Galaxy S4 launched; Samsung takes battle with Apple to home turf
New York: Korean handset maker Samsung on Thursday unveiled the fourth generation of its Galaxy range of phones, S4, packed with newer imaging features as well as 'gesture -control' technology, taking the smartphone battle to global rival Apple's home ground.
Samsung remained mum on the pricing. It will launch the Android Jelly Bean-powered device from end of April across 155 countries in partnership with 327 mobile operators globally.
"All the innovative features of Galaxy S4 were developed based on the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world," Samsung President and Head (IT and Mobile Communications) J K Shin told reporters here at Manhattan's iconic Radio City Music Hall.
He said that following the successful GALAXY S series, this phone is yet another "great proof point of people- inspired innovation".
The S4 features a five-inch full HD super AMOLED touchscreen, 1.9 GHz quad-core processor, 13 megapixel back and 2MP front camera and supports both 3G and 4G networks.
Compared to S4's 5-inch screen, iPhone 5 features a 4- inch screen and 8MP (rear) and 1.2MP (front camera). It is priced at USD 200 onwards in the US.
A new feature included in the Galaxy is 'Smart Pause' -- users can pause a video just by looking away from the screen, while the 'Smart Scroll' tool allows them to scroll the browser or emails up and down without touching the screen.
It also has 'Air View' feature, which allows users to hover with their fingers to preview the content of an email, S Planner, image gallery or video without having to open it by just gesturing in air.
Samsung, which is the market leader in smartphone category in India, also did not disclose the timeline or pricing for the Indian market.
According to research firm IDC, the overall mobile phone market in India reached about 218 million units in 2012, growing 16 percent year-on-year.
Of this, 16.3 million units were smartphones, but the category saw a growth of about 48 percent. Samsung was the leader in the quadcore and 5-inch plus screen size models, IDC added.
Globally, Samsung had 30.3 percent share of the smartphone market (with sales of 215.8 million units) in 2012, while Apple had a 19.1 percent share with sales of 135.9 million units, according to IDC.
Competition from Apple and new devices from BlackBerry and Nokia have put pressure on Samsung to add new software features to maintain its market lead. These include a function to detect facial movements and let users control the screen by the direction they look.
The S4 has new imaging features like 'Dual Camera' and 'Dual Video Call', which allows users to click pictures and make video calls using both the front and rear cameras simultaneously.
It also has shooting modes like Drama Shot (allows users to see all the action in one continuous time-lapse) and Sound & Shot, which stores sound and voice together as the picture.
With the 'Group Play' function, users can share music, photos, documents and games with those around them without using Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity. It also has the S Translator features, which provides voice-to-text and text-to-voice translation.