Samsung on Thursday unveiled what's next in its popular line of Galaxy Smartphones, and the tech giant appears to be trying to redefine what users can expect out of their mobile devices. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
Samsung's unveiling at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night was complete with an orchestra and professional actors. They clearly felt the need to show off many of the new features of its upcoming Galaxy S4 smartphone, and many is certainly the right adjective to describe the amount of new features.
Among the new features: Eye tracking for scrolling down text automatically as you read or pausing video when you look away; touchless gesture control for when your hands are greasy or nails freshly painted; translation software for having real-time conversations with someone who speaks in a foreign tongue; S Voice Drive, a Siri-like voice controlled virtual personal assistant; group play for linking several phones together to create a musical surround sound experience through all the phones in the room.
There are also lots of new camera tricks: Smart modes that take several pictures then filter out the stuff you don't want like innocent bystanders or this one that makes a composite of several quick shots, the ability to add audio to still shots, but perhaps the neatest, a solution for the photographer parent who always feel left out.
"Pretty much every smartphone out there today has two cameras. The main camera on the back that also shoots video and the front facing camera you can use to take pictures of yourself. With the Galaxy S4 Patrick can shoot video with both at the same time he can capture the scene he's looking at while also inserting himself in it," says Ryan Bidan of Samsung.
Samsung is also capitalizing on a new hot health trend: Bands that people wear to keep track of their steps or calories burned. Well, a lot of that kind of stuff is built into the S4.
Clearly, Samsung is looking to make a phone different from any other out there. But are any of these the kinds of features though that will encourage the masses to run out and get one?
"That's all very clever stuff. Maybe it's too gimmicky. I'm not sure if anyone's gonna want to take time to learn all these features," says Dan Ackerman of CNET.com. "Samsung at least gets some points for trying different things, working these different features in, even if they're not all going to be that useful."
Samsung did not release pricing for the S4 but did say it will be out on all the major carriers by the end of next month.