Updated: Samsung Galaxy S4 release date, news and rumours

Updated: Samsung Galaxy S4 release date, news and rumours

Samsung Galaxy S4: release date and news

Samsung's stock just keeps rising, so the fervour associated with the new Galaxy S4 is already outstripping that of the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3, both of which nabbed 'phone of the year' titles in recent times.

If you needed a barometer of this, just look at how the Galaxy S3 was unveiled. Not at MWC like lots of others, but its own event, proving the Galaxy line has reached the level where it can guarantee hoards will come just for an unveiling - and come 14 March in New York, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is going to land at its own event too.

The Galaxy S4 name was even 'confirmed' at a recent event by a researcher, and now we even have this lovely video that sets the scene for the launch in New York:

YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIEfNaNCkKM

The trickle of 'sources' talking about the Galaxy SIV (if you're being all Roman numeral about it) is building to a roaring crescendo, so we're on hand to help let you know which whispers have a notion of truth about them - as well as providing our wishlist of what we want Samsung to improve on the new handset.

Samsung Galaxy S4 release date

The Unpacked event, which is expected to bring the announcement of the S4, has been set for March 14 2013, in New York and for 7pm EST (sadly for the UK, this means it will be 11PM before you can see what's going on).

And if you're in New York then, head on down to Times Square, as Samsung will be live streaming the event and may even have some stuff to play with as well.

However, possibly in retaliation to the HTC One buzz that Samsung predicted might pop up, the launch is earlier than last year, which means some S3 owners might feel aggrieved that Samsung is already making their handset outdated.

But it does catch the old Galaxy S2 owners nicely as they come to the end of their contract cycles, so Samsung could be playing an ace (no, not that one) by launching now.

Since then another rumour, of a phone dubbed 'Project J', has emerged, and that's set for an April unveil... will this be something different? An S4 mini?

Some sources believe the phone won't actually go on sale until May due to component shortages, and it will likely be given the model number of GT-I9500, which is leap from GT-I9300 but has been confirmed as likely legit when showing up in firmware versions, as well as on Samsung's official software page.

FutTv : s51g1vvZzqooq

Other sources, apparently Samsung's Korean execs themselves, have stated the S4 will even come with an S Pen accessory, but this seems unlikely given it's only currently used on the Note range, so a boring C Pen upgrade could be all that's on the cards - then again, Samsung has just whacked $58.9 million (UK£37 million, AU$56.4 million) in Wacom, the digital pen people's, pocket as it invests in the tech, so it could come to the S4 quite feasibly.

An all-new screen

The Galaxy S2 had an amazing Super AMOLED Plus display – and boy, was it vibrant. The S3 upped the screen size from 4.3-inches to 4.8-inches and the pixel density went from 217 to 306 to take a run at the iPhone's Retina Display.

But, Samsung also opted for a PenTile approach, to the chagrin of geeks. What does that mean for the end user?

Well, the screen looks great but you can make out pixels if you really, really strain. And some of the vivacity and colour saturation is lost. On the plus side, Samsung reckons the screen will last longer – but we'd rather see a much more S2-like screen with a sharper resolution - and given that's now appeared on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, we're pretty hopeful we'll get it on the Samsung Galaxy S4 too.

On top of that, we're now hearing that a new technology will be employed by Samsung in the shape of green-PHOLED materials, using a newer technology that improves the efficiency of the screen by managing to turn more of the energy into light at the display level. It wouldn't be used for every colour of the screen, so there's still room for more energy efficient screens in the future.

There were rumours that Samsung is going to bring a flexible screen to the Galaxy S4 - but given the Korean brand is already pushing the delivery of such tech back into 2013 for its customers, we'll be in Galaxy S5 territory before that happens.

There seems a much more likely option in the shape of the 5-inch 1080p screen that could offer up an eye-splitting 441ppi, making it easily the highest res out there. It would probably need to be shrunk down a smidge to fit into the palm, or Samsung could actually just make the phone even closer to the edges of the screen. Dare we dream of an edge-to-edge display like on the 9000 series TVs?

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

That dream could be closer to reality after the pretty likely screen for the Samsung Galaxy S4 was shown off by Samsung Display at CES 2013, featuring a 4.99-inch screen with a Full HD pixel count and a dizzying 440PPI resolution, which is set to ship in Q1 2013... also known as the perfect time frame for manufacturing the S4.

Another report has suggested the Galaxy S4 will sport a full HD display with a leaked PDF document suggesting the handset will have a 5-inch screen with a 1920x1080 resolution.

And on top of that, here's the good stuff: whatever the resolution or size of the screen on the Galaxy S4, rumours suggest that you'll be able to control it with your eyes. Yes you read that correctly, your eyes!

