Galaxy S4

Many of the world’s leading technology specialists gathered in New York on Thursday evening to eagerly watch the launch of Samsung’s primary smartphone, the Galaxy S4, in the Korean corporation’s latest innovative attempt to remove Apple’s iPhone 5 as leader of the smartphone market.

After the glowing commercial and critical reception which met the Galaxy S3 at last year’s unveiling in London, several technology analysts predicted the S4 as the device which could, after matching the underwhelming iPhone 4S last year, set a standard Apple would find difficult to beat.

The future looks promising for the S4. Rather than launch their new handset with one defining feature, Samsung have aimed to provide a complete, versatile package. Some Galaxy S3 features remain, such as the phone’s ability to ‘wake up’ on visual contact, and automatic dialling by lifting the device to your ear, whilst aesthetically – a problem for some – the glossy plastic casing is instantly recognisable. But, as per usual with a smartphone hardware release, the phone’s processing power has improved drastically, thanks to a new Snapdragon processor, and a rich 5 inch HD Super AMOLED Display adds an even greater quality than the rich graphics of the S3, and is the best of its kind in the market.

There are also a number of subtle, but useful, additions to the S4: the touchscreen is now capable providing additional information to the user when detecting a finger hovering over the screen, and has the ability to pause video footage when the user looks away from the screen. There are also features which can be used to examine a user’s well-being, and accessories including scales and heart-rate monitors will be made available.

Samsung’s release of the Galaxy S4 closely follows Apple’s attack on the Korean corporation, in which Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of marketing, claimed the Android software which the S4 uses was potentially one year out of date, and lacking the seamlessness found in Apple’s iOS. The attack has largely been viewed as Apple’s acknowledgement of the threat Samsung pose to their domination of the Western smartphone market, and Schiller’s mood will not have been improved in the knowledge of Samsung’s upgrade of the camera when compared to last year’s model – the Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 13MP camera, and can record and take pictures simultaneously from both its front and rear cameras. The battery life of the phone, such an important issue for consumers, has also been improved, with a bigger battery being fitted at no increase in size.

Samsung have been a dogged opponent to Apple’s aspirations in the smartphone market in recent years, and will continue to be so with their latest model. It certainly provides a threat, and interested eyes will be focussing on Apple keenly to see how Tim Cook and his team respond when they launch the successor to the lucrative iPhone 5.