The Samsung Galaxy S4 figures to be Samsung’s upcoming replacement to its current flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S3. And while the Galaxy S4 isn’t expected to arrive until 2013, already, there are quite a few rumors out there regarding Samsung’s rumored device.
One of the biggest smartphone successes of the year was the Samsung Galaxy S3 which launched earlier this year on an assortment of U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. The device has gone on to sell over 30 million units around the world, surpassing the records of Samsung’s previous Galaxy, the Galaxy S2.
Given the success and features of the Galaxy S3, there are quite a few consumers, including Galaxy S2 owners who are coming off-contract who are extremely intrigued by the Galaxy S4, Samsung’s presumed successor to the current Galaxy smartphone.
While unannounced, Samsung’s Galaxy S4 already has received a number of rumored launch dates and features which all help to paint a very vague picture of what consumers can expect from the Galaxy S4. However, based on previous Samsung events and releases as well as current rumors, we can take an even closer look at what to expect from the Galaxy S4.
Galaxy S4 Release Date
One of the most sought after pieces of information regarding the Galaxy S4 is its release date. Right now, the device’s release date is still unknown, but there fortunately have been plenty of rumors regarding its launch date, rumors that help us narrow down what to expect from both its launch date and its release date.
Launch Date in First Half of 2013
As of right now, the Galaxy S4 has been rumored to be launching in February at Mobile World Congress or in April. And given those rumors, and the fact that the Galaxy S3 launched in May of last year, we suspect that Samsung will launch the Galaxy S4 at an event during the first half of 2013.
The Galaxy S4 release date has been pegged for mid-2013 which means that both February and April make sense here. If we had to guess, April seems more likely given that manufacturers like to use yearly cycles and April is much closer to the Galaxy S3’s release month.
Different Release Dates
Consumers should expect the Galaxy S4 to launch on an assortment of carriers, though, there will very likely be several release dates.
With the Galaxy S3, the release dates were all over the place in the United States. The same thing happened with the Galaxy Note 2 just a few short weeks ago. Verizon is typically last in line for major releases and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it launch the Galaxy S4 last in the U.S.
Unpacked Launch Event
Per usual, expect Samsung to host the Galaxy S4 launch at a Unpacked event in a large venue. Press invites will be sent out and Samsung will tease the device several times in the build up to the event.
It’s hard gauge what type of event Samsung will host though. This year, Samsung went two routes with its events. In August, it launched the Galaxy Note 2 at IFA 2012 in Berlin while it decided to launch the Galaxy S3 at its own event in May. Given the popularity of the Galaxy S3, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Samsung host a separate event like Apple does with the iPhone.
Whatever the case may be, expect Samsung to pull out of all of the stops with the launch of the Galaxy S4.
Last year we saw a symphony, a massive display, a host of Samsung executives take the stage, and a huge venue and we expect the same type of extravagance from Samsung next year with the Galaxy S4 launch event.
Galaxy S4 Features
Thus far, we’ve heard quite a few rumors about the Galaxy S4’s features. And while they may or may not be true, it’s easy to hypothesize what the Galaxy S4 might have on board given the previous version of the phone and the current state of Android smartphones on the market. Here, based on rumors and the current landscape, is what to expect from the Galaxy S4 features.
None of the last three Galaxy S devices have been the same in terms of design and we expect the Galaxy S4 to feature some design tweaks that make it different from the Samsung Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 features a fantastic design so we don’t expect Samsung to overhaul everything but there definitely should be some changes in the next edition.
Samsung could ditch the plastic polycarbonate that has dominated its designs for several years. It could also make the Galaxy S4 extremely thin, maybe even thinner than the iPhone 5 which measure in at 7.6mm. The Galaxy S3 is 8.6mm thick.
So don’t expect Samsung to stray much from the formula that works but expect there to be some differences between this year’s model and next year’s.
Massive Display with 1080p Resolution
It’s clear that Samsung has a love affair with putting massive displays on its flagship smartphones. Case in point, the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note, both of which feature two of the biggest smartphone displays on the market. Expect the same from the Galaxy S4.
We’ve already heard rumors that Samsung may introduce the Galaxy S4 display at CES 2013 in Las Vegas and if true, that could mean that it will have a 4.99-inch display. What’s more is that the display rumored for CES is expected to be AMOLED with full HD 1080p resolution.
This isn’t surprising given that HTC and Verizon just released the Droid DNA with 1080p resolution in November. We expect Samsung to follow suit with the display on the Galaxy S4.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 sports a dual-core processor but don’t expect the Galaxy S4 to have one on board when it arrives. Instead, look for Samsung to stick a quad-core Exynos processor inside like it did with the Galaxy Note 2.
Having a quad-core processor on board will translate to better performance in terms of graphics, multitasking and just the overall smoothness and quickness of the Android user interface.
Android 4.2 or Android 5.0
Speaking of Android, there are two OS candidates for the Galaxy S4’s on board operating system. Currently, a rumor pegs Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie as the on board, out of the box operating system on Samsung’s upcoming device. But given that it’s supposed to arrive in mid-2013 and with Google I/O, where major Android announcements take place, likely not taking place until summer, it’d be odd to see that happen.
Remember, the Galaxy S3 launched with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board.
Android 5.0 is definitely possible, but right now, we think the front-runner is Google’s latest version of Jelly Bean, Android 4.2, which has yet to roll out for any devices beyond Google’s Nexus arsenal.
Without a doubt, the Galaxy S4, unlike the Nexus 4, will have 4G LTE support on board. With AT&T and Sprint gaining ground on Verizon’s over 400 LTE markets in the United States, those looking to get the Galaxy S4 will have more choice this time around. The Galaxy S3 launched when Sprint’s 4G LTE network was virtually non-existent and AT&T’s was still small.
4G LTE is crucial as it offers data speeds that can reach up to 10 times faster than 3G. It’s all but standard on high-end smartphones and it would be surprising to see it left out of the Galaxy S4 launch.
One of the ways that Samsung has been able to sell so many Galaxy S3 models is because it’s available on an assortment of carriers in the United States and elsewhere.
Expect the same kind of choice from the Galaxy S4 with the usual suspects – AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile with its new 4G LTE network – offering the device to consumers.