Screenshots apparently showing the various settings for the eye tracking tech have also popped up online - but we fear battery life may take a hit. This was later proven to be the Samsung Galaxy S3; new screenshots then appeared, but thanks to an eagle-eyed TechRadar reader, these could also be faked, as a display with 1080 x 1920 pixels would need to be 4.6 inches across to achieve the claimed PPI.

This would mean that not only would the S4 not have the expected 4.99-inch display, it would have to be smaller than the Galaxy S3... and come on, that's not likely at all.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

What is interesting is Samsung looks like it might be using its Air View, currently a technology employed for previewing things on the Galaxy Note 2 by hovering the S Pen over a date in the calendar or picture album, and offer it using your finger instead on the Galaxy S4.

It would be another new innovation and Samsung is really keen to make its phone stand out from the rest given there's nothing new about a full HD 5-inch screen in a smartphone.

We're also hearing that the Samsung Galaxy S4 may sport some fancy 3D conversion technology after a recent trandemark filing for a feature called "2D 3D Movie & Still."

Now it's not exactly clear what this would entail, and there's no guarantee it will feature on Galaxy S4 but with the logo showing 2D and 3D characters linked by arrows it's suspected some sort of conversion may be in play.

Samsung Galaxy S4 specs

As expected, the rumour mill is now in overdrive about possible Galaxy S4 specifications, and while we've got nothing concrete, often the repeated claims hold the most water.

The first is that the S4 will have a quad-core chip, which might sound a little 'last gen' to many. However, it will be based on ARM's A15 architecture, bringing with it a big boost in power for all those resource-intensive tasks we love to do all the time.

A quad-core processor looks likely after the new Exynos 5440 quad-core chip appeared on Samsung's site, making it a strong contender to feature in the Galaxy S4 - and according to a benchmark result claiming to be for the American varient of the Galaxy S4 (the SCH-I545) the quad-core processor will be clocked at a beefy 1.9GHz.

But then again, that's not Samsung's way really, is it? We want to see bigger, bangier and faster, so doubling it again to an OCTO-core would be the way to go, with the Exynos Octa was announced at CES 2013 complete with four big cores and four smaller ones, as part of ARM's big.LITTLE architecture. Eight cores. Mental.

Rather than just making it super powerful though, the eight core innards would split into two groups: A15-spec chips for the big stuff, and A7 when things need to get a little lower power, bringing with it the best of both worlds. This theory has been backed up by a recent Antutu profile for a phone claiming to be the Galaxy S4, with a 1.8GHz octo-core atop 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of onboard memory.

More support for the eight-core model materialised in the form on benchmark results claiming to be for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, saying it will sport a 1.8GHz Octa processor which will run Android 4.2.1.

The other big news that we think should be on our wish list is the fact that Samsung's internal storage bods have been hard at work bringing the flash memory down in size and up in speed... so think even thinner phones with higher capacity that can be written to up to 10x faster. We're now looking forward to the S4 even more now.

Other benchmarks have since surfaced that show, that show it whizzing past the original S3 and Nokia Lumia 920... although intriguingly it didn't manage to usurp the Google Nexus 4. New benchmarks have changed that theory though, and while they can be very easily faked, it could very well be Samsung optimising the power of the Galaxy S4 ahead of time.

The Galaxy SIV could follow in the footsteps of the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 as it brings wireless charging to the table. The Galaxy S3 also apparently has this, but it's never been properly realised - and further 'insiders' have stated that the Galaxy S4 is deffo coming with some Qi - the wireless charging standard, not Asian manifestations of life force.

Also Samsung's S Health app could well make its way onto the Galaxy S4, allowing you to monitor things such as blood pressure, blood sugar, BMI and weight with the aid of a separate pad.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

And let's not forget about NFC - this is key to the Korean firm's plans in the future, so will definitely be embedded within the S4. A recent global deal between Samsung and Visa also hints at payWave, the contactless payment app from the financial superpower, being installed on the Galaxy S4, making it an even more powerful handset.

Combine that with the new Samsung Wallet application for cards, loyalty, plane tickets and such and you can see that Samsung is looking to take even more things from your pocket (as in your wallet as well as your cash. To buy the phone. Was that joke not clear? Dammit).

Will it run Jelly Bean 4.1 or 4.2?

What's the good word here? Well, given the time scales involved, we'd fully expect to see the Galaxy S4 running a more mature version of Android 4.2, better known as Android Jelly Bean, as well as the next generation of TouchWiz skin on top.

There are some more daft rumours floating around, namely that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will run off a different operating system called Tizen, simply because Samsung is using it on other phones.

Don't worry, this won't happen...although a variant of the phone could be used as a blueprint for a decent alternative handset.

More likely is Samsung bringing out the Galaxy S4 to coincide with the next version of Android from Google, called Key Lime Pie.

