The phone, the first in the successful Galaxy S-series to make its global debut in U.S. , was announced at Manhattan’s iconic Radio City Music Hall on Thursday evening. Some observers were clearly dazzled by its features, setting a high bar for Apple to surpass.
The highly anticipated device can stop and start videos depending on whether someone is looking at the screen, flip between songs and photos at the wave of a hand, and record sound to run alongside snapped still pictures.
But other industry watchers said the unveiled smartphone would not upturn an industry that lives and dies by innovation, Reuters reports.
The plethora of new features “are good steps in this direction, but they can be seen as gimmicks rather than game changers. At this point, Samsung appears to be trying to kill the competition with sheer volume of new features,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecom analyst at IT research outfit Ovum.
“For now, Samsung can likely rely on its vastly superior marketing budget and the relatively weak efforts of its competitors in software to keep it ahead,” he added.
Galaxy S4 is scheduled to hit stores by the end of April and rolled out to 327 carriers in 155 countries, including U.S. largest service providers such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA.
“Samsung has fulfilled the promise of their marketing that they are the tech innovators. It remains to be seen whether it’s overload for customers, whether they can really take advantage of all these features,” said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.
The new device will use either Samsung’s own applications processor or Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon processing chip, depending on the country. But the Korean companydidn’t reveal any exact dates and prices.
The Galaxy S 4 follows the surprisingly successful Galaxy S III, which sold over 100 million devices in 2012.
As far as design is considered, the Galaxy S 4 iterated from the Galaxy S III, while still offering a more streamlined, refined design. It features 5-inches screen but the body of the smartphone has almost the same size as the Galaxy S III.
Moreover, the Korean tech company made the new model slimmer and stronger. Gone is the plasticky feel of the Galaxy S III; the Galaxy S 4 is light, but feels higher quality.
The 5-inch Super AMOLED display hasan eye-popping 441ppi resolution of 1920×1080. It’s covered with Gorilla Glass 3.
Depending on the market, the unveiled device features a 1.9Ghz quad-core processor or a 1.6 octa-core processor. The Galaxy S 4 runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. It has 2GB of RAM and comes in 16, 32 or 64 GB configurations and also includes a microSD card slot.
As Mashable writes, Samsung Galaxy S4 has all the basic wireless connections, including Bluetooth 4.0 LE, NFC, Wi-Fi and GPS. Like the Galaxy Note 8.1, the Galaxy S 4 is equipped with an IR port and can be used as a remote control.
The device also features a 13-megapixel camera, compared with the S3’s 8-megapixel camera.
“They kind of cherry-picked features that other competitors had, and then packed them up all together into one device,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
“The story though is more about who Samsung is and where they want to be. It is clear today that they want to play in an ecosystem game, their own ecosystem. The word Android didn’t come up once.”