Samsung vies to take bite out of Apple's dominance [Virginian - Pilot]
(Virginian - Pilot Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) By Peter Svensson
The Associated Press
Samsung Electronics is ratcheting up its rivalry with Apple with its new Galaxy S4 smartphone, which has a larger, sharper screen than its predecessor, the best-selling S III.
Samsung trumpeted the much-anticipated phone's arrival Thursday at an event accompanied by a live orchestra while an audience of thousands watched the theatrics unfold on a four-level stage at Radio City Music Hall. Summoning up a touch of Broadway, Samsung employed 17 actors to demonstrate the new phone's features in a series of scripted vignettes.
The Galaxy S4, which crams a 5-inch screen into a body slightly smaller than the S III's, will go on sale in the United States sometime between the end of April and the end of June.
In the United States, it will be sold by all four major national carriers - Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA - as well as by smaller ones US Cellular and Cricket. All told, Samsung plans to offer the Galaxy S4 through 327 carriers in 155 countries, giving it a wider reach than Apple's iPhone 5.
Samsung didn't say what the phone will cost, but it can be expected to start at $200 with a two-year contract in the United States. That's comparable to the iPhone 5.
JK Shin, the executive in charge of Samsung's mobile communications division, promised the money would be well spent for a "life companion" that will "improve the way most people live every day."
Every successive generation of the Galaxy line has been bigger than the one before. The S III sported a screen that measures 4.8 inches on the diagonal, already substantially larger than the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen. The S4's screen is 56 percent larger than the iPhone's.
Apart from the larger screen and upgraded processor, the S4 has a battery that's 20 percent larger than that of the S III. Samsung didn't say whether that translates into a longer battery life - the added capacity might be gobbled up by the bigger screen or other internal changes.
The S4 comes with a built-in infrared diode, so it can control an entertainment center as a universal remote. This is a feature that has shown up in Android tablets before.
The S4 comes with several new technologies intended to help users interact with the phone. For instance, the screen now senses fingers hovering just above the screen, and some applications react. The Mail application shows the first few lines of an email when a finger hovers above it in the list, and the Gallery application shows an expanded thumbnail.
Users can control some other applications by making gestures in the air above the phone. In the browser, you can command the screen to scroll up by swiping from top to bottom a few inches from the phone.
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.
When several S4s are in close proximity, they can link up to play the same music, simultaneously.
The Galaxy S4 also will include a tool that enables users to create a dividing line so part of the phone is devoted exclusively to work while the other part is filled with personal information and photos. The feature is similar to a function on the latest BlackBerry - an indication Samsung is going after other smartphone makers besides Apple with its latest model.
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]