April would be roughly the time we'd start seeing rumours of such things, so it's not unbelievable that you could buy an S4 with a cutting edge OS.

In truth, we've never really seen this happen from the Koreans, so chances are it will be boring old Jelly Bean when your S4 appears in your hands.

Rumours that the Galaxy S4 will ship with Android 4.2 have been further reinforced after a benchmark result claiming to be for the flagship handset showed the device running version 4.2.

Battery life is key - obviously

Ok, we admit we always want more. The S2's 1,650mAh was manageable and the S3's 2,100mAh blows that out of the water. But it's still only OK.

You can get by on a day of moderate use but if you use this phone heavily (and we're talking watching TV shows on the morning and evening commute alongside your normal tinkering), this handset will still want a plug in at some point.

Motorola has proven it can be done by whacking a 3,300mAh power pack into the RAZR Maxx which can still be considered a skinny Minnie. Something of that size – along with ICS and Samsung's power management abilities – would really be the icing on the Ice Cream Sandwich.

Samsung Galaxy S4 camera

What's that? You're bored of an 8MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S3 since you've seen the likes of the Sony Xperia Z popping up with a 13MP snapper attached?

Well, good news everyone: a picture supposedly captured from the S4 hints at an at least 10MP camera, according a snap shown on Picasa. Remember, EXIF data can be faked though, so there's every chance this amazingly well-framed photo is just the work of a chancer hoping to jump on the S4 bandwagon.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

In a separate report, a couple more images popped up on Picasa claiming that they were taken on a Samsung GT-I9505, thought to be the international version of the Galaxy S4.

The blurry shots showing the rear of a computer tower are hardly awe-inspiring, plus the EXIF data attached to the snaps revealing the device they were taken on can be easily forged.

Both images sport a 2322 x 4128 resolution which would suggest the Samsung Galaxy S4 is packing a 13MP camera, although we're not pinning much hope on the authenticity of these pictures.

And apparently it's not just the sensor size that Samsung is working on, with the Korean firm also developing its own version of Photo Sphere called Samsung Orb, allowing you to take 360 degree snaps with the Galaxy S4 camera.

Samsung Orb will supposedly come with some fancy Facebook integration too, allowing you to share your snaps easily on the social network.

Will polycarbonate make a return?

We've lost count of the amount of people we've shown our device off to who've replied with the words: "Yeah, it's great but looks like a bit of a toy." It's a double-edged sword: the plastic is used to keep this handset nice and light, but does detract from what should be a premium device.

A bit of glass wouldn't go amiss. Android users, say what you like about the iPhone 4/4S (and we know you won't be short of words), but aside from being smash-tastic, the glass really adds that premium and expensive feel that the S3 just doesn't have.

Forget what your mum told you – it's what's on the outside that counts too, so the Samsung Galaxy S4 needs to step it up in the design stakes. The latest predictions also state that the 'Pebble Blue' colour that caused so much consternation with the S3 is on its way out - black and white are the only way to go these days, apparently.

The latest rumours state that the phone has been in production since late last year, and thankfully (or sadly, depending on your stance on front furniture) there will be a physical home button. There won't be any room for an S-Pen though, which makes sense as this won't be part of the Note range.

And hopes for a brushed aluminium Samsung Galaxy S4 may have been dashed after a Samsung executive talked up the use of plastic in the firm's flagship devices.

Samsung has provided us with what we think is the first glimpse of the Galaxy S4 after it posted a photo on its Twitter page showing a handset mainly in shadow, but revealing just enough to show a design similar to its predecessors.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

We've also seen many, many leaked shots claiming to be the Samsung Galaxy S4 - some better than others - and it isn't filling us with a huge amount of confidence as it could quite easily be a mash up between the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2.

The most recent shows a Samsung Galaxy S4 that looks like nothing more than just that - here's hoping it's another one of those fakes Samsung threw out to the market prior to the S3 launch to confuse us pretend journalists.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

A video has also appeared along with the above shots, showing the handset in question being turned on and used, although it does seem very chunky.

YouTube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfzom-RdrwI

It seems like this is an evolution of what's gone before - is the fact it's not too dissimilar proof that this is the final design, or all part of Samsung's clever ploy?

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

Again 'confirmed' is the possibility that famous home button may be here to stay if the image claiming to show the Samsung Galaxy S4 next to the Galaxy S3 is to be believed - although it could well be another Photoshop job.

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

We've also seen another half-cocked effort from a Photoshop enthusiast - as we've said, it's a lot more like a 'would like to see' rather than any proper press shot.

Looks pretty though, right?

Samsung Galaxy S4 - LEAK

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and smartwatch

Here's something interesting from the rumour mill: Samsung's Project J, which was what we all assumed was the codename for the new S4, will actually yield a Galaxy S4 mini and a Galaxy Smartwatch.

