Galaxy S4 takes the smartphone battle to iPhone's home turf

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The all-new Samsung Galaxy S4 was launched at the Mobile Unpacked event in New York’s Times Square at about 3.15am UAE time (March 15), and the new device is all that was rumoured – and much more.

With the global launch of its new spearhead smartphone in New York – a first for Samsung – the South Korean giant has taken the battle for supremacy in the mobile domain right to arch-rival Apple Inc.’s home turf.

Click here to browse the Samsung microsite for the new Galaxy S4

While the new Galaxy S4 smartphone is bound to compete with iPhone 5 (and the upcoming iPhone iteration), it isn't exactly good news for the other new phones in the market - including the BlackBerry Z10, the Sony Xperia Z, the HTC One, the LG Optimus, the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, and others.

Why? Because even as Apple loyalists might stick to their iPhones in anticipation of the new one soon (and might take a call on their loyalty once the new iPhone is actually unveiled), it will be the other brand users (not necessary loyalists) that the Galaxy S4's serious spec upgrades will entice and win over. The specs-fest is enough to give any other smartphone on this planet a run for its money – and that includes the iPhone 5.

Watch this YouTube video introducing the Galaxy S4.

If Apple doesn’t – very soon – ileak some icrazy irumours about the upcoming iPhone 5S (or iPhone 6), there is a very real chance that Samsung will run away with the No. 1 trophy out of Apple's sight in this practically two-horse race.

Samsung and Android fans are going to just love it – and once Apple fans come around to realise what they might be missing, well, they might reconsider sides.

And no, we’re not making these statements in a hurry. Every major spec upgrade in the S4 has the 'wow’ factor.

The eye-tracking features (Smart Scroll and Smart Pause) are very real - and very cool. Additionally, the Air Wave feature allows you to wave your hands on it and flick through pictures, take your finger near the screen (without actually touching it) and still make it work the way touchscreens are supposed to.

 

The Galaxy S4  also sports bluetooth 4.0 LE and infrared LED to act as remote control. Besides the usual set of sensors, the Galaxy S4 comes loaded with a temperature and humidity measuring sensor.

In addition, the S4 comes with an inductive charging chip on the back panel cover which means that, yes, it can be charged wirelessly without using additional cover. Told you so!

 

Then there's the in-built speech-to-text and text-to-speech translator that understands and responds in nine languages. Yes, it's a great phone, and coupled with Samsung's marketing muscle, we have no illusions that it won't be the No. 1 bestselling phone within a few weeks of its going on sale.

Not underestimating Apple, but the Cupertino-based firm is not reactive - it will perhaps still take its own sweet time in launching the next iteration of the iPhone, by which time it might be a tad late and it may end up playing catch-up in terms of specs (for the first time in its history). 

back to the Galaxy S4 launch: J.K. Shin, President and Head of IT division at Samsung Electronics unveiled the Galaxy S4 with a bigger 5" screen and software that tracks eye movements.

Watch the video of the launch event here: Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2013 Livestream

The new Galaxy has a 5-inch screen, a 13MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and motion-detection technology that lets users control features with face movements.

After some corporate-speak about how Samsung has been listening to what we the users have had to say and how it worked hard to put that into the new Galaxy, Shin went ahead and, as widely expected, unveiled the new Samsung Galaxy S4.

It’s slimmer, lighter and stronger – we’d be disappointed if it wasn't.

The new phone, running on Jelly Bean 4.2.2, will be launched through 327 network operators in 155 countries, 3G and 4G, available at the end of April (April 26) – good enough for us. A price hasn't been announced - that's what we don't like - but we're sure it will be, in a day or few hours.

Some big software features and upgrades include S Translator, Dual Camera, Air View, Smart Pause, Smart Scroll, Group Play, S Health – most of these were ‘leaked’ in advance, and we did let you know.

The all-new Galaxy S4 is only 7.9mm and weighs 130g. It will, as rumoured, include full HD super AMOLED, 5-inch screen, which will offer a resolution of 441ppi.

The body is made of polycarbonate and will be initially available in two colours (Black Mist / White Frost) with more colours to follow later in the year – looks sleek, and very cool.

The new smartphone supports HSPA+42 Mbps and LTE, which means wherever you are in the world, you can rely on perfect connectivity, saus Samsung.

The Dual Camera feature affords users to click videos or images simultaneously on both the cameras, with the image or video of the photographer in a picture-in-picture mode. In addition, the sound and shot feature allows users to record 9 seconds of audio alongside every image – now that’s handy, and relevant.

The Air View does, with the help of your finger, what the stylus does with the Note 2, i.e., operate the stuff with the stylus/finger hovering centimetres above the screen - no more fingerprint mess on screen. And, the S4 works even with gloves on - now that's cool.

The S Translator helps translate text-to-speech and vice-versa in 9 languages – that definitely helps. And it is integrated with a number of apps and stuff like email, ChatOn and messaging apps.

The much-talked-about Smart Scroll/Pause does what it says on the box. The Smart Pause feature automatically pauses a video if you look away from the screen, and the Smart Scroll feature allows you to browse through a web page by tilting the device slightly.

The S Voice Drive feature allows text to speech services so you're not distracted. There are dime-a-dozen apps that help you do just that, but then I guess it's cooler to have it pre-installed on the phone. Okay, if you say so. 

The Group Play feature allows users to connect up to 9 devices simultaneously with the new S4, pla music/videos on them, all with the S4 acting as remote control for the devices. Perhaps it'll come handy during a house party where you'd like to play different music in different rooms - but even then, why'd you want to be such a control-freak as to keep the remote of all devices in your hand? Beats me now, but I'm sure we'll find a good use for this feature a couple of days down the line.

Battery power comes in at 2,600mAh.

The new smartphone support downloads at 100MBps over 4G and 50MBps uploads. Bluetooth 4.0. IR LED for remote controlling TVs. Samsung WatchOn brings VOD service.

The S Health feature helps you monitor sleep patterns and eating habits and will tell you how many calories you’ve burned, even while just walking for as long as you have been. 

And there are a handful of other features such as the Adapt Display and Story Album that will be of interest to users. We'll get you a hands-on review as soon as we can actually lay our hands on the new phone.

We’ve been bringing you regular updates throughout the day, and will continue to provide our analyses and review the device for you. 

Last year, Samsung did a pretty good job of concealing the final design of the Samsung Galaxy S3 before it launched, but most features of the new Galaxy S4 are in line with the leaks - the smartphone was, indeed, heavily leaked before its launch.

Not without reason. The Galaxy S4 is this year’s biggest smartphone launch – there have been a number of other launches this year, including the BlackBerry Z10, the Sony Xperia Z, the HTC One and more, but none such hotly anticipated than this one.

Our round-up of leaked specifications and features of Samsung Galaxy S4 provides striking in-depth details of the new flagship smartphone.

In fact, we've gone much beyond mere specs and have presented an in-depth comparison of specs, release dates and pricing of the upcoming iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S4 for you. 

Additionally, there's this afternoon - hours before the real thing was  unveiled - video published on YouTube shows the much-talked-about eye-tracking feature of the Galaxy S4 in detail. 

Get blow-by-blow coverage of the biggest Android launch of the year (iPhone 5S or 6, when it launches, may be bigger in hype, but it’ll be for the iOS platform).

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