Lately I just got myself a Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE, a decision based mainly on the array of sensors it supports that aren’t present in any other device in the market. Gesture control promised to be that one cool feature that I can build intuitive ergonomic apps around. I installed the Samsung SDK following the instructions on Samsung developers site only to get an exception stating that my device isn’t supported, which didn’t a lot of sense since I had the flag ship, the top of the line device and more importantly it had air gestures in many of the native apps. Turns out that the gesture control library requires at least Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean API level 18), while the S4 LTE is running android 4.2.2 with only the american carriers updating to 4.3 for the time being.
Gesture/Motion Control which are present in Samsung S4 devices are only accessible to developers if the device is running Android 4.3, while they have 4.2 factory installed.
Even if I install a custom ROM and bring my device up to 4.3 any app i’d build wouldn’t be useful for most of the users until 4.3 becomes the new standard.
It doesn’t really make much sense from Samsung’s part to release a device that supports certain functionality while the SDK can’t access them using the factory installed Android version, and its not like the features aren’t there, they are there and being used by the system. The only problem is they aren’t accessible through the SDK.
This may explain why these features are under used by developers. The only apps that use these features are either Samsung apps or released by one of their premium partners.
Yes i know there is a work around and you can always access the underlying API, reverse engineer one of the current Samsung apps and figure out how they access the sensors, but too much of a hassle for a simple silly app to be honest.