Mar 15, 2013
Samsung’s back with the brand new Galaxy S IV, their new flagship smartphone, announced at Samsung Unpacked on March 14th. Here’s the important details.
Visually, the phone is quite similar to its predecessor, offering what seems to be a similar plasticky design along with many of the same visual cues that influenced the S3 design. Samsung has been on a major push to make a ‘look’ for their devices as seen especially by the similar-looking Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 2, and even Galaxy Tab 8.0, all with their curved design and that half-block/half-curve home button.
The requisite screen size increase is here, and interestingly, Samsung has elected to go into the 5″ range with the screen that now boasts a 1080p display. This is pushing into Galaxy Note territory in terms of screen size, could potentially scare away those who like smaller phones, and could cannibalize Galaxy Note 2 sales in part thanks to its higher resolution. Of course, an April rollout, as is planned, would be about half a year after the Galaxy Note II was unveiled, which itself was half a year after the S3 unveiling, so there’s clearly a pattern here. Processor-wise, the international version will have an Exynos 5 while the US will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro.
As always, a new Galaxy S phone means new tweaks on top of the Android experience for TouchWiz. New “Smart” features like Smart Pause, where looking away from a video will pause it, are included. The camera, which is now a 13-megapixel shooter, comes with a variety of new features that can do things like erase people walking through the backgrounds of shots by taking multiple simultaneous snaps and then making a composite image with erasable background elements. The OS is miraculously Jelly Bean 4.2.2, which is the current version of Android, though one could bet good money that a new version will be announced at Google I/O in May, so enjoy living on the cutting edge while it lasts.
For gamers, Samsung is introducing a Bluetooth controller compatible with the phone, which will support over 80 Android games and come ‘bundled’ with 8 games itself.
Those who didn’t watch the presentation were spared. It was a painful affair thanks to the overwrought announcers and actors plying up their performance a bit too much. Subtlety was a lost art with the presentation. Someone at Samsung watched Qualcomm’s “Born Mobile” CES presentation and thought that was a good idea.
The Galaxy S IV will be rolling out internationally starting this April, with US support for all 4 major carriers, as well as US Cellular and Cricket.