"It's unreal. Totally amazing," says the awkwardly besuited child actor staring giddily into a digitally-lit box in Samsung's latest viral campaign for the new Galaxy 4 phone. But is it really?
The latest smartphone from the South Korean company is expected to be unveiled to much fanfare in New York this evening, but its marketing campaign has been running for months, with various leaks, rumours and teasers popping up all over the web. Yesterday, a series of bright prime-location billboards in London, New York and Hong Kong appeared, emblazoned with the words "Be ready 4 the next Galaxy". Just last week, an unnamed executive revealed to the New York Times tech blog that the phone has eye-tracking software - cue a flurry of blogs and online news replicating and occasionally even exaggerating the originally leaked information.
The current theories about the S4 include the aforementioned "eye scroll" function – for which Samsung have filed a patent – and options to pause and control the rate of scrolling with your eyes. It's also rumoured to have an almost 5-inch screen, the ability to wirelessly recharge, a 3D camera, teleportation and time-travel. OK, I made the last two up, but the 3D camera could be a possibility as one of Samsung's registered patents involves a 3D design.
Whatever functions are finally proven to be more than just rumours tonight, the constant online conversation will have served its purpose in making people think this is an object worth noticing. But the unending hype generated by Samsung around the product also has a downside. Over the last few months, Samsung has had tech-lovers salivating over the prospective goods the S4 might have to offer. It's such a tease. But there's a strong risk that, like playing hard-to-get, the ultimate revelation of the phone will be anticlimatic.
Elsewhere in Techland, the Vertu Ti smartphone, in contrast to the S4, had very little lead-up or advertising, but it's still managing to catch my eye. On the down side, it will set you back over £6000, but it does come with a concierge service - fact.