The Galaxy S 4's specs will likely grab the most attention today, and for good reason. The company stuffed an octa-core processor in a slim package of glass and plastic, a remarkable step up considering quad-core was only just becoming a thing. But, more important to the S 4's announcement were the many, many, many features.
Samsung said its new flagship ensures a less stressful and more user friendly experience, and it has the features to back that claim up. Some of Samsung's new additions don't even require you to touch the display, which in itself is tinged with enough science fiction to excite Darth Vader.
Probably the biggest features are Air View and Air Gesture, both of which will save your screen from being bathed by greasy fingers. With Air View, users can simply hover their fingers, like an S Pen, over content in an email, S Planner, image gallery or video to preview without opening it. Air Gesture works similarly, but take advantage of gestures hovered over the device's screen to change music tracks, scroll up and down on a Web page and even except an incoming call.
That's not even the most impressive addition in the Galaxy S 4, however. You can do even less, too, through Smart Pause and Smart Scroll—neither of which requires the user to lift a finger. With Smart Pause, users have the ability to control the screen by simply looking at a specific area. When you're watching a video, for example, the video will pause when you look up from your screen, and continue playback when you look back down. And with Smart Scroll, like the rumors suggested, users can control their browsing and email experiences without touching the screen at all.
Samsung also talked about S Voice Drive, Optical Reader and Watch ON—S Voice Drive works through your car's Bluetooth and turns into driving mode, which converts text to speech so your eyes are on the road and not your screen. Optical reader recognizes text, business cards and QR code info and then translates, calls, texts and searches that information. WatchOn is basically an IR remote function so you can control many of your home entertainment system right from the device.
There are other features, too, such as Group Play and Share Music so you can more easily share content within a group of people. With Group Play, users can enjoy music, photos, documents and games with people around them without Wi-Fi or cellular data—you connect directly to other handsets to share and co-create content. Share Music is a similar function that plays the same song on multiple devices in sync.
There's a lot to dig through, but it's very obvious Samsung is intent on further creating an experience that's uniquely its own through the different features. Controlling your device without even touching it sounds like make believe. But so did smartphones themselves a decade ago. It'll be fun to try the new features out when we get our hands on the S 4.
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