Around this time last year, we were gearing up for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3. Anticipation was running high for the flagship handset: after the launch of the S2, and Samsung’s meteoric rise from fringe manufacturer to top-end Smartphone maker, everyone expected the Samsung Galaxy S3 to swoop in and steal the mantle of ‘greatest Smartphone of the year’ from the iPhone, the yearly favourite. In fact, several publications dubbed the Samsung Galaxy S3 ‘the iPhone killer’ long before its release! Though it may not quite have reached the lofty expectations set by some anti-Apple enthusiasts, the Galaxy S3 still became one of the most successful Smartphones of all time, and certainly topped out as one of the five best devices of 2012, alongside favourites such as LG’s Nexus 4 and, naturally, the iPhone 5. So it’s only natural that anticipation is running just as high for its successor, the Galaxy S4. Rumours are flying about what its internal specifications will be, what kind of screen size, how it will look, and even how large the battery will be – pundits of all stripes have been dissecting every ounce of information. Today we’re going to be looking at some of the likeliest.
Most people seem to be in agreement that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will feature a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen, with Samsung’s proprietary Super AMOLED technology. Most also seem to be in agreement that this touchscreen will be in full 1080p HD, suggesting 440+ ppi – well in advance of current-generation handsets. Real-life colour reproduction of this quality will mean a significantly higher drain on battery power, so the battery should be 2600 mAh or higher; and there’d be little point in such a high-quality screen unless you had the computing power to make use of it, so most are expecting a 2GHz quad-core processor and a round 2GB of RAM to make use of it. However, some optimistic bloggers think that the Galaxy S4 may feature the octo-core processor showcased by Samsung at this year’s CES – four cores optimized for power-intensive tasks and four optimized for low-end usage, which means battery can be conserved for longer as the phone cycles through the appropriate set of cores. However, this technology is bleeding-edge and unlikely to be seen for at least a few months – we’d expect Samsung’s octo-core to make its debut in the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which is likely to be due in Q3 at the earliest. In terms of periphery features, the Galaxy S4 is almost certain to have the 13 Megapixel camera of other recent top-end phones, and we confidently predict microSD compatibility to bring the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage (Samsung tend to offer multiple options) up by another 64. As far as the look of the device goes, it’s probably going to follow the same curved, naturalistic design that inspired the Galaxy S3 and most other recent Samsung handsets. Most renders we’ve seen so far seem to tally up with this: the most prevalent we’ve seen differentiates the S4 from the S3 primarily with a slightly straighter top and bottom, putting the S4 somewhere between the S2 and S3 in terms of aesthetics. After long debate, it looks like Samsung are going to retain the context-sensitive bottom buttons of the S3 – some early renders eschewed them, but frankly, they looked a little homogenous without Samsung’s trademark look. But despite the proposed similar design, we’ve still collected some of the more outlandish device renders below, just on the off-chance that Samsung surprises us with a radical re-design – we wouldn’t want you to be caught off-guard
All that’s left is the when of the device. Most people think that Samsung are going to reveal the particulars of the Galaxy S4 at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in March; it’s very possible that this could be the case, but last year Samsung passed over the MWC when it came to the Galaxy S3. Consequently, we could be looking at a solo launch event to show off the Galaxy S4 in March, leading up to a release in April; or even a launch event in May to make it a round year since the launch of the S3. Interestingly, a launch event for the S4 could be even more expansive than last year’s S3 gala, because according to leaked internal documents, ‘Project J’ (Samsung’s codename for the S4 project) consists of three devices instead of one. The first is simply called Project J, or sometimes Altius: the second is the Project J Mini, known internally as Serrano: likely a Galaxy S4 Mini to counterpart the S3 Mini. The third is called Project J Active, and is known as Fortius – and according to rumours, it could be a Smart watch intended to buttress the functionality of the S4, an impression reinforced by the list of leaked accessories (including an armband, bike mount and pouch). At this point, only one thing’s really certain… Samsung’s launch event can’t come soon enough!