The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 are both expected in 2014 and the two devices will likely share similar software and hardware features that revolve around touch and a touch panel that can detect fingers hovering as well as improved S Pen support on the Note 4.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 announcement is rumored for March with a Galaxy Note 4 expected months later in the fall to complete the Samsung flagship lineup for 2014. These two Samsung smartphones represent a joint effort to take on the rumored iPhone 6 and the current iPhone 5s as well as to help Samsung maintain a place as one of the best companies to buy an Android phone from.
Samsung is well-known for sharing features between these two devices, and as Samsung executives share details about a Galaxy S5 release and a new design a new rumor arrives suggesting a mix of metal and plastic.
A new report from etnews suggests Samsung locked in Synaptics as the supplier of the touch portion of the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 screen which will bring improved Air View, Air Gesture and S Pen support to the new Samsung Galaxy smartphones in 2014.
Samsung already allows users to use these Air features to control both devices without touching the display and to use the S pen included with the Galaxy Note 3 for notes and drawing. Here is a brief summary of the Air features found on the Galaxy devices.
- Air View – Hover a finger or the S Pen over a message or photo to see more details without touching the display or leaving the main page.
- Air Gesture – Move a hand across the display without touching it to swipe through photos or interact with other apps on the Note 3 and Galaxy S4.
- S Pen – Draw and write with a pressure sensitive display that lets users draw with details and write more naturally.
According to this new report Synaptics’ new technology will allow Samsung to recognize fingers hovering above the screen at a greater distance than on the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 and to recognize gestures from farther away as well. The Samsung Galaxy S5 would be the first device we could see this new technology in, which could open up new use cases for Air gestures which may work farther away and could come with greater reliability and or new control features.
At CES 2014 we saw advances in gesture controls from Intel and Lenovo with a new camera capable of distinguishing the placement of a hand and separating a user from the background at Intel’s booth and the Lenovo webcam capable of letting users control music playback and volume with simple gestures. If Samsung is able to ship the Galaxy S5 with better touch and gesture sensors it would not be surprising to see new corresponding software features.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 could also offer better S Pen functionality with a more sensitive touch component capable of sensing pen point touches with pressure as low as 2.5 pi, which would allow for more realistic handwriting and drawing on the screen. According to the Synaptics insider the price of this technology will drop and it is a single layer solution, but it is not clear if this will help Samsung reduce the thickness of the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 as similar screen breakthroughs have enabled in the past.
Alleged Samsung Galaxy S5 TouchWiz software leaked earlier this month, showing a new design that could arrive on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4, but it did not specifically address new Air View or Air Gesture features.