Samsung launched the new Galaxy S4 smartphone at an event held at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The strange production, employing Broadway actors to act out features of the phone, caused some buzz. It was labeled bizarre by some, and lively and entertaining by others. No matter the opinions of those who watched the event, the phone was the star of the show.
Here are a few facts about the new Samsung Galaxy S4:
* The Galaxy S4 is lighter and thinner than the S3, with upgraded hardware specs. It has a larger screen, higher resolution, more megapixels in the rear-facing camera, a higher-capacity battery and a faster processor. The screen is five inches with 1080p resolution, and a 13-megapixel camera. The battery capacity is 2,600 mAh, with a 1.9 GHz quad-core or 1.6 GHz octa-core processor.
* The S4 has Galaxy S Voice Drive , which is designed specifically for driving. The app kicks in when the user gets into a car, and allows the driver to make calls, send messages, and check the weather using voice commands. The app will also alert the driver of a new message and read it. The driver can then reply to the message or cancel.
* The S Health app will track the user’s fitness levels, similar to Nike+ for the iPhone. There will also be a fitness band available for use with the app. The band can track steps, distance, calories burned, and even sleep. It’s also waterproof for tracking swimming.
* The new Smart Screen uses eye tracking to control the device. The eye tracking actually requires tilting the device while looking at the content using Smart Scroll. In addition, Smart Stay keeps the device on while you are looking at it. Similarly, Smart Pause will pause video when the user is not looking.
* Group Play has several uses. It can be used to transferred documents between S4 handsets without the need for an Internet connection, but it can also be used for joint gaming and music playing. Music may be distributed among all the phone speakers, creating a five-channel surround sound system.
* Air View allows users to “hover” with a finger to preview images without touching them. Air Gestures similarly allows users to flip through content and answer phone calls with a wave of a hand.
* The S4’s WatchON app displays local TV content on the device. The app also allows users to control home theater equipment using the S4’s infrared transmitter.
* The ChatON app includes three-way video calling, screen-sharing, and video calls. Video calls can use either the front or back camera, or both.
* The S4 includes the S Translate app, which translates voice and text instantly. The tool can be accessed from email, messaging and ChatON. It can also be used as a stand-alone app.
* Similar to HTC’s new Zoe mode, the S4’s Sound & Shot app takes a picture along with up to nine seconds of audio. Another photo app, Drama Shot , stitches together the action portion from a burst shot into a single frame. For example, a burst shot of a person jumping over a chair would show all the shots of the person jumping over a single background.
* Dual View allows users to use both the front- and rear-facing cameras at the same time. The new Dual-Shot mode allows users to combine photos and videos from both cameras into a single frame.
* Cinema Photo allows users to create animated GIFs where only a portion of the image is animated while the rest is static. This is similar to the Cinemagram app, but allows users to easily create and save animated GIFs right on their phone without having to sign up for the Cinemagram service.