Samsung president JK Shin showed off the company’s newest addition, describing it as a “companion for a richer, simpler life”.
Building on the lessons learned from the S3, the company said, the Samsung Galaxy S4 includes technology that allows users to scroll through images and web pages with a wave of their hand, answer calls by waving at the phone, erase unwanted moving objects from photos and pause videos as soon as you look away from the screen. Its translator function has been developed further and integrated into the phone’s software.
The S4 also taps into two ongoing trends in the smartphone market – larger screens, at 5 inches, and mobile health, with its new S4 applications and accessories.
But although the screen has increased it size, the phone itself has been slimmed down, coming in thinner and lighter than its predecessor. The new version shaves a little off its thickness, coming in at 7.9mm. It also weighs in a few grams lighter than the S3.
The Samsung S4 boasts an improved camera, with a 13 megapixel front facing camera, a 2 megapixel rear camera and the ability merge shots from both cameras into one.
The enhanced camera also allows you to identify and remove unwanted moving objects from your shot, and record sound clips to go with photos. Three way video calling and ability to share your screen with a caller has also been introduced.
“We have taken technology and innovation further to help us get closer to what matters in life,” Mr Shin said.
The S4 can also pair with other S4 handsets to enable a “group play” feature for both music and games.
The device, which run’s Android’s Jelly Bean software, will be available in 16GB, 32 GB and 64GB versions, with the ability to add a memory card to expand storage space further.
Samsung is planning a new range of accessories to work with the phone, from a smartcover that allows you to see alerts through a small window to a band that tracks movement, a weighing scales and a heart rate monitor.
Samsung has been planning the launch for some time, announcing the Unpacked event during last Month’s Mobile World Congress. But many of the new functions had already been leaked ahead of the unpacked event in New York, with a video appearing online that showcased many of the motion control gestures.
Seeking to steal thunder from his company's main competitor, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller downplayed the market-share gains of Samsung and other devices running Google ’s Android mobile software. Apple lures four times as many Android smartphone owners to buy iPhones as it loses to rivals, he said.
“Our products are innovative, and customers are buying them,” Mr Schiller said in an interview.
Data compiled by Bloomberg showed Samsung claimed 29 per cent of the global smartphone market in the last quarter of 2012. That compared with 21 per cent for Apple.
Additional reporting: Bloomberg