With the Samsung Galaxy S4 set for March 14th at the the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, all eyes are on the company as it plans to unveil the highly anticipated successor to the Samsung Galaxy S3, a device that has sold over 40 million times worldwide. And while we have an extremely good idea about what to expect from the Galaxy S4 features, we still aren’t quite sure what the device looks like, despite numerous potential leaks.
Last year, with the Samsung Galaxy S3, the company went to great lengths to protect the design of the device prior to its launch at an event in London. Samsung used dummy boxes, fake designs, and a small tight-lipped team that were the only ones who evidently knew about the Galaxy S3′s final design. Ultimately, the Galaxy S3 ended up leaking shortly before the event, however, as many people know, to keep a design for a smartphone like the Galaxy S3 a secret for so long was impressive.
Typically, upcoming smartphones leak out well ahead of their arrival date. Last year, we saw the iPhone 5 design emerge before Apple had a chance to show it off in San Francisco, and earlier this year, we got a good look at the new HTC One before Peter Chou and company were able to debut it at its launch event in New York City.
Samsung on the other hand was been able to keep the press and the prying eyes of consumers at bay for the launch of the Galaxy S3 and it appears that it’s likely using similar tactics this time around with the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Since December, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been leaking out on what seems like a daily basis. Rumors have pointed to everything from its display size, to its processor, to the version of Android on board, to its possible carriers. We’ve also seen a number of images that have masqueraded around as possible candidates for the Samsung Galaxy S4 design.
Yet, despite those leaks, it’s unclear if we have seen the Samsung Galaxy S4 or if Samsung is up to its old tricks. That said, let’s take a walk down memory lane and take a look at the images we’ve seen claim to be the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The First Galaxy S4 Leak
The first image that leaked, claiming to be the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the flesh and blood, was this image which was dug up by SamMobile. The image appears to be a screenshot of a render of a device that heavily resembles the Samsung Galaxy S3 though it’s without a home button on the bottom part of the design.
The bezel of the device is thin, as the screen is virtually edge-to-edge and the screen appears to be a tad larger than the Galaxy S3′s. The Galaxy S4 is said to have a larger 4.99-inch display, up from 4.8-inches. It could be that Samsung opts to make the device taller to accommodate the bigger display real estate.
While this was promising, rumors have suggested that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will indeed be made of plastic and resemble previous Galaxy models, but that it will also include a home button which seems to cast doubt on this design.
User Created Galaxy S4
Not long after that, the world was abuzz as a photo was found on Picasa, labeled as a Galaxy S IV GT-I9500 Product Image. The GT-I9500 is widely believed to be the model number of the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, this photo, while both realistic and good-looking, likely isn’t the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Instead, it appears to be a user-generated render from a Samsung fan in Korea. The student, Desmond Ma, didn’t appear to have any affiliation with Samsung and the render has quietly faded away into obscurity.
Metal Design, But No Dice
The Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note series have been constructed out of polycarbonate material, a favorite of Samsung’s due to its durability and the fact that it allows the company to pump out the devices at a faster rate. Many consumers though have been longing for the company to ditch its plastic designs and move to something more in line with the iPhone 5 and the HTC One which feature materials like aluminum, glass and metal.
A render emerged in early 2013 with a Samsung Galaxy S4 featuring a metal design, far different than the plastic that Samsung has used in the past. Needless to say, more than a few people were excited about the prospects.
Like the previous leak though, this was revealed to be a fan-made render rather than the Samsung Galaxy S4 itself.
Cases, Cases, Cases
A few weeks later, likely in a bid to get attention, two different claimed Samsung Galaxy S4 cases hit the airwaves, tempting buyers to purchase them well ahead of the Galaxy S4′s release date. The first case, sold by CellJewel, was clearly a mockup and the second, from MobileFun, swapped curves for a more rectangular look.
Accessory makers often have inside information about unreleased devices, as was evidenced with the iPad mini and the iPhone 5, so it was not surprising to see possible Galaxy S4 cases leak ahead of its announcement.
