The Samsung Galaxy S IV will indeed come with support for some touchless gestures, as previously reported. It will also feature the traditional (for Samsung, at least) physical Home button, but won’t come with a bundled stylus like the devices in the Galaxy Note line. That’s the information that originated in South Korea today, and you should take it all as seriously as you take any rumor about a yet-unannounced device.
That said, it makes some sense for the Koreans to want to keep the S and Note lines separate. After all, this way they can possibly milk more sales from prospective customers. So it seems that the Note series will keep the S Pen stylus as a differentiating factor compared to Samsung’s other smartphones and tablets. No stylus almost certainly means that the software overlay that the company will bundle with the Galaxy S IV won’t be as comprehensive as the one seen in the Galaxy Note II (since the latter has a great focus on stylus-related features).
The Galaxy S IV won’t break with Samsung’s way of doing things and will keep the physical Home button and the Menu and Back buttons at its sides (there’s no reason to think these will not be capacitive as usual). So Samsung continues to ignore Google’s Android design guidelines that, since version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) have favored an arrangement with on-screen software-rendered buttons for phones. Obviously, the Korean company isn’t the only one doing this (HTC also comes to mind), but it is the most successful Android vendor at the moment so anything it does may be copied by others unfortunately.
Interestingly, the position of the Back and Menu buttons may be swapped compared to virtually all of Samsung’s previous smartphones. If this report is to be believed, the Back button will sit to the left of the centrally-placed Home key, while the Menu button will be to its right. This makes sense to us (just look at where the Back arrow sits in your Web browser), but it’s pretty unexpected that Samsung would just change that after years of doing things differently.
Finally, once again there’s been talk of touchless gestures being supported by the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone. These could render the stylus unneeded for certain interactions.
The Galaxy S IV could go into production next month, and it could arrive in stores at the end of March or in April. Previously rumored specs for it include a 4.99-inch 1080p Full HD Super AMOLED touchscreen and wireless charging support. Samsung is expected to unveil its next-gen flagship at a special event in the near future.
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