Yesterday Samsung unveiled their newest flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S3 has been one of the most successful smartphones sold to date, selling over 50 million units since launching their device in May 2012.
The S4 is very similar to the S3 in terms of aesthetic design, though wielding a slightly larger screen (5" vs. the S3's 4.8" screen). The display quality is probably one of the best you can get right now (S4's 441 pixels/inch vs. the S3's 306 pixels/inch). The S4 is also slightly lighter (by 3 grams) and thinner as well.
The heart of the phone, the processor, has been getting better as well: The S4 packs a 1.9GHz quad-core Quamcomm 600 processor, while the international version will have a 1.6Ghz Exynos octa-core processor. I think what's interesting to note is that most most Android apps can't even fully utilize the capabilities of this many cores yet. What then, is the point of cramming more cores into the phone? What is the point if it doesn't affect the end-users impression of the phone's snappiness, multi-tasking, or going about daily tasks like checking e-mail?
Energy efficiency. Making sure these cores use less energy when not being fully utilized and seemless transition to full speed when needed is the next task to accomplish in newer phones. The Exynos octa-core processor has multiple cores that are not created equal. Some of the cores are more "energy-friendly" cores that are engaged when the phone is put into a state of less intensive use. Will this be the next step in the creation of smartphones that can last the whole day on a single charge? But then again, graphene may take over the world too.
Looking at Samsung's game plan with the S4 though, it is apparent that they don't want to "fix what's not broken." The S3 and S4 are very similar, and for a reason too. Some websites even called the S4 the "Galaxy S 3S," pointing to Apple's marketing with their "S" models on their iPhones.
Another thing is apparent as well: Samsung is focusing on software development on their phones instead of only beefing up their hardware. Their TouchWiz UI has been hacked up so much from the bare Android UI that it's almost it's own OS. It has added a lot of useful features to Android, for the better as well. With the coming of the S4, they are including new features such as eye-scrolling, multiple-camera capture, hover-over the screen to preview videos, and much more. They are stressing software innovation to utilize the amazing hardware they stuffed into their phones. My opinion: I think they are going in the right direction. After all, what's the point of beefing up hardware if the software doesn't yet exist to utilize this yet?
I wouldn't call the S4 anything revolutionary, but it is definitely a pleasant upgrade from the S3.