As we soon found out though, one of these cases, while on sale, wasn’t even worth its cheap asking price. The cases from CellJewel absolutely dwarfed the Galaxy S3, and given that the Galaxy S4 is said to feature a design close to the Galaxy S3′s, even with the larger display, it seems unlikely that the case shows the Galaxy S4 design.
MobileFun’s cases do remain a possibility but again, Samsung likes to keep its designs under lock and key so we’d be surprised to see the Galaxy S4 fit inside their rectangular-shaped plastic.
Galaxy S IV? Nope
Earlier this month, the notorious and accurate @evleaks Twitter account leaked two photos that appeared to showcase a device labeled Galaxy S IV alongside previous Galaxy S models and some rumored features.
evleaks has been extremely accurate with leaks in the past and so these renders, more than any in the past, had those following the Galaxy S4 thinking that this could be the real deal.
Turns out, even the most accurate leaksters can sometime be wrong. Instead, this render was a mockup done by Expansys for its Samsung Galaxy S4 splash page.
The render seems to be based on the rumors so it’s possible pieces of this render could be accurate but the overall design did not come from Samsung which means that it’s likely not the real deal.
SamMobile not only leaked the first Galaxy S4 render, but it also leaked another possible Galaxy S4 image that may or may not be the real deal, lurking in the shadows.
This leak depicts what appears to be a smartphone with a rectangular design and the markings of the Samsung Galaxy S IV GT-9500 on-screen. We also see the reflection of what looks like another phone taking a picture for added effect.
The photo remains debatable. We are extremely dubious, given that the Galaxy S IV text looks similar to the text we saw emerge in an early user-generated render and the darkness of the photo makes it seem like whoever took the photo has something to hide. Perhaps it’s another device, maybe it’s a good photoshop or maybe it’s the Galaxy S4 itself. The latter seems unlikely, however.
Samsung, You Tease
Samsung has sent out invites to an Unpacked event at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The company is mum about what it will be announcing at the show but it’s clear that it will be for the Samsung Galaxy S4. In an effort to tease the Galaxy S4, the company released a teaser video ahead of March 14th.
The video doesn’t give much away but what we see is a secret exchange taking place in New York City, during which a Samsung representative is seen taking a call on a phone that may or may not be the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The device that is being held looks eerily similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 but we can’t be sure.
Our Samsung Galaxy S4 Concept
Like many, we have been following the Samsung Galaxy S4 leaks. And like those waiting for the Galaxy S4, we have been thinking about what the Samsung Galaxy S4 might look like. So, we took it upon ourselves, with the help of Martin Hajek, to create a render based on not only rumors but on what we think Samsung might reveal as the Next Big Thing.
This is our Samsung Galaxy S4 concept and it’s a device is our best guess as to what the Samsung Galaxy S4 could look like. We have retained a similar design to the Samsung Galaxy S3, as is rumored, keeping the plastic materials and the home button. We’ve slimmed it down to a mere 7.85mm, thinner than the Galaxy S3 and tacked on a larger display in the processor.
We’ve also included a removable back, a replaceable battery and a Micro SD card slot for additional storage space. It also features the 13MP camera sensor that we’ve heard so much about.
However, despite the fact that we think this could be close to the real design based off of what we know, we also know that this isn’t likely going to be 100% accurate. In fact, none of these likely are.
The reality of the situation is that while we’ve seen a lot of possibilities, and even created our own, the real Samsung Galaxy S4 likely has not emerged from the shadows just yet.
Instead, we’ve likely seen bits and pieces of the Galaxy S4 emerge over the past few weeks but not the complete, finalized design. And while that may seem like a bad thing, it’s not.
In fact, the winners here are both Samsung and the consumers. Samsung, because it has been able to keep the design of 2013′s most heavily rumored smartphone a secret just a week before its launch event. And consumers because there is still an element of surprise.
Too often we see smartphones leak out well ahead of their launch dates and the fact that we likely haven’t seen the Samsung Galaxy S4 itself leak out yet is refreshing to say the least.