Business, Economics and Jobs

Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone unveiled at launch in New York



The S4 is a little narrower and slimmer than its predecessor, but comes with a clearer 5inch touchscreen capable of full HD video playback and a higher-capacity battery pack.

NEW YORK – Samsung unveiled Thursday night its new smartphone, the Galaxy S4, which boasts a raft of revolutionary new software and technologies.

The hotly anticipated new product, regarded as the biggest challenge for Apple's smartphone, is slimmer but stronger than the series 3, can scroll around the screen at the wave of a hand, and record sound with photos, Samsung's Ryan Biden, director telecommunications and marketing told the 4000-strong crowd at New York's Radio City Music Hall Thursday night. 

At 136.6 mm long and 71.8 mm wide, it has a bigger high-definition screen, and has a 7.9 breadth to rival the ultra-thin Apple iPhone.

It is also has a 13 megapixel camera, as opposed to the iPhone's 8.

Among the S4's best new functions are the "air gesture" and hand-swipe gesture recognition, which means the user can scroll a web page, accept a phone call or change a song with a wave of the hand.

It also has an eye pause mechanism so that when the user is watching a video and looks away, the video will sense the eye movement and pause the film.

The new smartphone also has an in-built health app, which tracks calories burned throughout the day and miles walked.

With longer battery life, the Galaxy S4, which has an 8-core 1.6 Gigahertz processor, will be availabe in 155 countries from April but Samsung did not disclose how much it would cost. 

Samsung did not spare any expense at the much anticipated launch Thursday night, hiring out the famous Radio City Music Hall and broadcasting it live in Times Square.

A live orchestra was on hand, and a theatrical show performed to walk the audience, including 2000 members of the media, through the features of the new product.

Samsung Mobile president JK Shin took to the stage at 7pm to unveil the new device, telling the audience: “We have taken technology and innovation further to help us get closer to what matters in life: To help us leave a richer, simpler and more fun life."

"What if we could record sound while taking pictures? How great an experience would that be?" Shin asked the packed crowd. "Wouldn't it be convenient if a smartphone wanted to scroll up or down or even pause, just by looking at the screen."

"What we will show you tonight is the innovation that improve the way people live every day and help them live in the way they aspire to. For each of us, life is a journey. What we life is a device that can join us on this journey. A device that can enable us to do more, a companion to help us explore life to the fullest."

The camera application can now use both the front and rear cameras simultaneously, inserting a small picture of the user even as he's capturing the scene in front of him. 

There is also an eraser mechanism, which will delete people in the background of shots.

Another feature is that when several of the Galaxy S4s are in close proximity, users can link their phones to play the same music, simultaneously.

There is also an automatic translation feature which provides instant translation in 10 languages, helpful for people travelling abroad.

The handset's predecessor, the Galaxy S3, was a massive success for Samsung following its release last year.

It quickly surged to become the bestselling Android phone on the market and a major threat to Apple's domination of the smartphone market. 

However, the iPhone is still the most popular smartphone globally and Apple also has a slightly larger market share in the US.