Samsung unveils Galaxy S4 at star-studded NYC launch

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Celebrity guests including rapper Jay-Z first to see device that can react to its owner’s eyes

Samsung last week (March 14) unveiled the much-anticipated Galaxy S4 smartphone at a star-studded event in New York’s Time Square.

The device, a follow up to the S III which has sold more than 40 million units since launching last May, will be released in the UK on April 26.

The most notable feature of the S4 is Samsung’s Smart Scroll and Smart Pause technology, which allows users to control the screen using their eyes.

Other features include a five-inch screen, 4G compatibility, an octo-core processor and a 2,600mAh battery, Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, user memory of 16GB (expandable to 64GB), a 13-megapixel main camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera.

It also features Dual Camera, which allows users to take photos simultaneously with the front and back camera and then blend the pictures together.

The S4 weighs 130g and is 7.9mm wide. Samsung says “all major operators” will stock the device, which will be available in black or white, from April 26.

The handset is also the first smartphone to come preloaded with Visa’s payWave function, making mobile payments possible worldwide using the device.

Samsung IM division vice president Simon Stanford (pictured) said the Galaxy S4 was inspired by customer feedback.

“We have listened to what consumers around the world want and taken the intuitive technology from the Galaxy S III a little further. Combining this with superior hardware has led us to develop the Galaxy S4, the ultimate smartphone inspired by our customers.”

Record pre-orders
All major high street retailers and network operators have confirmed they will stock the Samsung Galaxy S4 when it becomes available in the UK.

EE, Vodafone, Three, Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse confirmed they would stock the device seconds after its unveiling at the Radio City Music Hall.

O2 has yet to say when it will offer the device, but it is expected to be available through its retail and online channels.

Phones 4U said pre-orders for the S4 have surpassed those for any smartphone launched in 2012 and are 40 per cent up on pre-orders for the S III.

The company’s chief commercial officer, Scott Hooton, said he expects the device to become the biggest-selling
handset of 2013.

Hooton said: “The anticipation surrounding the next Samsung Galaxy device has been astounding.

“We know from YouGov research that 46 per cent of smartphone owners in the UK are considering getting a Samsung smartphone next, and so we’re predicting that the Galaxy S4 could be in with a strong chance of becoming the biggest selling smartphone of 2013.”

Carphone Warehouse chief operating officer Graham Stapleton said the retailer is anticipating “massive” customer interest and that it was planning extending opening hours to cope with demand.

Stapleton said: “The Samsung Galaxy S4 is huge news for anyone who already uses or is interested in getting a smartphone.

“Samsung has the timing spot on with a late April launch, 4G coming to more UK networks this summer means interest in new devices will be building considerably.

“We’re anticipating a massive amount of customer interest in this handset and are expecting our stores to be busier than at the height of the Christmas period. We are planning to extend opening hours at our larger sites to cope with the increased demand.

“The record-breaking launch of the Galaxy S III last year was always going to be a tough one to beat, but Samsung has pulled out all the stops with a dazzling new device that’s sure to inspire many people to make the switch to Android from other operating systems.”

EE confirmed the device will be available on its 4G network for both consumers and business customers.

EE director of products and devices Paul Jevons said: “The interest we’ve received from consumers and businesses has almost reached fever-pitch levels, so we’re delighted to be the only UK operator to offer the Samsung Galaxy S4 enabled with 4G from launch.”

Full article in Mobile News issue 535 (March 25, 2013).

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