Technology giant Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy S4 smartphone, a handset which allows users to control the screen using their eyes.
The range of new features were revealed at the global launch in New York, including a dual camera function that can take two pictures at once and “smart pause”, which lets users pause a video by looking away from the screen.
“We have taken technology and innovation forward to help us get closer to what matters in life, to help us live a richer, simpler and more full life,” said JK Shin, president and head of IT and mobile communications at Samsung.
The highly-anticipated smartphone is predicted to pose a major threat to Apple and its dominance of the US market.
But investors have largely shrugged off the launch. Shares in Samsung were 2.3% lower in Seoul on Friday.
The device will be on sale in the UK from April 26, and will be available through 327 mobile operators in 155 countries, including Orange, EE and Vodafone.
Samsung is said to be expecting sales of its new handsets to be as high as 10 million per month, largely driven by its new features, which were demonstrated in a theatrical launch event at the Radio City music hall and Times Square.
A heavily emphasised feature was the Galaxy S4’s remote technology which allows users to control functions without touching the 5in (12.7cm) screen.
As well as “smart pause”, “smart scroll” lets users browse through emails without touching the screen, the S4 detecting the movements of the eyes and wrist.
Users can also change music tracks or accept a call with a wave of a hand.
Performers on the Radio City stage acted out role-plays to demonstrate other features.
A ‘doting father’ took photos of his tap-dancing son to show off the dual camera function, which means you can take photos or video using a 13 megapixel rear camera and a two megapixel front camera at the same time and blend the images together, even recording voice tags with them.
Samsung Galaxy S IV key specifications
5-inch full-HD (1080×1920) Super AMOLED display (441 ppi)
1.9GHz quad-core processor/ 1.6GHz octa-core processor (Depending upon region)
16/32/64 GB Storage (expandable by 64GB via microSD slot)
13-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS/ GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, IR LED, MHL 2.0
Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
2,600 mAh battery
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm
The phone also has an in-built translator, which can translate voice or text, can measure temperature and humidity, allows users to activate commands via voice control when driving and even monitors your health.
The S4 also automatically creates “story albums” of photos and videos, which can be synchronised with devices at home, while a “group play” function lets people enjoy music, photos and games with people around them.
Marketed as “slimmer and stronger”, the S4 weighs 130g and is 7.9mm thick, while its AMOLED technology means the screen has a resolution of 441 pixels per inch.
But technology critics have been divided in their opinions, with some saying the phone was just an update that did not feel “revolutionary”.
Web magazine Engadget said it felt the new product “fell flat next to the competition” and that it had an “unabashed focus on features over designs”.
But Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch, said the handset “more than” lived up to its hype.
“With brains as well as beauty, Samsung’s latest effort looks set to be the biggest handset of the year – and that’s in spite of an inevitable iPhone sequel.
“However, several manufacturers are trying to fan the flames of a revival, and a string of strong recent launches from BlackBerry, Sony, and HTC will give Samsung some stiff competition.”
Technology website The Verge said: “There’s a baffling collection of new software here.”
Paul Thompson, managing director of mobile advertising company BlisMedia, said the S4 “set” the benchmark on how a mobile device can be integrated into daily life.
He praised the eye-controlled features as “ground-breaking innovation that could change the face of how we use technology”, saying “there is certainly enough to set the Galaxy S4 apart from the iPhone 5 by some distance”.