NEW YORK CITY — There’s been a lot of hype and a lot of leaks, but tonight is finally the moment we get to see what Samsung has up its sleeve with its new flagship Android smartphone — the Galaxy S IV.
VentureBeat National Editor Devindra Hardawar and I showed up the iconic Radio City Music Hall in New York City for the event.
Here’s our play-by-play (and pictures!) of what went down tonight:
7:58 p.m.: The Galaxy S IV launch event is coming to a close. The host has thanked us for coming, and we honestly can’t wait to get out of here.
Good night folks!
7:56 p.m.: Talking health. “S Health” is ideal as a “supplement” to your doctor and it can help you track your calorie counts. There’s also a pedometer built-in that can track your steps and stairs climbed.
7:54 p.m.: “Air Gesture” lets you wave at your S IV to answer your call.
“Smart Scroll/Pause” uses eye-tracking so when you are watching a video and turn your head, it will automatically pause the video. When your eyes are back on the screen, the video turns back on.
7:53 p.m.: Video call time. There’s a feature called “Dual Video Call” so two different people can be on your call at the same time. So… a three-way video call instead of a two-way video call.
7:50 p.m.: Now we’ve got a bunch of women on stage dancing together, all holding Galaxy S IV phones in their hands. The ladies are using a new “Group Play” feature where you can all listen to the same song being streaming from one Galaxy S IV. There’s also the ability to share photos between several phones instantaneously.
7:45 p.m.: Still more features being talked about. The “Samsung Hub” is a place where you can find all of your media. The “Samsung Knox” feature secures your phone and promises better security that’s based on the same tech used by I.T. managers in the United States government. (Security is a pretty big deal these days with all that Android malware floating around…)
7:45 p.m.: The Galaxy S IV is apparently “glove friendly.” We’ll see…
7:42 p.m.: And now we’re hearing about the “S Voice Drive” feature. It makes it easy to do tasks while you are driving. There’s a navigator and hands-free access for calls, messages, music, weather, and more.
7:37 p.m.: Now we’re getting a talk about the “Story Album” feature. The S IV will recommend that you make a Story Album when you are in a location you don’t spend a lot of time in (on vacation) and taking photos. There’s also the ability to send your photos in a digital album to a service to create a physical photo album and have it sent to you. (It costs $10 to $30 bucks.)
7:35 p.m.: Samsung is hyping up the Galaxy S IV’s “S Translation.” It can translate several languages in real time and there’s even the ability to translate off a piece of paper with the camera on back.
7:31 p.m.: The kid from the terrible Galaxy S IV teaser trailers is now tap dancing for us. The kid isn’t a good actor, but he’s a really talented dancer. I’m not sure what this has to do with phones.
7:30 p.m.: Samsung is using the Radio City Music Hall stage as if we are watching a Broadway show. A really crappy Broadway show. The people on stage are showing ways to use the Galaxy S IV camera and sharing features.
7:24 p.m.: Samsung marketing exec Ryan Bidan is now on stage, laying down the phone’s specs:
Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen (441 pixels-per-inch)
13-megapixel camera on back
2-megapixel camera on front
2GB of RAM
16/32/64GB internal storage + MicroSD slot
New, upgraded user experience
IR LED (remote control)
Temperature and humidity sensors
7:21 p.m.: Shin continues to tease all the things the Galaxy S IV can do and how it will “enrich” our lives.
7:18 p.m.: Shin has announced the phone — “the Galaxy S IV!” On the screen behind him, Samsung is calling it a “life companion.”
7:18 p.m.: Shin continues to tell us all things that we “imagine” a smartphone should do — translation, playing games with friends at the same time, living room interactions, and health care help.
“What we will show you tonight is innovation … the way that people aspire to live,” Shin said. “A device that helps us. A life companion that will help you live a simpler life.”
7:15 p.m.: Samsung mobile head JK Shin is here welcoming us.
“We will imagine the possibilities, the bold new directions … for how a smartphone will change our lives,” Shin said.
7:12 p.m.: Samsung has opened the show with that kid from the terrible teasers running out on stage and welcoming us to the show. There is a full orchestra here to add to the pomp.
7:09 p.m.: We’re all in our seats waiting for the event to start. The event was supposed to begin at 7 p.m., but since we are in such a massive venue for this sort of thing, a late start is not terribly surprising.
Photos by Devindra Hardawar and Sean Ludwig