Samsung launches Galaxy S4 on Broadway

Samsung launches Galaxy S4 on Broadway

New York City — if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. Perhaps that’s why Samsung Electronics choose NYC, and specifically Radio City Music Hall, to launch its new Galaxy S4 smartphone. The Android phone is expected to be a major competitor to Apple’s iPhone in the battle for smartphone dominance, and Samsung went all-out for last week’s launch. We take a closer look at the launch event, and, of course, the phone, in this slideshow.


Samsung takes to the streets

For those that couldn’t get a ticket to the event, Samsung set up a live screening of the launch event in Times Square. And it was also on the streets before the event building up the hype, as these nattily-dressed gentlemen with the number 4 on their back demonstrate. It’s difficult to stand out on the streets of New York City at the best of times, but there was some buzz in the air about the launch.


A long line for Radio City

Separate lines each hundreds long snaked around Radio City Music hall as media, bloggers and smartphone groupies lucky enough to score a ticket (mostly) patiently waited to enter the venue and get a look at the S4. People even approached those waiting in the line to see if they could still get tickets — one phone fan had driven from Boston hoping to make it in. Sadly, he was out of luck.


HTC goes guerilla

Not willing to let a crowd of media, bloggers and phone enthusiasts go by without a little guerilla marketing, Samsung smartphone rival HTC was on hand to flag its own flagship device, HTC One. The vendor had representatives, including these ladies, passing out chips and hot choclate on a chilly New York evening, and product managers were also on hand to offer on the street HTC One demos.


First cocktails, then smartphones

The elegant lobby of Radio City Music Hall was the first stop before the launch event, as attendees enjoyed a cocktail and swapped predictions on what new features and specs the Samsung Galaxy 4S might include, and debated what the response from rival Apple, used to being in a position of dominance, might be to the flashy launch event.


Samsung’s Steve Jobs

While he may be no Steve Jobs, Samsung’s mobile division president JK Shin did his best to inject some energy into the launch event. He told attendees that the innovations in the S4 were inspired by the everyday challenges of people, such as the Dad that’s always behind the camera for family milestones, or trying to scroll with sticky fingers.


Meet the Samsung Galaxy S4

Shin shows off the new phone, soon to be available in both black and white models.

“We’ve taken technology and innovation forward to help us get the most of what matters in life,” said Shin. “These ideas have been conceived from our observations of real life, which is the most important inspiration.”


Up close and personal with the S4

The Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Galaxy S4  boats a 5” Full HD Super AMOLED display with 441ppi Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 3. It’s powered by either a 1.9GHz quad core or 1.6GHz octa-core processor, depending on the market. It has 13MP back and 2MP front cameras and supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless, as well as GPS, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0.


S4 on the side

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is 136.6 mm long by 69.8 mm wide and, as you can see from the side view, is just 7.9 mm thick. It weighs in at about 130 grams. On board memory maxes out at 64MB, and is expandable up to 64GB by MicroSD. It’s packed with sensors – an accelerometer, RGB light, geomagnetic, proximity, gyro, barometer, temperature and humidity, and gesture, and uses a 2,600 mAh battery to power it all.


Dwarfing the Bold

When viewed side by side with my BlackBerry Bold 9900, the size of the Samsung Galaxy S4 becomes clear. But then again, the Galaxy S3 was also larger than the average smartphone, appealing to those users that don’t mind trading a bit of size for more screen real estate. The comparison also shows how far screen technology has come since the Bold launched, with the Super AMOLED display really popping.


Checking your messages

A look at the unified messaging inbox for the Samsung Galaxy S4, where all your messages, be they e-mail, IMs or text messages, are visible in one place, along with a headshot (if one is available) to jog your memory of who you’re communicating with, just in case their name isn’t ringing a bell.


Getting fit? There’s an app for that

We mentioned all the sensors in the Samsung Galaxy S4. Well, one of them is a pedometer, and its tied to this inboard fitness app, which can track how many steps you take with your smartphone throughout the day. You can set goals, and program in what you eat to help track calories consumed versus calories burned. A number of fitness accessories are also available, under the S Health banner.


Which way is the subway?

Another cool new feature with the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a translator app, called S Translator. It provides instant translation on e-mails, text messages and chats, and also supports instantaneous translation with speech to text or text to speech in a number of popular languages. handy for your next trip overseas.


Going hands on

After the formal program was over, the crowd swarmed the demo table to get a closer look at the Galaxy S4s — all tethered to the table for safety. The tether will come off in Canada in the second quarter, when the smartphone launches with with Bell, Eastlink, Fido, Koodoo, Mobilicity, Rogers, Sasktel, Telus, Videotron, Virgin Mobile and Wind Mobile. Pricing information will be available closer to launch.

Click here to readSamsung launches Galaxy S4 with translator and touchless scrolling


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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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