Samsung reveals the Galaxy S4

Levi Castle

One of the biggest names in technology just revealed its new flagship phone. On March 14, 2013, Samsung showed the world its new iteration in the widely-acclaimed Galaxy series: the S4 smartphone.

Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S3 had an unprecedented sales record according to CNET. For many people, it was the phone of choice if they wanted to use Android.

Combined, all three Galaxy S phones so far have sold more than 100 million units since 2010, according to CNET’s website. Last year, Samsung shook the throne of the iPhone when, for a time, it outsold the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

Instead of looking drastically different from the S3 — like the S3 did from the S2 — the S4 resembles a slightly larger version of its predecessor. This is due to the new 5-inch screen, up from the 4.8-inch of the S3.

The S4’s screen not only increased its dimensions, it also increased its pixels. Propelling the Galaxy series into the next stage of smartphone tech, the Galaxy S4 is the proud owner of a full-HD 1080p screen.

One of the complaints about the S3 and the Galaxy Note II were the pixel densities, or lack thereof, which Samsung has now remedied.

At the mid-March event in New York, the overall emphasis for Samsung’s presentation was on the large amount of patented software inside the Galaxy S4. With the repetition of words like “lifestyle” and “relationship,” the show was more about usability of features than core performance specifics.

This was for a reason. While nearly every hardware aspect was improved upon for the S4 — which includes a bigger battery, better camera and faster processor — they are all components that any other competitor could get their hands on, like HTC did with their new flagship, the “One.”

Thus, the internals of the S4 are not what make it stand out from the other big dogs, though it is extremely high-end; it’s the software running on those internals that Samsung is greatly pushing.

The show began with the Samsung Unpacked 2013 master of ceremonies, Will Chase, coming onto the stage with a large orchestra behind him.

“Tonight we’re going to show you an exciting brand new Samsung product that’s been designed to make all of our lives and all of our life tasks that much easier,” Chase said. “With the new Samsung Galaxy, you’re going to experience life without boundaries, without limitations.”

Chase then introduced the main speaker for the new phone, which at the time was still not revealed to actually be the Galaxy S4. When JK Shin, president and head of IT and mobile communication division for Samsung electronics, came onto the stage to unveil the phone, the crowd was the loudest it had been that night.

Shin’s presentation began with Samsung’s emphasis on how the new phone will greatly improve its users’ lives every day. Merging these lead introductions with the actual phone itself, Shin then began gradually listing off features of the Galaxy S4, but still not actually referring to its name.

Among the teased features were a dual camera, which allows the front and rear cameras to operate simultaneously, Samsung Smart Scroll, a feature that lets the phone follow your eyes and know when to scroll up or down or pause a video, and Air View, a finger recognition system when you hover over the screen.

“For each of us, life is a journey. What we want is a device that will join us on the journey. A device that even more is a companion that helps us experience life to its fullest. A life companion for a richer, simpler life,” Shin said.

With that, Shin announced the name of the phone, officially calling it the Galaxy S4. He unveiled that the GS4 will be available from the end of April 2013 and will eventually be supported by 327 mobile operators in 155 countries. A video was then played showing more of the phones features, like the ability to record sound whenever a picture is taken.

When Samsung moved on to showcasing the hardware of the phone, Chase introduced Ryan Bidan, director of product marketing for Samsung Telecommunications America.

Bidan announced that the S4’s 1080p screen will be Super AMOLED with a PPI (pixels per inch) of 441. AMOLED stands for “Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode,” which, according to Samsung’s website, means the layer that detects touch is integrated into the screen, rather than being overlaid on top of it.

Not far behind was the reveal that the S4 is made from a new polycarbonate material that allows the phone to be thinner than ever and yet stronger than ever.

While 4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are common for smartphones, Bidan announced that the GS4 will include a built-in IR LED sensor that allows control over TVs. The HTC One was announced earlier this year to have the same feature.

The cameras will be a 13 megapixel rear-facing and a two megapixel front-facing. Two gigs of RAM and the typical storage options are also standard. An improved, larger battery will be powering the device.

The remainder of the show was devoted to an in-depth look at how these features can affect users’ lives, as showcased by actors and actresses partaking in small skits.

The show concluded with the orchestra and Chase announcing that people could get their hands on the phone immediately after the show for demonstrative purposes.

The general public will be able to get their hands on their own Galaxy S4 at the end of April.