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Samsung Unveils the Galaxy S4 619

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-stuff-is-new dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "It's been leaked, teased, accused of being a copy of its predecessor, and celebrated as the likely champion of the mobile ecosystem for 2013. Samsung has finally unveiled the next in their line of globally available smartphones, the Galaxy S4. The phone carries a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080p resolution at 441ppi, weighs only 130 grams and is no more than 7.9mm thick. On the inside, the Exynos based Octo-Core processor clocked at 1.6 GHz and the Snapdragon based Quad-Core 1.9GHz processor power this machine. Galaxy S4 is also packing 2GB of RAM and a 2600mAh battery, and its microSD slot is accessible though the removable rear panel. The S4 will include several new features, such as Air Gesture, Smart Pause, and Smart Scroll. Samsung's vice president of portfolio planning said many of the software improvements in the Samsung Galaxy S4 could make their way into existing Samsung Galaxy S3 phones."
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Samsung Unveils the Galaxy S4

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  • Eh, that's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:31PM (#43177983) Homepage Journal

    incremental improvements and an overall nice phone, sure, but the ad I saw said it was gonna be the biggest revolution since the color TV.

    • by sd4f (1891894) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:35PM (#43178015)
      Maybe they should have said biggest revolution since 3D TV.
    • Re:Eh, that's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:36PM (#43178031)
      I have an S3 now and I'm planning on keeping it until it dies. Unless I can get a phone that has two days constant usage on a single battery charge, or uninterpretable signal. I don't see the point in spending $600 every year on a new phone for incremental changes. I probably would still be using my HTC HD2 if it hadn't died on me.
      • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:46PM (#43178111)

        What's the point in a wireless device with an uninterpretable signal?

      • That's OK (Score:5, Interesting)

        by arielCo (995647) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:08PM (#43178823)

        I've an S3 too, and we can't even accuse Samsung of wanting you to upgrade on every launch; you just buy whatever is fresh at the time you need it, so it'll last you as long as possible. I expect the S6 to be out by the time our S3's are severely obsolete.

      • Re:Eh, that's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfish (1653411) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:48AM (#43179979)

        I don't see the point in spending $600 every year on a new phone for incremental changes.

        That's nice, but did you ever think that not everyone has an S3 currently? Nor are S3 owners the only target market? I have an S2 and I'll be off contract next month so I'll be getting one, same goes for others I've spoken to with other older smartphones. By releasing even an incremental upgrade it keeps Samsung in front. Apple fanboys will have to wait a long 6 months (an eternity in the smartphone market)before they have something that competes, even then I doubt the next iPhone will due to their locked-in design. And if it does Samsung will have something else out a few months after it to steal its thunder.
        In summary, a quick release cycle is much better than a slow one, as market share is demonstrating.

    • Re:Eh, that's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sayfawa (1099071) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:40PM (#43178059)
      I'm surprised by how many people expected it to be so much better than the S3. When does a phone ever completely change in less than a year?

      More importantly, who buys a phone in less than a year after their last? This isn't for people with an S3, it's for everyone else. Like me. I can't think of any line of phones where I would want to have each iteration. But I'll get this, and then I'll happily skip the S5, whatever it happens to be. The S3 isn't outdated now, and the S4 won't be outdated for a couple of years when the S6 comes along.
    • First 8 core phone (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The two biggy here are the 8 core Exynos, the 2 core one was the fastest processor in a phone, now it scales to 8 cores. And the insane resolution needed to put full 1080p in a 5 inch phone.

      Oh and the gestures thing.

      Here's the sad part, where Apple? It use to be, Apple would come out with a curveball and win the game, now they're just twiddling with screen aspect ratios. It's all a bit sad.

      • by dfghjk (711126) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:01PM (#43178775)

        "It" doesn't scale to 8 cores. It's a 4 core processor where each "core" has both a low power and high performance core that it selects between. Only 4 cores are operational at any given time.

        Of course, that doesn't matter to the tech-savvy membership of /. 8 is greater than 4, that's what counts.

  • Screen size (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sd4f (1891894) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:36PM (#43178025)
    While 1080p is impressive for a 5" screen, i think it's over the top. Can't see the additional detail so why give up battery life to drive more pixels. Also is the sub pixel layout pentile?
    • Re:Screen size (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:53PM (#43178203)

      Can't see the additional detail so why give up battery life to drive more pixels.

