I’m always a bit hesitant about investing too much in the horse race between tech companies jockeying to unveil The Next Big Smartphone. What many trot out as a thoroughbred of innovation usually limps across the finish line as a forgettable nag with forgettable features.
But Samsung’s new Galaxy S IV might be worth paying attention to, especially since it’s expected to boast an exciting new feature that’s anything but forgettable: Eye-scrolling.
According to the New York Time’s Bits Blog, the phone will track a user’s eyes so that when they reach the bottom of a page, the software will automatically scroll down and reveal subsequent content.
A Samsung employee who had tried the phone spoke with the Times on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media. Samsung will hold a Galaxy S IV press conference in New York City on March 14.
In January, Samsung filed for an “Eye Scroll” trademark in Europe. In February, the company filed for the “Samsung Eye Scroll” trademark in the United States. The patent application described the service as “Computer application software having a feature of sensing eye movements and scrolling displays of mobile devices, namely, mobile phones, smartphones and tablet computers according to eye movements; digital cameras; mobile telephones; smartphones; tablet computers.”
Eye-tracking systems, however, aren’t necessarily new. Samsung’s current phone, the Galaxy S III, already has a feature called Smart Stay that uses a front-facing camera to know when a person is looking at it. That way, the phone knows when to light up or dim the screen.
Still, this new eye-scrolling feature sounds like a horse of a different color. Place your bets, this might be an interesting race.
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