Two weeks ago I made an impulsive life decision to upgrade my phone from a crappy first generation Blackberry Touch (yep, circa 2010). I was beyond fed up of annoying, technologically prehistoric #crackberryprobs like lousy Internet browsing (kind of important given my job), constant freezing, and horrible photos. I was long overdue to make a move. After weighing the iPhone vs. Android options, I sprung for a 16 GB Galaxy S3 over the iPhone, opting for the Galaxy's powerful processing core and Android 4 Jelly Bean, which blows away the iPhone with app integration. Since I'm a pretty big musichead, the easy ability to upgrade to 64 GB was a huge bonus for me. I'm a geek for specs like that. And I couldn't be happier.
But my phone is now old news now, ready for the smartphone retirement home just two weeks after unwrapping it. I don't know why the clerk at my carrier's retail store couldn't have told me to wait a few weeks, but I guess that's not their job.
Yesterday Samsung unveiled the SIV at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Though it's not necessarily a game changer compared to the S3, it definitely presents a few welcome upgrades. Here's what's under the hood:
- The nitty-gritty engine: A 1.6GHz, 8-core Samsung Exynos processor, 2GB of RAM, and running the Android 4.2.2. Jelly Bean OS.
- A brighter, crisper 5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution and 440 pixels-per-inch. Compare that to the SIII's 4.8-inch display, 720p resolution, and 306 PPI display.
- Air View: Use your finger to hover over something you want to see (i.e.: an e-mail, photo, Tweet, etc.) and a preview will pop up. No touching nessecary.
- A 13-megapixel camera with all sorts of bells and whistles. That's some serious resolution and perhaps the most head-turning feature of the phone. With the ramped up processing power, you can now use the front and rear cameras at the same time. The new modes include a Sound and Shot mode to record audio with a photo, a “Drama Shot” mode that captures a movement sequence, and Cinema Mode, which basically creates an animated GIF for you.
- Smart Scroll: Well, it's not the rumored “eye-sensors” that everyone thought Samsung would wow with. But Smart Scroll does use your head placement and how you’re holding the phone to gauge when you need to scroll.
- Auto-Pause: The SIV's “eye-sensors” can automatically pause videos when you're not looking at the screen and resumes when you return. Seems super handy for BroBible browsing.
- Health Tracking: There's a built-in pedometer to track distance walked and stairs climbed, along with a diet tracker to crunch calorie data. No need to go with third-party apps through Google Play. It sounds like Samsung will unveil something similar to the Nike Fuel Band to log heart activity, along with other vitals.
- Universal remote: The S IV has an IR blaster, so you can use it to control your TV at home. Bye, bye trips to the Time Warner store when your roommates accidentally misplace the remote in an empty pizza box.
- Translator: Dozens of apps out there for this, but it's about time someone incorporates Douglas Adam's babblefish concept into a smartphone.
- Body: Glossy plastic. Maybe someday Samsung will go aluminum or something more metallic and sexy.
The release date and pricing is TBD, but almost certainly going to be in Q2.
Certainly Samsung's Galaxy phones aren't the only players in the Droid space, with the HTC's sleek new HTC One phone boasting many of the same specs. However, the S4 will easily be the most ubiquitous Droid in the marketplace since Samsung will dump hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing this year, continuing to threaten Apple's dominance in the smartphone space.
In otherwords, get ready for more LeBron James commercials.