      You're making an assumption which may not be valid. First of all, the primary driver of screen battery life is brightness, not resolution. Second, if you're not doing something graphics intensive on your phone, the battery will get you through the day anyway. So your concern is mostly applicable when doing things like playing games and watching movies. Now, if you're watching a 1080p movie on a smaller resolution screen, the phone's graphics processor has to downconvert the image. So the question becomes, which is more of a drain on battery life - downconverting a 1080p movie to a 960px screen, or playing a 1080p movie on a full HD screen? This I don't know the answer to, but I suspect that it's a close call.

      smafti

  • Smartphone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:36PM (#43178033) Homepage Journal

    With a five inch screen it's a small tablet! I wouldn't mind having one, but I'd still need a phone, my pocket isn't that big.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Actually I find 5 inches to be about perfect. It'll fit my pocket okay and I can actually hold it. The nice thing is I can actually see the screen without a magnifying glass. Anything under 4 inches is to me unusable. Of course some people like tiny phones and it's nice for them as most of the phones out there are small. Don't bitch about those of us with larger hands having something we can hold.

    • Re:Smartphone? (Score:5, Informative)

      by niftydude (1745144) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @10:43PM (#43179065)

      With a five inch screen it's a small tablet! I wouldn't mind having one, but I'd still need a phone, my pocket isn't that big.

      In terms of size - the S4 is actually smaller and lighter than the S3 - even though the S3 only has a 4.8" screen.

      S3: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, 133 g
      S4: 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130 g

      The screen runs closer to the edges, and the buttons at the bottom are slimmer. All in all, some pretty neat engineering.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:37PM (#43178041)

    Didn't he say yesterday the new S4 would come out with a 1+year old version of Android? Looks like 4.2.2 is only 1 month old.

    • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:41PM (#43178069)

      Oops, my bad. It was Apple Marketing Chief Phil Schiller who said that

    • Knowing Samsung, they'll release a x.1 Android ROM upgrade for it a year after it comes out and then EOL the device. It happens way too often with these phones.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        They are still actively supporting the GS2 and 3. The GS3 has had multiple updates, and more are in the pipeline. Samsung are very good with updates, in a par with Apple for their high end phones.

        Keep spouting the FUD though, someone is bound to listen.

    • 5 months old... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mtb_ogre (698802) <theogre@ogrehut. n e t> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:18PM (#43178473) Homepage
      Jelly Bean was released in November, making it 4 months old, 5 months by the time the SIV is generally available. Jelly Bean will be obsoleted by Key Lime Pie at Google's I/O developer conference in May so you get a whole month to enjoy being on the current version of Android, that might be some kind of record. After which you get to wait another 4-5 months for Samsung to get the OS up and approved by US carriers.
      • 1 Month old. (Score:4, Informative)

        by mjwx (966435) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:52PM (#43178713)

        Jelly Bean was released in November, making it 4 months old, 5 months by the time the SIV is generally available. Jelly Bean will be obsoleted by Key Lime Pie at Google's I/O developer conference in May so you get a whole month to enjoy being on the current version of Android, that might be some kind of record.

        That was 4.2, released in November, 4.2.2 was released on 11 February 2013. So just over 1 month old.

        After which you get to wait another 4-5 months for Samsung to get the OS up and approved by US carriers.

        If you dont live in the US (or do live in the US and buy directly from Samsung) this isn't a problem.

        It's not an Android issue, it's an issue with your incompetent telco's.

        Also, you've got the option of community ROMs.

  • by treadmarks (2528414) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:41PM (#43178071)

    What does a "phone" need 8 cores for? Is it supposed to multitask many phone calls at once?

    • by KingSkippus (799657) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:04PM (#43178325) Homepage Journal

      People used to ask why desktops would need multiple processors. Most software now takes advantage of multithreading capability, and trying to use a single core process is downright painful.

      It may not need to multitask many phone calls at once, but it most certainly may need to multitask a whole bunch of apps at once, especially on a phone that can do things like instantly translate written or spoken text, record and composite two video sources at once and audio in real time, receive notifications such as texts, keep track of calendars, locations, temperatures (?), heart rates (!), etc. while you go about whatever it is you're doing, running a pretty sophisticated operating system with a pretty sophisticated user interface, and oh yeah, take and process telephone calls. And don't forget that it might have to do some of these tasks twice, given that the phone can be configured to be running an entirely separate virtual OS for your work stuff.

