Amid great expectations, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has arrived

Amid great expectations, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has arrived

Summary: After a lot of hype leading up to today, Samsung finally introduces the Galaxy S4 to the world.

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As anticipation for today's unveiling finally reached (if not surpassed) a boiling point, Samsung has officially introduced the Galaxy S4 smartphone.

Announced at a massive media event held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday evening, the latest generation of the Galaxy smartphone series already has a lot to live up to.

The pressure is on for the S4 to compete head-to-head especially with Apple's iPhone 5 (and that device's successor).

Samsung reveals the Galaxy S4 (photos)

Looking at it another way, the expected battle between these two handsets might parallel the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, which debuted at Mobile World Congress in February. That 8-inch tablet is seen as a direct competitor to Apple's iPad mini.

Leading up to today's announcement, Roger Entner, lead analyst and founder of telecom consulting firm Recon Analytics, described in prepared remarks that "the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the next iteration in the most successful series of smartphones next to the iPhone." He added that it is software that will differentiate the S4 against both the iPhone and the rest of the Android ecosystem.

Generation after generation the gap between the Galaxy S and the iPhone has become smaller and smaller. This time we may see Samsung leap frogging Apple and have the best smartphone on the planet for six months until the new iPhone comes out. This would be a pivotal moment as Apple has been able to play offense and enjoy a lead in device capabilities (both software and hardware) and now they might be forced to play catch up.

JK Shin, head of IT and mobile communications at Samsung, described that the design for these 3G/4G handsets were "inspired by the people of the world."

Shin asserted that once consumers spend time with the Galaxy S4, they will feel "very confident about how its innovations" will make their lives richer and fuller.

Describing the S4 as "mindblowingly thin," Ryan Bidan, director of product marketing for Samsung Telecommunications America, introduced the specs.

Promising a "kryptonite"-like case, the Samsung S4 is encased in a plastic exterior (in either black or white) with a full HD, Super AMOLED 5-inch display with 441 pixels per inch. Overall it measures 136.5 mm long by 70.6 mm wide while weighing in at 130 grams.

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Additional specs include up to 64GB of internal storage (as well as the option for 64GB more on a microSD card), a 2,600 mAh removable battery, 2GB of LPDDR RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, and IR LED (remote control functionality) and MHL 2.0. The GS4 also supports downloads of 100Mbps and uploads of 50Mbps.

Samsung execs also spent a good deal of time going over the 13-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front cameras. The stand-out feature is a new function called dual-camera mode in which the user can turn both cameras on. The rear camera can shoot fullscreen video as well as picture-in-picture at the same time in conjunction with the front-facing camera.

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Another feature that could come in handy for frequent business travelers flying internationally is the S-Translator. Currently supporting nine languages, the feature handles speech-to-text and text-to-speech. It's integrated into messaging apps, and using the optical reader, it also translates written words.

So far, the S-Translator retains at least 3,000 common phrases and sentences. But what most be most vital for those traveling across borders (and might not have international data plans), it works even without a network connection.

Naturally, there are a number of features on the S4 that could be interpreted as direct hits at the iPhone. For starters, the S4 comes with S Voice, which is voice recognition software that will do everything from offering up driving directions to acting as a personal assistant.

Samsung is also looking to establish a stronger footing with enterprise customers with Knox, the dual work/life profile system that was also first introduced back at MWC. The S4 is the first Samsung device that will ship with the suite of security services and apps.

More: Samsung's Galaxy S4 first to launch with B2B tool Knox

While Samsung spent a good deal of the financial and time budgets on actors and executives describing the features, there wasn't much in regards to availability beyond that it will be available with 327 carriers across 55 countries.

AT&T has already confirmed in the following statement that it will carry the Samsung S4 in the United States.

"AT&T was the first to deliver Samsung’s Galaxy series and we are excited to bring the Galaxy S4 to the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network," said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president- Devices, AT&T. "We continue to offer our customers a broad choice of devices and features to fit any mobile lifestyle, and look forward to growing our family of Samsung Galaxy devices."

