Software - Camera

Samsung spent comparatively little time talking about the Galaxy S 4 hardware and instead chose to focus mostly on software. While Android 4.2.2 is the underlying OS, Samsung’s customizations are very visible and present throughout the Galaxy S 4 experience.

The user interface and experience is distinctly Samsung. The Touchwiz icon stylings and water sounds that permeate the experience remain intact and mostly unchanged. UI performance is finally at the point on most of these modern devices where it’s just amazingly smooth throughout everything. The Galaxy S 4 is no exception here.

Samsung spent a lot of time adding functionality to its camera app, which now includes the ability to shoot stills and video out of both cameras simultaneously. This is similar in nature to an LG feature we covered last month at MWC, Samsung calls it Dual Camera.

Dual Camera is very easy to activate (there’s a dedicated button in the top left of the camera app). Once activated you can choose from various filters/effects, including a basic split screen mode.

As a way of enhancing stills, Samsung includes support for Sound & Shot - a feature that captures up to 9 seconds of audio alongside a still image.

There’s a new mode dial that allows you to switch between shooting modes, including some new ones like drama shot which lets you take multiple stills in a burst mode and combine them all together to show character progression in a still frame.

Burst shooting can also be used to erase a photo bomb with eraser mode, a feature we’ve seen before (highlight and remove a character from a scene).

On the video side, the Galaxy S 4 introduces Cinema Photo - a feature that lets you shoot a video, highlight areas that you want to continue in motion and have the rest remain static - resulting in an animated gif.

In its final new camera feature is the ability to create, group and stylize albums of your photos. You can create albums locally on the Galaxy S 4, style them with templates, and send them off to print via Blurb. There’s Trip Advisor integration to pull in highlight information about the locations you’ve taken photos at.

The camera software features are aimed at bringing as much of the photo processing/organization experience onto the smartphone as possible. Samsung clearly has the point and shoot market in its crosshairs and it is leveraging the fact that modern smartphones are sophisticated computing platforms in order to go after that market.

Introduction & The Hardware S Translator, Air View/Gesture, Smart Pause/Scroll and More


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  • 10101010 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    No one knows for sure yet about the international S4, but the USA/Qualcomm S4 most likely has a Qualcomm DAC, just as the S3 did. Reply
  • hsew - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Samsung, never stop giving us removable storage and battery please. The HTC one was so close to getting it right.

    If the A15 cores in the Octa are really clocked at JUST 1.2 Ghz, then it may not be as fast as all the excited international folks keep claiming it will be. I would personally prefer the Snapdragon 600. I can't imagine overclocking the asymmetrical Octa will be as easy as overclocking the simpler 600.

    The 600's cores are also apparently tweaked A15 cores with a 15% IPC increase. The 600 vs the Octa is ARM's Core i5 vs Bulldozer.

    Of course, this is assuming that the Octa's A15 cores are actually clocked at JUST 1.2 Ghz. At 1.6 Ghz the advantage of the 1.9 Ghz 600 diminishes, but people, do remember that these are still just phones, not workstation computers...
  • lmcd - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    Uhhh, the 600 isn't using A15s, but besides that...

    And "tweaked" doesn't mean +15%.

    Snapdragon 600 is probably the better chip, though probably not in terms of graphics unless the 600 has a way clocked-up version of that in the S4 Pro (Snapdragon 400)
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    You people... no you're not on the internet....

    quadrant 11782
    antutu 20105
    vellamo 2076 824

    snapdragon 600 @ 1.89
  • 10101010 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    One thing that is abundantly clear from the launch of the S4 is that Samsung understands the future. They understand that mobile devices are the personal computers of the future and that the ability to do a variety of things with the device is important. So they have more sensors, more camera capabilities, apps for health and fitness, more input forms, etc. It is an expansion of capabilities for the human user of the device. And this is going to be what wins the market over time. Google understands this as well which is why their Moto X phone will be very capable as well. These are the two companies that will dominate over the next decade or two. Reply
  • IKeelU - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Everyone understands this, not just Google and Samsung. This was the future 30 years ago when PCs started becoming popular and it continues to be with virtually every computing device. Consoles became entertainment hubs, phones started to do email (then everything). Cramming more into the device has been the driving force of all tech-oriented marketing since forever. Reply
  • 10101010 - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Understanding takes many forms. And the depth of this understanding will determine market success. Look at HTC, Nokia, etc. They basically copy Apple's approach to things which is to make the phone simple. There are no added capabilities such as pedometer, temperature, humidity, more input modes other than touch, camera-based user sensing, etc.

    In Apple's case, there is a flexible interface that allows for many third party add-ons. But Apple's approach doesn't scale nearly as well (from either a cost or convenience perspective) as putting these sensors and features into the phone itself. In the market, Samsung is emerging as a big winner. And they have much more velocity in the market compared to Apple. Google is coming up fast. Google's future phones will have language/information processing capabilities that make other smart phones look dumb.

    In short, Samsung gets it. They're making the right decisions, the right investments. HTC, Nokia, etc. are just trying to be Apple for Android or Apple for Windows Phone and largely failing in the market. At best, they will be niche players because their understanding is surface level only.
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    Yes and that translates to (appl nokia htc) their tech SUCKS.
    That's why a frikkin rectangle is an "awesome industrial design", why black or white is "awesome!" and why a lead metal sharp squared weight is "good build for arthritis and hand pain!!!"

    The level of immensely stupid populace wide and at nearly all tech sites is incredible.
  • WaltC - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    I don't know anyone who "understands" this...;) What I understand is that cell phones will continue to be used primarily as cell phones with all of the limitations inherent in mobile, battery-driven devices designed to fit in the palm of your hand. Try running Crysis 3 on your cell phone, or try having friends over to play co-op games or watch the latest movie--not going to happen on a cell phone, that's for sure. (Can you imagine two couples sitting on a sofa and sharing the latest movie on a 5-inch cell phone screen? I can't.) Trust me--the RGB monitor did not replace the television in the home, and the cell phone is not going to replace the personal computer. The whole cell-phones-are-going-to-replace-the-personal-computer mantra is stupid in the extreme. Sounds like propaganda coming from folks who a)don't like personal computers and b) are frustrated by personal computers. People will still be buying personal computers 20 years from now, and people will still be buying cell phones. One device does not obfuscate the other. And one device never will "do it all." The either-or mentality is just lame.
  • lmcd - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - link

    Doesn't understand that Snapdragon's gonna beat their in-house chip AGAIN... Reply

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