Today, Samsung officially announced their next flagship phone: Samsung Galaxy S4. After all the seemingly countless leaks  that preceded the announcement, we now have the official details straight from Samsung themselves. Not that that changes much, as it’s now clear that the leaks were indeed legitimate and pretty straight on.
The Galaxy S4 has a 4.99-inch HD Super AMOLED 1080p screen (1920×1080) with an impressive 441ppi. An eight-core Samsung Exynos 5 or quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 will power the phone depending on where you live (USA is getting the Snapdragon S4) version but every S4 will have 2GB of RAM, 16/32/64GB of internal storage with support for microSD upto 64GB, 13-megapixel back camera and 2-megapixel front camera with flash and zero-lag shutter (flash on back only), and a removable 2,600mAh battery.
There will be 3G and 4G versions of the Galaxy S4, and it’s most likely one of the, if not the, first phone to support the 802.11ac WiFi standard. However, it is definitely the first to have a temperature and humidity sensor in addition to the usual accelerometer, gyro, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, etc. The phone also has the increasingly popular IR blaster so you can use your phone as a TV remote.
It will ship with Android 4.2.2, but the phone will have the company’s TouchWiz custom interface — not stock Android.
Samsung is betting big on software features to differentiate the phone, and they announced a lot of them during the event. They really tried to emphasize how the phone is the perfect “life companion” and the software is the reason for that. Features like SmartPause will pause playing videos when the phone detects that you’re no longer looking at it, and SmartScroll will allow you to scroll through email and webpages by simply tilting the screen.
Another previously rumored feature that made an appearance is Air View, which lets you hover your finger over the screen and get things like previews or more info. Air Gesture allows you to swipe through pages without actually touching the phone — by simply waving your hand over the screen.
The S4 will also have a slew of camera features like the dual-camera mode which lets you use both cameras at once, so you can theoretically be in the picture/video while taking the picture/video by utilizing the front and back cameras at the same time. Sound and Shot feature lets you record five seconds of audio before shooting your picture. Eraser, which is probably the best of the camera features, takes composite photos so you can remove unwanted elements (people) from your pictures after taking them.
Samsung is also pushing the device as a fitness tracker with S Health, letting you track things like the amount of calories you burn and your diet. It will sync with third-party devices through Bluetooth to track other things like blood pressure and sugar levels. The temperature and humidity sensor also comes into play here, with S Health giving you that information as well.
Another new feature is the ability to use the phone as a sort of media companion. The IR blaster lets you use it as a remote for your TV, and the phone will sync with Samsung’s Media Hub to let you show photos and videos on the big screen, or discover new media with their new WatchOn service.
Finally, and perhaps the most impressive (for me at least), the Galaxy S4 will be usable even with gloves on. Seriously, that makes a huge difference.
Overall, Samsung upgraded the hardware on Galaxy S4 but the main focus is definitely software; they briefly went over the hardware at the beginning of the presentation and the bulk of the time was spent announcing a ton of new software features. It remains to be seen if this will be enough to ensure their massive success in the smartphone market, but we don’t have to wait long to find out.: Samsung Galaxy S4 is set for release by the end of April on 355 carriers worldwide. It is unclear if American carriers will get Galaxy S4 at the same time as international counterparts or release will be delayed again like with previous Galaxy S phones.
Are you impressed or disappointed with what Samsung announced? Tell us in the comments ! You can also watch the 1-hour long launch event from the video below (skip to roughly 30 mins in, that is when it starts).