Samsung raises stakes with S4 handset launch

SAMSUNG has unveiled its latest flagship handset, the Galaxy S4, as the Korean giant bids to bypass Apple to create the world’s most desirable smartphone.

The handset, unveiled in New York yesterday, contains innovative features such as eye-tracking, which allows users to scroll down or pause videos based on what part of the screen they are looking at.

The handset’s predecessor, the S3, has been the most serious challenger to the iPhone’s crown to date, selling around 50m units worldwide, and on the eve of the S4’s launch, Apple showed it had been rattled by the S3’s success.

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller hit out at Google’s Android software, which Samsung phones use, implying that the experience was inferior to the iPhone’s.

“The Samsung Galaxy S4 is being rumoured to ship with an operating system that is nearly a year old,” Schiller said. “Customers will have to wait to get an update.”

Although Android has proved immensely popular in recent years, and Samsung overtook Apple as the world’s biggest smartphone seller 18 months ago, the firm has never appeared as rattled.

The S4 is thinner than the S3, with a bigger and more detailed screen than the iPhone 5, as well as a 13-megapixel camera to the iPhone’s eight.

Carphone Warehouse chief operating officer Graham Stapleton said that the retailer is “anticipating a massive amount of customer interest in this handset,” when it launches in the UK on 26 April.

BLACKBERRY yesterday announced that its technology will make it to Android handsets and iPhones for the first time. The Canadian company said its Secure Work Space feature, which separates work and personal data, would be opened up to the other platforms.