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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  • Badelhas - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

  • Grandpa - Sunday, March 17, 2013 - link

    I'd rather have a phone that didn't need a removable battery. The Micro slot would be nice though.
  • jayseeks - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    This phone is most definitely not high end.
  • robert3892 - Monday, April 1, 2013 - link

    That is also why I won't buy the HTC ONe because it has neither a removable battery nor a micro sd card slot
  • kcsween - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - link

    Now if they can only add the front facing dual speakers from the HTC One and we'd have arguably the best phone thus far in 2013.
  • Freakie - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    Am I the only one who caught that this thing has a THERMOMETER?!?! Nearly 67 years of mobile telephony and we FINALLY HAVE A PHONE THAT CAN TELL THE TEMPERATURE! PRAISE THE GOD OF THE TECH GODS!
  • VivekGowri - Thursday, March 14, 2013 - link

    That is actually really cool, I completely missed that.
  • Freakie - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I can't shake the feeling that I am missing something here. It seems no other tech blog is picking up on the fact that there is finally a phone that can tell ambient temperature. Hasn't every smart phone owner ever wanted their phone to do this at some point? This is just one of those awesome tiny details that is small on paper but a "killer" feature in practice, in my opinion of course.
  • Ridgie - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    Potentially lots of problems with a thermometer on a mobile phone, such as accuracy when the device itself is running hot during intensive use or the fact that most of the time the reading will be close to body temperature... The number of caveats, warnings and disclaimers around the feature will detract from its appeal.. I'd be interested to see how they position this feature in the marketing.
  • Freakie - Friday, March 15, 2013 - link

    I can think of a couple of ways to mitigate that. They can simply use the battery's temperature as a basis for how warm the device is in general, or any of the other temperature readings they can get across the chips on the PCB. And with that, they will be able to tell whether it is possible that the phone's internal temperature is interfering with the ambient reading. Then they can display a message along the lines of "We noticed that your device is running a bit warm at the moment which may affect the Ambient Temperature reading. For the most accurate results, please reduce phone activity and try again after the device as lowered in temperature."

    Another thing they could do is simply take minutely readings of ambient and battery temperature (I would think this could still be accomplished while the phone is in deep sleep too, so that it does not create a wake-lock in order to be effective) and then if it detects that both ambient and battery temperature have risen in a specific pattern (battery heating phone up would look different than going from air condition room to 110 degrees outside) in a short amount of time, it can display a similar message about the phone's internal temperature interfering with the reading. All in all I don't think it would actually be too difficult to differentiate between real and artificial ambient temperatures and so the caveats and disclaimers wouldn't be too much.... If they do it right that is =P

    I think it's a nice touch and a small detail that hopefully can be the start of a mainstream feature. Features gotta start to be built up somehow, after all!

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