USA: With a focus on lifestyle enhancement, the Galaxy S4 from Samsung Electronics transcends the smartphone’s traditional role as a mobile device and places it squarely in the realm of providing personal experiences, a development that stands to boost Samsung’s standing in the worldwide cellphone market.
In 2013, Samsung will extend its mobile handset market share lead over its nearest competitor to 11 percentage points compared with 2012, according to information and analytics provider IHS. In 2012, Samsung accounted for 29 percent of global mobile handset shipments.
“By describing the Galaxy S4 as a ‘Life Companion,’ Samsung is demonstrating awareness of a fundamental truth about the mobile market: Smartphones are all about personal experiences that stay with people throughout the day, not only mobile ones,” said Ian Fogg, director for mobile and telecommunications research at IHS.
“Making extensive use of Samsung’s technological prowess, the S4 can monitor events in users’ lives—and then react accordingly. From health features to an eye-, gesture- and voice-controlled user interface; to automotive, entertainment and financial characteristics, Samsung has designed the S4 to pervade and enhance every aspect of users’ lives. Combined with a massive worldwide rollout through almost every operator, the lifestyle focus of the S4 will help drive Samsung’s market share sharply in 2013.”
Starting at the end of April, the S4 will be sold by 327 operators and 155 countries.
Samsung has made extensive innovations with the software on the S4 in order to fully leverage the company’s vast portfolio of innovative hardware components.
Despite using Google's open-source Android operating system as a basis, Samsung's smartphones increasingly are becoming vertically integrated in terms of their software, hardware and services. Samsung combines components that it designs and manufactures, along with its optimized version of Android that takes advantage of new sensors and input mechanisms.
In the S4, this combination also offers superior security, with Samsung Knox security system, and connects with Samsung's own app store, wallet, video, music and games hubs.
“Samsung’s vertical integration of hardware and its own software services increasingly places it in competition with Google's own services such as Google Wallet and the Google Play app and digital content store,” Fogg said.
The S4 includes an extensive array of sensors to track user health and activity, a feature branded S Health.
These sensors include an accelerometer, RGB light, geomagnetic, proximity, gyroscope, barometer, gesture and even temperature and humidity.
S Health uses a combination of the sensors within the device to systematically and automatically monitor a user’s health, surroundings and other parameters to help improve quality of life. Also, users can easily check their health conditions using a food diary, an exercise diary and a sleep monitor to stay fit and healthy. Certain S Health functions are enabled by specific accessories.
Sensors and sensibility
Other S4 features that use these sensors include Samsung Smart Pause, which enables users to control the screen based on where they are looking. Another feature is Samsung Smart Scroll, which allows users to scroll the browser or to check emails up and down without touching the screen. Samsung Smart Scroll recognizes users’ faces and the movement of their wrists, and then scrolls the pages up or down accordingly.
Yet another sensor-enabled feature, Air View, allows users to hover with their fingers to preview the content of an email, the S Planner note-taking system, an image gallery, or video without having to open it. Finally, Air Gesture allows users to change the music track, scroll up and down a web page, or accept a call with a wave of their hand.
Additional lifestyle-oriented features in the S4 include VoiceTM Drive, which enables users to activate commands via voice control for optimization when driving.
Meanwhile, Samsung Optical Reader automatically recognizes text, a business card or QR code information, and provides useful functions such as translation, call, text message and search.
With Samsung WatchON, the GALAXY S4 will transform into an IR remote to control home entertainment systems, including a TV, set-top box, DVD player and even the air conditioner.
For its part, Samsung Adapt Display provides an optimal viewing experience, customized for each type of application.
Samsung Adapt Sound offers an optimal level and type of sound, personalized for each user.
Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.