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‘Galaxy S4 innovative technology’ presentation focuses on sensors, features and battery life

A new official Galaxy S4 presentation from Samsung focuses on the phone's many sensors, related features and battery life.
April 10, 2013
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Almost a month after unveiling the Galaxy S4 during its Unpacked event of the year, the company published a presentation on its official blog covering some of the technologies behind the Galaxy S4’s features complete with a new infographhic.

While in its previous infographic it mostly focused on hardware, this time around Samsung shares more details about the sensors inside the Galaxy S4 and some of the features they’re responsible fore (following image.)

Entitled “What you may not know about Galaxy S4 innovative technology,” the post lists the sensors of the handset, their purpose and their impact on battery life.

The sensors

The image above portrays the “hidden innovation in the Galaxy S4,” or the sensors that are responsible for various features. As described above, the Galaxy S4 sensors are:

  • Gesture Sensor (Air Gesture) – recognizes the user’s hand movements using infrared rays
  • Proximity Sensor (Direct Call) – recognizes whether the mobile phone is located near the user by using infrared rays
  • Gyro Sensor (Smart Rotation) – detects the mobile phone rotation state based on three axes
  • Accelerometer (S Health: Walking Mate) – detects the mobile phone movement state based on three axes
  • Geomagnetic Sensor (Digital Compass MAP) – detects magnetic field intensity based on three axes
  • Temperature / Humidity Sensor (S Health: Comfort Level) – checks temperature and humidity levels
  • Barometer (S Health: Walking Mate) – identifies the atmospheric pressure at the user’s current location
  • Hall Sensor (S View Cover) – recognizes whether the cover is open or closed
  • RGB Light Sensor (Samsung Adapt Display) – Measures the red, green, blue and white intensity of the light source.

Some of these sensors aren’t new, as they you can find them on board of most smartphones, including previous Galaxy S versions, but they will offer you custom Galaxy S4 features (see them mentioned in brackets in the list above, as listed by Samsung). As long as they’re not hardware-dependent, some of these features will be available with future updates on other high-end Galaxy smartphones such as the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2.

The other features

In addition to presenting the sensors and corresponding features, Samsung has also mentioned other Galaxy S4 sensors that add further functionality to the handset including the face recognition technology (Samsung Smart Pause and Samsung Smart Scroll), the voice recognition technology (S Translator and S Voice Drive) and the Optical Character Reader (OCR) technology (Samsung Optical Reader).

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The company is also taking a special interest in health and the environment, making sure once again that potential buyers are aware of the S Health features of the handset:

Samsung is committed to creating innovative products inspired by people, for people. Each innovative feature of GALAXY S4 was developed from the insights and needs we found from our consumers all around the world. This is especially true of our dedication to our customers’ wellbeing [sic].

For a full rundown of Galaxy S4 features, make sure you check out our in-depth coverage of Samsung’s software features.

The battery

All these hidden Galaxy S4 features do not consume that much battery life, Samsung says, as the company has further optimized the phone’s battery consumption:

If all this extra power has you concerned about battery life, fear not. The GALAXY S4 has a Micro Controller Unit (MCU) that activates the Application Processor (AP) only when needed and makes it possible to control the sensors without activating AP. As a result, the power consumption of GALAXY S4 is optimized, letting you enjoy these features longer.

According to early battery life tests, the Galaxy S4 will outperform its predecessor, but we’ll definitely return to this topic once the handset is released and tested in real day-to-day usage.

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What about Android?

On a different note, we’ll point out that, just like during the official media event, Samsung is only presenting its own software features found on the Galaxy S4, pretty much ignoring Android in the process. In fact, Android only comes up once, when Samsung is talking about battery life, reassuring users that the large array of sensors won’t affect battery life:

Even when the same-version of Android OS is used, there is a difference in battery performance among manufacturers dependent on the degree of software operation optimization. Despite the inclusion of various sensors, the GALAXY S 4’s power consumption has been optimized using Samsung Electronics’ unique technologies and expertise.

Many words have been already written on the nature of the current relationship between Samsung and Google, and on the increased Samsung market and profit share of the Android ecosystem, so we won’t get into the same argument again.

Suffice to say that from a business perspective, Samsung is simply promoting its products, whether hardware or software, and you can’t blame it for doing what it does in order to try to sell as many Galaxy S4 units as possible in the coming months, without stressing too much over the fact that the handset does run Google’s mobile OS after all.

The timing?

The Galaxy S4 will hit various stores in the coming weeks, and the handset is definitely enjoying plenty of buzz even a month after being officially unveiled. So why did Samsung decide to release such a comprehensive post to detail the Galaxy S4’s main features?

Does it have anything to do with the fact that certain devices and products are about to launch en fanfare in certain markets, especially the U.S.? On April 12, AT&T will launch the HTC First, while T-Mobile will release the iPhone 5. Moreover, Facebook Home will be available to certain handsets (a couple of Samsung devices are included in the list of supported smartphones) on the same day. And let’s not forget about the HTC One, one of Galaxy S4’s main rivals this year, which is currently available for pre-order from multiple carriers and retailers – with some versions already out of stock – and heading to stores in the following week.

What Samsung didn’t include in this new Galaxy S4 presentation are release dates for the handset. The company does say however that the phone “was launched [sic] on 327 carriers in about 155 countries,” although we’ll add that the handset has not reached the hands of consumers, not to mention that not all carriers have actually announced their Galaxy S4 versions yet.

That said, the Galaxy S4 does remain one of the most important handsets of the year, and a clear contender (maybe the only one) to become the best sold Android handset of the year. If you want to see the device in action, check out our hands-on preview of the device in the video above.