Samsung Galaxy S4: Thinner, Longer Battery Life, Smarter WiFi Possible
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will likely include a new WiFi chip that delivers longer range, better speeds and better battery life, which could help Samsung deliver a thinner Galaxy S4.
Peter Wang, an analyst with Evercore Partners, tells Barron’s that checks with the supply chain indicate Samsung will use a new Broadcom 4335 chip in the upcoming Galaxy S4. The new chip would be the first with 5G WiFi for a Samsung device, and could deliver more flexibility in design and real benefits to consumers.
The timing of this chip’s release is set for Q1 2013, which lines up with the rumored Samsung Galaxy S4 launch and the Galaxy S4 release date of April.
Longer Galaxy S4 Battery Life
Just like the power efficient Broadcom chip in the iPhone 5 allowed Apple to shrink the overall size of the smartphone to 7.6mm in 2012, if this chip is part of the Samsung Galaxy S4 it could allow Samsung to shrink the size of the smartphone while increasing the screen to a 4.99-inch 1080P HD display without significant battery life sacrifices.
Broadcom claims the new 4335 chip, “features the industry’s most advanced idle power consumption performance, which significantly extends a mobile device’s battery life.” One of the benefits of 5G WiFi is better battery life on mobile devices. According to the 5G WiFi website, the new chips are six times more power efficient than those found in most devices today. If the iPhone 5S uses an older chip, like it is rumored, the Galaxy S4 could deliver longer battery life without the need to pack in a huge battery like the one found in the Droid RAZR MAXX HD.
Better 4G LTE
Another benefit of this new chip is that Broadcom claims it can reduce interference from WiFi and Bluetooth with 4G LTE. This could allow the Galaxy S4 to work better while connected to 4G LTE. Broadcom doesn’t go into detail about what this means, but one hope is that it will make switching from WiFi to 4G LTE and back a more seamless experience.
Faster, Longer Range WiFi
In addition to delivering better battery life, the inclusion of 5G WiFi may also deliver a better overall user experience to Galaxy S4 owners who upgrade to a 5G WiFi router. 5G WiFi is faster than current WiFi routers, and while home Internet connections are still a bottleneck, the increased speed will make streaming video from a computer to the phone or from Galaxy S4 to another device faster and could also enable better wireless syncing.
Another 5G WiFi claim is better range thanks to the ability to penetrate walls that typically degrade WiFi signals, This could help users stay on WiFi throughout the house and even outdoors to avoid data plan overages.
The chip supports a number of WiFi driven features such as Miracast, PassPoint and WiFi Direct. Miracast is already on many devices, and it allows users to quickly mirror their smartphone to a compatible HDTV or connected accessory, much like AirPlay on an iPhone. Support for Miracast is built in to Android 4.2 and into this new chip.
Passpoint is another feature, which is new for this chip, that could allow users to save on data by automatically connecting to public WiFI hotspots when they come in range, while maintaining security. This feature may not be available at launch and will likely be tied to carriers with large hotspot installations across the U.S. like AT&T. AT&T Mobile Share Plan members also gain access to 30,000 WiFi hotspots with their data plan. If the Galaxy S4 supports Passpoint and AT&T’s hotspots do as well, the AT&T Galaxy S4 could automatically connect to WiFI when users walk into a coffee shop with one of these hotspots.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the likely name of Samsung’s next Galaxy S smartphone which will likely launch in early March with an International release in April and a U.S. Galaxy S4 release in May or June. The Galaxy S4 is rumored to use a 4.99-inch 1080P Full HD AMOLED display, use a quad-core processor and pack a 13MP camera. Rumors point to a 2600 mAh battery with an optional wireless charging kit.