LaunchPad: The Samsung Galaxy S4

The late-April U.S. launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 will make a notable milestone in the ongoing battle between Apple — which saw its stock hit two year lows April 18 — and Samsung, which has been running ads making fun of Apple users, just as Apple used to do with Microsoft.

Here are a few things that TV executives need to keep in mind as the phones start hitting the market:

What’s at stake: The phone has already gotten generally very positive reviews, with one calling it the new “King of the Android” phones that will set the standard for upcoming Android products. More reviews here and here.

If sales hit record levels, as a number of analysts are predicting, the phone will put new pressure on Apple to wow consumers with its next iPhone and force developers to pay more attention to Android apps, which has traditionally lagged behind Apple iOS launches.

The phone also features a number of newer technologies for gesture, eye and motion control of its features; a powerful processor; a high-res 13-megapixel camera and a HD screen that will open up many new vistas for app developers.

Newsroom should also take a close look at innovative photo and video features for 1080p video, dual shot video recording from both front and rear cameras and slow motion video.

Pricing and availability: Samsung was mum on pricing and availability when the Galaxy S4 was first unveiled on March 14. But announcements on April 17 and 18 indicate it will be widely available on seven U.S. carriers and generally priced to sell, costing $149 for 16GB version for new Sprint customers who will get their phones for April 27; AT&T will offer a $199 S4 available April 30.

So far the only hitch in the roll-out has been Verizon, which has said it would carry the phone but has not released details on launch dates or cost.

New Features: Uses innovative wave, gesture and eye tracking technologies to control device; 13-megapixel camera; 5-inch AMOLED 1080p screen; many new software features.

ses: Goes beyond touch screen technology with wave and gesture control; powerful processor and excellent large HD screen; very high quality photo and video capabilities.

Minuses: A multitude of new features, some of which seem gimmicky, that can seem overwhelming.