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Ant Pruitt: Yawning at the Samsung Galaxy S4

aNewDomain.net — Capping off Pi Day, Techie New Pope Day and Google Reader Death Day, Samsung today unveiled its Samsung Galaxy S4. The Unpacked 2013 event was at the historic Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

phones

Image credit Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain.net

The Galaxy S4 smartphone touts familiar specs the geeks are used to hearing: 5inch Super AMOLED HD display at 4441PPI, a 13 megapixel rear camera, a 2 megapixel front-facing camera, 2GB of RAM and 16/32/64 GB in storage flavors. More than 355 mobile carriers worldwide will have this devices in their inventory.

This device will give you options for both LTE and HSPA+, reps said. But there was no official word on the CPU architecture. Is this a quad core or eight core CPU? Smart guesses go with eight — and what manufacturer, if not Samsung, built the chip?

Samsung demonstrated the features of the new S4 revolving around making life “richer, simpler and fuller,” as JK Shin mentioned in the livestream. Samsung heavily emphasized social features today. Execs really underlined its use with demos heaving on photo and video sharing.

Let’s take a look at some of the Galaxy S4 features:

  • Camera – The rear and front camera are able to function simultaneously creating new ways to capture the moment. The person taking the photo, can insert themselves into the view finder with the front camera allowing “everyone to be in the picture.” This also works for video. Templates and filters are available to adjust and edit your photos. The Drama Shot capability allows you to capture action shots such as a dance scene. The cool part is each of the steps in the dance is captured and posted into one photo. Lastly, users can now add sound to images before or after the shot is taken. So sending an MMS to a friend with a short audible note attached gives photos an added enhancement. Photos can be stored on the device in categories or groups which can in turn create Story Albums. Story Albums can be ordered for hard copies and binding via Blurb from $10 – $30 which includes shipping and handling. Video calls now offer the same functionality. 

VIDEOCALLS

Image credit The Verge

  • Multimedia -  Samsung allows for easy sharing of music tracks, pictures and video among friends (and other S4 owners) by allowing the media to beam from phone to phone. Basically using NFC. The demo even showed how one song can be played simultaneously on multiple devices among friends creating a faux surround sound or party environment. More sharing and integration options are available in the S-Hub.

 

Lastly, I’d like to look at the rumored eye-scrolling and display. As previously mentioned, the display is a 5-inch (4.99 inches) super AMOLED HD screen. There are light and gesture sensors for a new user experience. If you’re watching a video on your S4 and need to look away for a moment, the video will pause. When you look at the screen again, the video resumes. Scrolling, on the other hand, is done easily with a Jedi-like gesture. You don’t have to physically touch the screen. Just wave your finger in the scroll motion and the screen will scroll.

Other features Samsung enabled features were mentioned such as S-Voice Drive and Translate. The driving features are more intuitive ways to keep automobile drivers hands-free. The translate feature allows for easy translation of text to speech or speech to text.

So who’s going to grab the S4? I was underwhelmed with the announcement.

The presentation was more like a play than a beefy demonstration of edgy technology. The hardware doesn’t strike. The phone is super thin at 7.9mm, but yet it still looks like a slightly larger Galaxy S3. We still don’t know the official price of the S4. Leaving out CPU information pricing reminds me of the Playstation 4 announcement. At least we know we can see it in AT&T stores on April 26. Other carriers will ship later.

The user experience features aren’t innovating enough to thrill me. Yes, the Jedi-like gesture swiping is impressive — says this Star Wars fan, anyway. But that’s not enough to make me tell consumers or other geeks to go out and get one. I had hoped for more innovation in the smartphone announcements of 2013. I’ve yet to see it.

Leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts on the new smartphone from Samsung. I’m disappointed.

I’m Ant Pruitt and this is aNewDomain.net.

Find all of Ant’s stories here.

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  • hendog

    Double yawn. But great piece, Ant! Nice perspective.

    • Ant Pruitt

      thank you hendog!

  • http://dispersedthoughts.wordpress.com/ Robert Knight

    We are transitioning. Specs matter, but they don’t matter to general consumer. What matters to the general consumer is understanding how the device can fit into their normal everyday life which I think Samsung did a good job of showing.

    Will I buy it. No. I have a Note 2, which is still near the S4 in most of the spec department. They are following the Apple formula and clubbing Apple over the head with it.

    • Ant Pruitt

      quote:

      “The phone is super thin at 7.9mm, but yet it still looks like a slightly larger Galaxy S3.”

      Not just looks, but freakin innards are the same essentially. Fine for those on new contracts. Not worth “jumping” for, though. (in my opinion)

      Thanks for reading and your comment, Robert!

      -RAP, II

  • Rob Marshall

    Yawwwwwwwwwwn! Samsung doesn’t innovate they just copy.

    • Ant Pruitt

      I can’t disagree on the innovate statement.

      Thanks, Rob!

      -RAP, II

  • Shah

    It’s not a “yawner” for a person who doesn’t own a Galaxy S3. Still, it’s a powerful device and it is packed with gimicks. Their marketing of the product focused on the new gimicks like the air gestures and the consolidation of Samsung’s product line – features of the Galaxy camera are now found in the S4. The average user isn’t interested in the number of cores or the reason for which processors will be of different makes by region.

    Samsung’s unveiling of the new phone has been done correctly. S3 users are not being targeted. New users are being targeted. The S3 is still revelant and on par with other existing phones on the market. The fight of the S4 is with HTC One series, Nokia’s line of WP phones, and Apple’s iPhone. (Sorry BB and other small manufacturers for not mentioning you).

    One of the things that prevents me from being all excited about the S4 is the blatant discard for Android UI and UX guidelines in regards to the navigation bar. Physical capacities buttons are so passés. I, for one, want a “full screen” phone without the buttons. TouchWiz is another thing that makes me dislike the S4. TouchWiz makes the S4 look bad in the sense that it is not as ergonomic and modern as the almost minimal UI of stock Android. The TouchWiz layer adds too much clutter esp. in terms of config menus.

    However, despite the physical buttons and the awful TouchWiz, the S4 is a powerful device which feature new cool UX esp. with eye tracking and air gestures. And these are just 2 features among a myriad of features present on the smartphone. I hope that Samsung will release the APIs to control eye tracking and air gestures soon.

    • Ant Pruitt

      Let me keep it real here. I’d take this device. Then have it rooted and ROM’d by that evening. No need for that Touch Wiz stuff.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Shah.

      -RAP, II

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