Last night Samsung unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4 in front of a packed Radio City Music Hall in New York. AppNewser was there to get some hands-on time with the company’s new flagship phone.
Radio City was a madhouse. Doors opened at 6 with the presentation supposed to start at 7. Despite arriving right at 6, the line was already wrapped around itself down the block (see the photo to the left). I didn’t get in the doors til 6:50.
Once inside, I was ushered up to the mezzanine, as the orchestra level had filled up. The glow of phones, tablets and laptops filled the theater in the minutes leading up to the presentation. As for that presentation, it was… interesting. You can watch it here to get all the details on the phone, and see all of the odd (yet attractive) set pieces they used.
The crowd was excited for the phone, not the presentation. I had never been in a crowd that cheered so loudly when the words “4G LTE” were uttered, or how a number of audible gasps and “whoa”s were heard when a burst mode on the camera was demoed.
After the presentation, we were sent back into the lobby, where tables were set up for guests to try out the phone. Of interest to media companies: the phone knows when you are looking at it, so when you are watching a video and turn away for whatever reason, it automatically pauses it for you. It will resume when you look at it again. The feature worked surprisingly well, even with a number of people around me. You can also scroll down and swipe between pages by tilting the phone or hovering your finger just above the screen: helpful if you have hands covered in barbecue sauce.
Both the demo tables and the open bars had very long lines, but people were happy and excited to just try the phone out for 30 seconds, or get a Heineken poured. Downstairs, picnic basket dinners were being handed out, including a cookie with the Samsung Galaxy logo on it.
Samsung clearly went all-out for the event, and the phone has some features that are exciting for media companies and consumers. The camera is impressive, allowing you to insert yourself into photos you take, and the ability to add sound to still photos is exciting, and adds a totally different dimension to taking them. The impressive number of things it does hands-free make it easy to use in the car or with sticky fingers.
Considering the Galaxy S3 was one of the best-selling phones of last year, expect the Galaxy S4 to overtake it in short order.