Samsung Galaxy S4: New Sensors Enable Decentralized Innovation
Yesterday, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 launched in an elaborate presentation at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. What caught my eye the most was the inclusion of new sensors, that allow the phone to collect more data about the user and her outside environment — enabling a new wave of developer and app innovation. Aside from the already standard accelerometer, RGB light, digital compass, proximity, gyroscope and barometer, the Galaxy S4 introduced 3 new sensors: temperature, humidity and IR Gesture.
In today’s world of decentralized software development (think: app ecosystem), perhaps the most important thing a device manufacturer can do is build in new hardware features of this nature. Even if the device won’t ship at launch with a full suite of programs taking advantage of these new sensors, allowing application developers access to real time temperature and humidity information, or hand and finger gestures, can inspire a whole new wave of app innovation.
After all, most of the functionality of a smartphone is lines of code wrapped around data inputs that the device takes in, whether that is voice commands, time, GPS location data, or Samsung’s new eye-reading functionality that lets the users scroll with their eyes (just a new use of a previous generation’s feature — the front facing camera).
If a team of researchers can figure out a way to monitor your heart rate remotely using a smartphone’s camera, who knows what a huge ecosystem of app developers can build with temperature and humidity information and the ability to sense gestures.