Samsung’s Galaxy S IV Will Scroll Content Based On Eye Movement, Report Says

Samsung is about to show off a new flagship phone at an event on March 14, and details continue to leak out about the new smartphone. The New York Times’ Brian X. Chen reports today that eye movement-based content scrolling will be among the Galaxy S IV’s features. Chen’s source, a Samsung employee, also says that the emphasis will be on software, not hardware at the upcoming press event.

Samsung’s next smartphone will be able to track a user’s eyes and scroll articles and other types of content based on where they’re focused, the source said, so that if a user was reading a web page and hit the bottom, the device could automatically scroll more content up into view. There’s no guarantee it will be demoed on stage, according to the article, but the Korean company should be showing off more new software features, instead of demoing hardware advancements.

A software-centric approach to an Android flagship device launch is nothing new. HTC showed off its own new flagship device, the One, at an event in NYC last month and the bulk of the presentation focused on Sense 5.0. Android OEMs seem keen to highlight what it is that makes the experience of using their devices fundamentally different from using the Android phones of other makers, a good strategy when each successive generation of devices seem to share more in common than not when it comes to specs and internal components.

The NYT points out that Samsung already has trademarks on “Eye Scroll” technology, as it could be applied to smartphones as well as tablets, cameras and other devices. A trademark in this case might actually be more indicative of product plans than a patent, since it demonstrates at least some intent to actually bring the named product to market.

Eye movement-based scrolling could work well, but only if perfectly executed. If the tech registers too many false positives or disappoints in other regards, it’ll end up being more of an annoyance than a feature, and users will simply turn it off. But if executed properly, it could definitely be a decent differentiating factor. And if Samsung opens up access to scrolling features to third-party apps, that could really help its platform stand apart from others in the Android space. But again, if it’s even a bit touchy in terms of implementation, the eye-tracking tech will likely be more of a forgettable edition than anything with real value, at least for this generation.