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Samsung's Galaxy S4: What the press is saying

March 15, 2013: 7:59 AM ET

No reviews yet, just some analysis based on specs and a few minutes of hands-on

Galaxy S4

Galaxy S4

FORTUNE -- The overnight verdict: Incremental improvements in hardware, a ton of new software features, and a general agreement that Apple has a fight on its hands.

Roger Cheng, CNET: Samsung has an unstoppable hit in Galaxy S4. "Last year, Samsung spent $401 million on advertising just in the U.S., with a vast majority going toward television, according to Kantar Media... Samsung is now reaping the rewards of that effort. In truth, the company could have released anything with the Galaxy S4 moniker, and it still would have garnered impressive sales. There is so much momentum behind Samsung and Galaxy S that many consumers -- particularly ones who don't avidly read tech Web sites such as CNET -- will simply gravitate toward the Galaxy S4 on name recognition alone."

Brent Rose, Gizmodo: Samsung Galaxy S IV Hands On: Everything New Is Old Again. "After a lot of teasing, and a lot of leaking, the Galaxy S IV is finally here. Last year's version, the S III, remains the world's most popular Android phone, having sold over 40 million units. Can the S IV live up to that kind of hype? Can Samsung make us feel like we're living in the future? We took a deep dive into the S IV earlier today, and the verdict is in. It just may not be the one you were hoping for."

Min-Jeong Lee and Yun-Hee Kim, Wall Street Journal: Samsung Bets Software Can Lift Galaxy S 4. "At a flashy event at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, Samsung touted a number of new software features for the Galaxy S 4, including a function that lets users control the smartphone screen with their eyes [ed: see next entry]. Users can also wave their hands to scroll up and down a Web page or accept a call, or hover their fingers to preview the content of an email, image or video, without having to open it."

Florence Ion, ArsTechnica: Samsung shines the spotlight on the new 8-core Galaxy S 4. "Before its debut, the new handset was rumored to include an eye-tracking technology called Smart Scroll, which uses the front-facing camera to follow along as the user's eyes moves through content on the screen. The feature was removed or altered before launch and now uses a tilting method to help with this scrolling functionality. It will rely on facial recognition and the physical tilt of the device to function. The Galaxy S 4 will also include Smart Pause, which pauses video if it recognizes that the user is no longer watching what is currently playing on screen."

Brian X. Chen and Nick Wingfield, New York Times: Samsung Introduces New Galaxy Phone: "The Galaxy S 4 has several notable features. One, Dual Camera, allows the user to take a photograph with the front and rear-facing cameras simultaneously. At a basketball game, for example, a user can shoot a photograph of the game with the rear camera and the user's reaction to it with the front camera; the two shots appear in one photograph... Samsung also added Group Play, which will allow multiple Galaxy phones to link together to play a game together. It uses Wi-Fi to bridge a connection."

Daniel Eran Dilger, AppleInsider: Samsung's Galaxy S4 distracts attention away from Android. "Samsung's latest product launch aspired to beat Apple at its own game of theatrical showmanship, sparing no expense to deliver a media blitz following the pattern of Microsoft, HP and, most recently, Sony. But while it focused attention on being "an Apple," what Samsung didn't say is perhaps the most notable aspect of the event: Samsung made virtually no mention of the Galaxy S 4 being part of Google's Android platform."

Samsung (005930.KS) closed down 2.63% on the Korean exchange and Apple (AAPL) was up more than 1% in pre-market trading in New York.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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