Mercedes announced a long-term agreement with Michael Schumacher on Thursday for the retired seven times Formula One champion to become an ambassador for their brand focusing on future technology and road safety.
“The future interests me much more than the present and past,” the German, the most successful grand prix driver who won his titles with Benetton and Ferrari between 1994 and 2004, said in a statement.
“During my Formula One time I always believed that you must not allow yourself to rest on your laurels, but that you must continuously try to improve. In so doing I was very often able to rely on the help of all the technologies available to me in the car and use them to my advantage.”
Schumacher retired at the end of last season at the age of 43 after a three-year comeback with Mercedes.
Ladies and gents, the waiting is over – Samsung has just officially unveiled the Galaxy S 4. An iterative device, the Samsung Galaxy S 4 looks almost identical to its predecessor the S III, but adds on a slightly larger, sharper 5-inch 1080p display, a snappier processor and an updated, 13-megapixel camera.
Designwise, the S 4 is an almost identical twin to the S III: a slightly thinner 7.9mm one (the S III was 8.6mm thick), with a narrower bezel taking up more of the front leaving little space for everything else. The screen is a Super AMOLED one, a sharp 441ppi display with deep blacks and great viewing angles. Buttons are the same as on the S III: the single big physical home key on the front surrounded by a capacitive back and settings buttons. On the left side is the volume rocker and on the right a lock key hiding an IR blaster underneath.
And yes, the Galaxy S 4 is made out of plastic and you are not the only one disappointed by that.
Samsung seems to have adopted Apple’s approach to devices – a two year cycle, a tick year when a new design is unveiled and a tock year focusing on software. This is obviously a tock year for the Samsung Galaxy S series, and the S 4 comes with a plethora of new software features: Air View with its hover based actions borrowed from the Note series and Air Gestures for a Kinect-like interface that allow you to make a swiping gesture in front of the display to scroll up or down. Then you have the Smart Scroll and Pause where the device tracks your eyes.
Those are just a few of the novelties that come with the updated Nature TouchWiz UX, Samsung’s refreshed skin running on top of the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.
Skinny on the inside, the Galaxy S 4 is a beast on the inside running on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chip with a quad-core 1.9GHz Krait 300 processor. Now that’s what the U.S. version will have and it of course comes equipped with a 4G LTE connectivity. The international version is featuring Samsung’s home-grown Exynos 5 Octa chip running at 1.6GHz. Internal memory starts at 16GB, and you also have a 32GB and 64GB versions, all expandable via microSD cards of up to 64 gigs.
Samsung is also bundling a serious 2,600mAh battery that should easily get you through a day of use, and the device features NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.The 13-megapixel main camera with a single LED flash bulges slightly on the back, promising to capture a stunning amount of details. And here is another area where Samsung brings its software magic. Again, we have a bunch of new little camera features. Dual shot for once allows you to simultaneously record footage on your rear and front cameras, while Cinema Photo basically makes a GIF for you and Story Album stitches all footage and stills into an album.
One thing we are excited about is the huge number of sensors that Samsung included in the S 4. Along the traditional accelerometer and gyro, there are a temperature and humidity as well as a gesture sensor for the Kinect-like Air Gestures functionality.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4 will go on sale on a whopping 327 operators in 155 countries at the end of April. There are no price details yet but we’d guess prices will start from $200 on a two-year contract.
At the official Galaxy S4 announcement in New York on Thursday, Samsung Mobile chief JK Shin mentioned the phone will hit store shelves at the end of April, but didn’t say anything about the pricing.
Well, the beans have been sort of unintentionally spilled by the company’s website in the terms and conditions of an ongoing giveaway.
There, each of the 48 Galaxy S4 phones that are up for grabs has been listed with an “approximate retail value” of $579.
However, the price is most probably before taxes, which are added at the point of sale. Still, the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S4 would be cheaper than the Apple iPhone 5, which currently retails for $649 SIM-free.
The official pricing of the S4 hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung yet so don’t take it for granted, but $579 isn’t too far off what the Galaxy S3 cost last year when it was officially launched so.
With just a few hours to go before the Samsung Unpacked event kicks off in New York, clearer images of the much-anticipated flagship smartphone have emerged on the Web.
This time, Chinese tech Web site, it168.com, claims that it has gotten an engineering prototype of the Galaxy S4. Engineering prototypes are pretty close to the final product, so it’s highly likely that this won’t deviate much from what will eventually be unveiled.
Specs-wise, the Web site’s details are pretty spot on–a 4.99-inch full-HD screen, 13-megapixel camera and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS. Under the hood, it will pack Samsung’s 8-core Exynos Octa 5 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.
Interestingly, the it168.com prototype is able to support dual-SIM and dual-standby (GSM and WCDMA) mode, so we reckon that this will be a China-only version. Although this would probably also be welcome in many other parts of Asia if made available.
As it turns out, the S4 does have that much-rumored eye-tracking feature, albeit with a twist. According to it168.com’s photo captions, as long as the handset detects your gaze on a Web page, it can scroll up and down the text if you tilt the device accordingly. The site claims that the feature didn’t work too well and pinned it down to the non-final software version.
Also, according to our translations, the S4 will have Smart Pause, which is the ability to pause a video when the user looks away–a feature LG also announced for the Optimus G Pro today. Coincidence?
The Note 2’s Air View feature–where hovering over supported apps (both native and third-party) and menus with the S Pen pulls up a preview–will also be present in the S4, except that it works without a stylus but your finger instead.
After lighting up Times Square with teaser ads about the upcoming Unpacked event in NYC, where every geek worth their salt expects them to unveil the Galaxy S 4, Samsung is now taking things live and artistic.
No, we aren’t talking about Jeremy, the kid with the British accent its ad agency hired for those teaser Unpacked vids, but rather some mob dancing directly on Times Square, old school-style, with 1920s gangster spats to boot. Oh, the performers have “4” printed on the back of their coats, and the spats are classic black and white, so, duh.
The Samsung Galaxy S III was a master-class in secret keeping by Samsung, but its successor seems much harder to keep under wraps. Earlier we saw the first live photos of the alleged dual-SIM version of the Galaxy S IV for China Unicom and now we get to see a prototype unit on video.
Given the similarities between the leaked smartphone and the official image that Samsung teased earlier today, it’s quite possible that this is, in fact, the real deal. Let’s have a look at the video first:
The most important thing to notice is, of course the Samsung Galaxy S IV design, which is pretty similar to that of its predecessor. The back panel seems to be made of a different kind of plastic, though, and the smartphone seems to be slimmer overall (judging by size of the standard 3.5mm audio jack compared to the overall thickness).
A quick screenshot-based calculation points to a thickness of just under 8mm, which is a notable improvement over the 8.6mm of the Galaxy S III, but then again, the resolution of the video is a quite low so take this with a pinch of salt.
The video also shows us a confirmation of the Samsung Galaxy S IV removable back panel, hot-swappable microSD card slot and 2600 mAh battery. The loudspeaker has also been relocated from alongside the camera lens to the bottom left corner of the back panel.
Towards the end we also get a glimpse of the system info screen of the main menu, which shows the Android 4.2.1 platform that the Galaxy S IV will likely be running at launch.