Samsung has unveiled the latest in its Galaxy smartphone range, the Galaxy S III, offering a voice control feature to match the Siri function in Apple’s iPhone 4S, as well as an eye recognition function that keeps the screen lit up as long as the user is looking at it.
Introducing the device at an event in London, Samsung head of mobile communications JK Shin described the Galaxy S III as ‘effortlessly smart and intuitively simple’.
Later in the presentation, Samsung’s VP of European telecom operations Jean-Daniel Ayme offered, ‘Technology should be more than just smart’.
"This is a phone that sees, listens and responds,” Ayme said.
He was referring to three new features in particular: eye recognition , voice recognition, and motion recognition.
Demonstrating the features in practice, Ayme first explained Smart Stay, a function which recognises the user’s eye movements and keeps the screen on as long as someone is looking at it.
After this came SVoice, a voice activation function which Ayme demonstrated live - looking up the weather - but which will need proper testing before it can be compared to Siri.
Ayme then showed two functions that were perhaps the most intriguing, both utilising the device’s motion recognition feature.
The first, Direct Call, senses the movement of the phone to the user’s ear, so if a person is texting and decides to make a call instead, all they have to do is lift the device to their ear and it will place that call automatically.
Next came Smart Alert, which senses the movement of being picked up after a period on standby and vibrates if the user has missed any calls or text messages.
Samsung will be releasing SDKs and APIs for these features, meaning developers can find their own ways to utilise them.
As for specs, the Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, an 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel front camera, and will be LTE compatible, although details of this won’t be revealed until the US launch event.
Samsung will launch the device in 145 countries from the end of May, making it the largest launch in Samsung’s history.
Go here to watch a replay of the unpacking.
Update: Vodafone has announced it will offer the Galaxy S III in New Zealand by the end of this month, on its Smart and Smart Data plans.