The lights raised in New York City last night and Samsung unveiled its newest phone in the Galaxy line, the S 4. The features of the S 4 were not a surprise as information had leaked most of them in advance of the launch event.
Samsung has designed the S 4 to bridge the successful S 3 and the innovative Note 2. The 5-inch display fits between the two existing phones although it ratchets up the resolution to 441 PPI.
The touch display of the S 4 is new as it can be operated without actually touching it. It can also be used while wearing gloves, a feature introduced last year by Nokia.
The 13 MP camera on the S 4 is a big jump over the 8 MP cameras used in Samsung's existing phones. Allowing both the front and rear cameras to operate at the same time is a new way to take advantage of those cameras.
Hardware aside, software is the big story on the S 4. Samsung has continued its focus on making software that adds value to the user and perhaps most importantly further distances its offerings from the vast Android herd.
The unique use of eye tracking to make operating the S 4 easier along with a collection of software designed to make the phone more useful makes the Samsung software distribution vastly different from its competitors. While Samsung's Android was already better than Google's Android, with the S 4 it is better than ever.
Samsung is deliberately distancing its products from Google Android. Android was not even a topic at the S 4 launch event, it was all about Samsung.
The interface on the S 4 is distinctive and continues to offer features that focus on the user experience. Samsung has added so many useful features to its version of Android that it no longer bears much resemblance to that of all the other Android phones out there.
This formula has worked well for Samsung as the S 3 is the biggest selling Android phone. Put the user first with useful software and produce solid hardware to drive it. The S 4 pushes that model forward without radically changing from the S 3, and that's smart business by Samsung. It's not an Android phone, it's a Samsung phone.