Samsung’s main high-end handset will be the Galaxy S4 this year, and there’s no question about it, and there are already plenty of rumors offering details about the Galaxy S4’s design, specs, features and release dates.
With over a month to go until the product is announced we take a look at what’s being reported about the upcoming flagship device, at least up to know.
Product name and model number
Samsung made a lot of fuss about the product name of the Galaxy S3 last year at a time when Apple decided to drop the “3” from the “iPad 3” tablet and call the device simply the “iPad.” At the time it was speculated that the company could do the same with the iPhone – something that didn’t happen – and that other handset and tablet makers could follow suit when naming future device generations.
In the end, the third Galaxy S model was logically named “Galaxy S3,” a brand that Samsung managed to impose to worldwide carriers, especially U.S.-based ones.
This year, the fourth-gen Galaxy S model is already confirmed to be called the Galaxy S4, at least if a Samsung exec is to be believed. And we’re almost certain that will be the product name of the device. Furthermore, we’re also certain that worldwide carriers will use the same product name for the device, especially considering the popularity of its predecessor.
The most recent reports suggest that Samsung will hold a special Mobile Unpacked event in the U.S. at some point in March, with March 15 being the currently rumored date. Following the announcement, the handset will start shipping in certain European markets by early April and head to other markets in the months after that. U.S. carriers are said to start selling the device in May or June, therefore about a year after stocking the Galaxy S3.
We expect the Galaxy S4 to come with a high-end price, although it should be fairly affordable when purchased with new contracts. Specific details regarding pricing structure for the Galaxy S4 is not available at this time.
The Galaxy S4 is rumored to be slightly bigger than its predecessor, sporting a 4.99-/5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD resolution display – Full HD panels seem to be a must-have feature for this year’s high-end Android handsets. But we have no idea whether the display will feature Samsung’s Youm flexible display technology – which was demoed at CES 2013 as well – or whether only other Samsung devices will feature Youm displays this year.
While some reports say that Samsung will use its eight-core Exynos 5 Octa processor that was unveiled a few weeks ago at CES in the Galaxy Note 3, the Galaxy S4 is also rumored to pack the same CPU. The Exynos 5 Octa is expected to deliver improved performance but also enhanced battery life thanks to its big.LITTLE chip technology.
Speaking about display improvements, we’ll also mention different ways to interact with the handset, excluding the regular touch input. The handset is said to sport floating touch gestures, something that could help Samsung differentiate its flagship product from the bulk of Android handsets out there. Eye Pause and Eye Scroll eye tracking technologies are also said to be available on the Galaxy S4, to further enhance the way users interact with the device.
Since we’re touching on software features, we’ll add that the South Korean Android maker is also rumored to kick off a new software update policy starting with its Galaxy S4, which could mean that Android updates will become available to certain Samsung devices a lot faster than before, although the move may also have unwanted effects for certain consumers.
You may have noticed that we didn’t start talking about the Galaxy S4 design from the beginning of the article, as one would when talking about an upcoming device, because we have no idea what the handset will look like.
As you can see, there are already several purported images out in the wild that show the Galaxy S4, but none of them has been confirmed so far, with some of them already having been proven as concepts.
Samsung managed to keep the Galaxy S3 final design under wraps last year, although we’ve seen plenty of Galaxy S3 leaks prior to its early May 2012 announcement, so we expect the company to do the same with the Galaxy S4. That doesn’t mean we won’t see even more leaked images in the coming weeks, because that’s surely going to happen.
Will the Galaxy S4 look like Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2? Will it sport a totally different design? Will it keep the Home button? Will it be available in more colors right from launch? While we think we have a general idea of the phone’s hardware and potential special features we can’t answer these design-related questions right now.
We’ll remind you that nothing is yet official, and these Galaxy S4 reports, no matter how trusted the source is, are unconfirmed, so take everything with a grain of salt for now. But we’ll keep close tabs on the Galaxy S4 rumor mill, as more leaks and rumors are certainly going to hit the web in the coming months.