The innovative gimmick: Is the Samsung Galaxy S IV too 'smart??

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: March 6, 2013

 

The Galaxy S IV is the talk of the town lately with its reported upcoming release (or announcement) happening on March 14. As we get closer to the date, more and more “leaked” images will appear for us to speculate over, and today is no different as leaked images have surfaced of more “Smart” features that Samsung is rumored to incorporate with the Galaxy S IV, and I for one am torn between the new features being more innovative or gimmicky.

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for the Galaxy S IV. The Galaxy S III was (and still is) a fantastic and relevant device, so I can only imagine just how amazing the Galaxy S IV will be in its entirety. I mean, this commercial even shows that a blinding light is omitted from the box as you open it, and that only happens either when something really good or really shiny is inside. If I open a box for a Galaxy S IV and the blinding light doesn’t happen, I’m going to be really disappointed. But that’s a story for another day. While I’m excited for the overall release of the device, I’m becoming a little skeptical of the “key” features that I’m seeing leaked.

Assuming the images are true, the Galaxy S IV is supposed to feature something called Smart Scrolling, which follows your eyes and scrolls for you so you don’t have to lift a finger. I had to ponder this one for a little while because I really had to think where this would be that useful. I think the only time this would truly be useful is when I do most of my reading up on the news before I go to bed, but even then it probably wouldn’t work as I’m sure the device needs light in order for the camera to detect where my eyes are moving like it does with Smart Stay, a feature introduced with the Galaxy S III. Also, as addressed by many, I’m skeptical on how battery life will be affected if the camera is on at all times – not to mention any paranoia I have had in the past about a camera secretly watching me certainly won’t be settled by using this device.

In addition to Smart Scrolling you also have Smart Pause, which is said to pause a video when you turn your head away and un-pauses whenever your head faces the phone again. At first I thought, “Oh hey, that’s kind of cool.” But then I thought about the repercussions these new features could lead us to.  I know this is just Samsung being innovative, but my phone has already enabled me enough as it is. I no longer have to get up and go to my computer to check websites that I frequent, I don’t have to memorize phone numbers (which is super handy in the case of an emergency, let me tell you), and I don’t even have to do so much as hold my phone up to my face and command Siri to do something for me if I so please. Our computers, or smartphones, are the new slave, and I’d be lying through my teeth if some of this didn’t scare me just a little bit. Yeah, you have the option to turn them off, but then why pay for more than you need?

Samsung is doing a good job of making a commotion about this product. I suspect the success of the Galaxy S III plays a big part in the anticipation surrounding this device, not to mention these new features that are actually new. I’ll give Samsung a hand for being innovative and thinking outside the box. Any time I try to think of what more my phone could possibly do I always come up empty-handed, so kudos to them for paving the pathway towards the future.

I do realize that there are certain things that a company needs to do in order to stand out from the crowd, and what’s another smartphone with the same specs we’ve already seen over and over again? People would be very disappointed if Samsung released a Galaxy S IV with the same features, higher specs, and a slightly differential hardware design. Naturally coming up with new features they can call their own is necessary for piquing interest in the device, but I’m a cynical person and I can’t help but find these concepts a little gimmicky.

All skepticism aside, if Samsung can make the features work with the rest of the product (I’m talking battery life, efficiency, and accessibility) then I can easily see this device being just as successful, if not more successful than the Galaxy S III. I could very well be wrong about the functionality of these features and just not thinking about how well they work through the eyes of somebody actually using the device; it kind of goes back to my theory that, much like the increased memory in our devices, you won’t use it until you have it. 

Readers, what are your feelings on these features from the Galaxy S IV? Are all the “Smart” features too smart, or are they something you look forward to using? Share your opinions with me in the comments!