Samsung’s attempts to differentiate the Galaxy S4 from the competition with touch-free scrolling and eye motion-sensitive tracking technology have been dubbed 'gimmicky' by consumers, ahead of the handset’s official street date on April 26th.
Unveiled last month amid much Broadway-style ballyhoo, the fourth-generation Galaxy S handset has been heavily sold on features such as the ability to scroll through web pages and documents by tilting the device, as well as the option to preview pictures and videos by hovering a finger over the display.
Marketing material for the handset also makes much of 'Smart Pause', which uses the Galaxy S4’s front-facing camera and eye-tracking technology to automatically pause a video if the owner looks away from the screen.
However, while these kind of attention-grabbing features made for an entertaining launch event and are undoubtedly USPs, it seems that the public isn’t convinced they’re of much practical use.
In a survey of 1,705 smartphone fans conducted by uSwitch Tech, over two-thirds (66.8 per cent) said they felt that the Galaxy S4’s eye-tracking tech, floating gestures and tilt-to-scroll feature are “just gimmicks”.
So that’s pretty damning, isn’t it? Well, yes and no. While it’s sure to disappoint Samsung, we’re reading the result as the response of savvy readers who recognise a ‘novelty’ feature when they see it, but are also smart enough to see that the S4 is a fine and hugely powerful bit of kit underneath the user-interface fripperies.
That certainly seems to be the way the phone is perceived if pre-order interest is anything to go by. According to Phones 4U, the S4 received five times as many orders on day one as the Galaxy S3, suggesting it’s well on course to smash the current-gen phone’s 40 million sales.