      Never ask why any electronics device would need more resources, whether it's CPU cores, memory, storage capacity, network bandwidth, or anything else. It's a sure recipe for looking back in five years and say, "Wow, I sure was dumb back then. I never dreamed that devices today would be able to [insert amazing capability due directly to advancement in hardware specifications]!"

  • Where's the Mini? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MatthiasF (1853064) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:47PM (#43178127)
    I'm tired of huge phones. Why can't they give us a freakin' 3-3.2 inch phone for those of us that don't enjoy carrying around a small television?
  • Contract vs. Vendor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phoebe (196531) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:56PM (#43178241)
    The real question with Samsung's new phone is how the sales will perform. Samsung obviously think they're hot but that is ignoring the fact that the majority of purchasers of the S3 were iPhone 4 owners who finished their contract and the iPhone 5 was delayed. Now we are in a situation that the S3 purchasers are still in contract and not open to free choice and might not want another Samsung device.
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      On the flip side there'll be droves of Galaxy S2 users who contracts are about to expire.

  • Battery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:00PM (#43178281)

    You're going to love that you can pop in a brand-new battery. The more the phone does, the more it will use up the power, the more recharge cycles, and the faster your battery wears out (note that battery running times become unacceptable long before the battery is actually gone).

  • WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 7-Vodka (195504) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:06PM (#43178353) Journal
    All I care about is whether you have complete control over the hardware you buy.

    Is it like the galaxy nexus, I can do anything I want with it, or is it like most other phones: Locked and useless?

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Galaxy phones are always well supported by Cyanogen, and Samsung doesn't do much to lock them down. The GS3 was supported about a month after release so don't expect to wait long to build your own kernel/rom for the GS4.

      • Re:WTF (Score:5, Informative)

        by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday March 15, 2013 @01:07AM (#43179845)

        While Samsung doesn't lock down the bootloader they do a few underhanded things to ensure warranty claims can identify phones which have had their firmwares played with. Flashing custom firmware on a Samsung Galaxy phone causes a yellow triangle to appear during boot. This is a feature in the bootloader firmware. Fortunately the XDA guys have figured out ways around it, but the phone is definitely not open in the same way a Nexus is open.

  • by corychristison (951993) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:13PM (#43178409)

    My contract is up on August 4th. Assuming the S4 comes out before then, perhaps the cost on the S3 will come down and I'll be able to afford it sans contract renewal. Doubly because I want to switch providers.

  • by bjwest (14070) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:47PM (#43178671)

    Why in the hell is induction charging not a standard feature for phones yet? Battery life would be less of an issue if we could just set the phone down on a charge pad and not worry about having to plug the thing in all the time. I'd be more than happy to have several charge pads around the house and at the office.

    Hell, toothbrushes have had this technology for years.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:49PM (#43178695)

    A slider form factor with a physical five row QWERTY keyboard. Almost nothing else is a dealbreaker to me.

    I've had a Samsung Epic 4G (Galaxy S1) for almost two years. It's one real flaw is that it only has 362MB of ram. However, Sprint doesn't have 4G of any kind in my area but still insist that I pay them $10/month for the vaporous privilege of having a 4G handset (which is always connected to my house's WiFi anyway).

  • by dell623 (2021586) on Friday March 15, 2013 @02:13AM (#43180045)

    The sales will depend more on marketing as usual, but..

    1) That display is awesome, AMOLEDs are getting better and we're finally beyond retina density for AMOLED displays (the S3 had a pentile display which lowers the effective dpi a bit)

    2) The 5" screen is not what decides the dimensions. This is actually narrower than the S3. It's a milimeter wider than my Nexus 4, which I could live with. When I bought the Nexus 4 I was wary of a 4.7" screen but it's surprisingly usable and I don't have large hands. I wouldn't want to go back to a smaller display for anything. Narrower bezels are a long needed advance, and Apple hasn't caught up yet - the Motorola Razr M for example squeezes a 4.3" screen in an iPhone 5 sized device.

    3) It is slimmer and fits a far higher capacity battery than the S3. The effect on power consumption from the screen and new processor/GPU isn't known yet, but I bet this will do better than the HTC One.

    4) Forget the lame launch, there are some genuinely cool features in there.

    5) Not launching a 4.3 inch S4 Mini with top of the line specs is a huge and stupid omission from Samsung.

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