Sprint also followed up via email to confirm that it will carry the S4 during the second quarter of 2013. The nation's third largest mobile provider also revealed that more details -- including pricing -- "will be shared in the coming weeks."

Images via CNET

More about the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch on ZDNet:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Samsung, Smartphones

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72 comments
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  • Go Rachel!

    Thanks for the first look scoop.
    zaine_ridling
  • slow day

    Another day, another android phone...
    danbi
    • Some folks like the Android phones....

      Some folks like the Android phones....and thus we read about them. Others apparently like the Apple lines and thus, apparently without reading about the detail, pan the Android system. It is easy to do that, but not very productive....but then again, I am not the only one with a keyboard and Internet access. If I choose to be wiser in my comments, might I suggest that others be a bit wiser in their comments?
      MaxLaw
      • Thank You...

        MaxLaw, I am an iPhone user since Jan. 2008 and I want to take the time to thank you for that post. Competition makes any phone we choose better...
        macpipkin
        • agree

          Totally Agree :). Competition will always make the "next" phone (whether its android or iPhone better. Consumer wins.
          tirtawn
          • that's why I wanted to see what Samsung come up with

            Cause 4-5 months later the new iPhone is the best phone then the cycle starts again, it's like ground hog year, with apple always winning
            Hoggy866
          • Apple never had best phone title

            the closest it got was when the iphone4 came out. but the HTC Desire had it beat easily.
            only the ignorant sheep actually thought Apple iPhone were ever tops.
            warboat
      • not so wise

        So, without ever trying to comprehend the comment you had an opinion on the poster? Nice and very wise, right?

        Sure, many have waited for this phone, but it is, let's face it, just an phone. Like the iPhone, I apparently must add to not offend your feelings. :)

        Like many already commented, the best for us in those things is we sort of benefit from competition. Sad part is, that we mostly imagine so.
        danbi
        • While you may know what you wanted to say, other may not...

          if you wanted to convey a "it's just a phone" mentality, you shouldn't have put android in your original post. I agree some can be a bit oversensitive (on ALL sides), but hard to fault some for thinking you were dismissing Android by your post.
          jkohut
    • Wait

      Shouldn't that be... Another day, another Android Phone making the iPhone look bad!
      slickjim
    • Another day, and the same old lack of iPhone choices.

      That non-customizable, boring iOS is great, too.
      bdaleypsu
    • Wow.. it must suck to be that jaded...

      Or blindly loyal to one brand...
      TheWerewolf
    • happens 365 times a year

      Not uncommon these days, unlike apple sells one device per year and is still comes first against the other 365 phones released each year
      Hoggy866
      • bull

        http://betanews.com/2013/02/20/iphone-5-outsells-galaxy-s-iii-in-your-dreams/
        ttremeth
  • I, for one, have always wanted...

    ...to hover my finger over a phone screen and watch it......glow.....or whatever.
    Just finished watching the entire GS4 extravaganza, and now have a severe case of FF (feature fatigue).
    Sheesh!
    Userama
  • Looks very nice but

    to operate a smartphone in New Zealand I am required to be a billionaire. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much. :-)
    Laraine Anne Barker
    • Re: to operate a smartphone in New Zealand I am required to be a billionair

      I'm not a billionaire, and I can operate a smartphone in NZ.

      Use your home wi-fi, instead of mobile data, when you're at home. That will help limit the exorbitant data charges.
      ldo17
  • Worthless device...

    I will continue to mandate Windows Phone throughout the enterprise here. Love the fact that it has access to Microsoft Office, which is the killer application of the mobile world.
    Mike Cox
    • didn't realize that the mail clerk had the authority to mandate anything

      you silly shill...........
      WhatsamattaU
    • Not as much as a Windows phone

      You can use Office on Android and Iphone too, it's not exclusive to WP by any stretch.
      archienj7