The Galaxy S4 Mini would be an odd choice to launch at the same time as the S4 'proper', simply because the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini has only recently gone on sale in the last few months - surely the brand wouldn't cannibalise sales that quickly?

And as for the other device: In the last few month the smartwatch, a device that connects your phone to a small screen on your wrist, has gained massive traction, with the likes of Apple even having a 100-strong design team working on the concept.

Word is that the Project J Active (or Fortius, if you prefer) which appears to be a slightly different device with accessories such as an arm band, bike mount and pouch listed, so could easily be a transferable piece of technology - and smartwatches are what everyone is talking about, despite the fact it sounds more like another tough phone to follow on from the Galaxy XCover 2,

Reports state Project J Active is yet to be finalised, unlike the others, which have already been given the green light.

Samsung Galaxy S3 reboot

There may be another handset ready to jump on the Samsung Galaxy S4 bandwagon on March 14, with fresh rumours suggestion the Korean firm will also give a reboot to the Galaxy S3.

Noted phone leaker Eldar Murtazin claims the rebooted S3 will come with an updated display, a battery boost to 2,400mAh and proper wireless charging - as the wire-free kit Samsung promised during its launch last year never came to fruition.

It seems pretty unlikely as it would see the S3 pitted against the new Galaxy S4 which makes no sense at all.

Samsung Galaxy S4 wishlist

But it's not all about what's rumoured... we're still allowed to dream about a perfect phone. So here are the things we hope get improved when the Galaxy S4 finally launches:

Better S-Voice

Galaxy S4 reviewS-Voice just isn't there. At least Siri had the nous to call itself a BETA so that it could be excused for not getting things right at times. The problem we have with S-Voice is it just doesn't seem to be able to do much.

Sure, it can tell you what the weather is like if you really can't be bothered to look out the window. And it'll save you 10 seconds by setting an alarm.

But it's just not powerful enough - and is, frankly, awful for something that's supposed to be a headline feature on one of the world's best smartphones.

We've actually been using Speak To It Assistant far more often because it's superior. Samsung could do worse than buy a company like this to give the Galaxy S4 a real chance of being the best voice-controlled mobile out there.

Better Mac support

Yep, we know many consumers believe Mac users account for only 0.000001% of Android owners (why wouldn't they just buy an iPhone, right?)

But there are lots who like Apple computers as well as Android devices. And up until the S3, they got on famously.

But Android has changed the rules and how storage works so that it follows the MTP Protocol which plays along brilliantly with Windows but can't stand Macs.

Yes, we know this is a Google issue and not something that Samsung can be blamed for. But having said that, the HTC One X also runs Ice Cream Sandwich and it has managed to tweak the code enough for there to not be a problem.

Please Samsung – don't shut them out. Ice Cream Sandwich may be frozen – but we shouldn't be, so when you bring out the Jelly Bean or Key Lime Pie-powered Galaxy S4, let's get some support.

Samsung Galaxy S4 accessories

Samsung unveiled the SIII alongside a raft of accessories – the usual things like cases were complimented by the C-Pen (like the Note 2's S-Pen but smaller) and the dongle for connecting to your TV to stream stuff.

The problem is, they're all so expensive: £20 for the C-Pen and the best part of £70 for the AllShare Dongle. They're not mainstream accessories – and little wonder.

If Samsung made these cheaper – or even threw them into the box for the Galaxy S4 (highly unlikely, but we can dream) then it would make for a much happier customer.

Perhaps a premium package where you spend a little more but get the accessories at the same time would work... people like to get the most out of things when they get their shiny new device.

Better charging

Plug it in and charge until it's full. That's always been the way. But we'd love to see a more advanced version of charging - ditching the wires should be more prevalent.

Maybe something similar to the conductive methods used by Palm in the Pre which never really caught on. The idea being that you don't have to plug the phone in to charge, just place it on a particular mat or place and it does it automatically.The S3 has that functionality, but it's hardly been well-publicised since launch.

The likes of Nokia with the Lumia 920 have been banging on about the amazing world of wireless charging for ages now, with a range of accessories too. Given that it will all be based on the Qi wireless charging standard, we'll soon see reams of coffee shops and airports with these charging stations littered around - just don't forget to watch your phone.

Or how about something really radical – like a battery that can also charge kinetically on the S4. Sure, it would be slow but wouldn't it be great if you could go for a run and manage to gain an extra 10 or 20% just by doing so to get you through the day? Radical – yes. But Samsung is known for its innovation.

Improved speakers

As beautiful and wonderful as the S3 is, the speaker still sounds tinny. Ringtones sound cheap and when it is on its back, they're also muffled. At least the iPhone has a bit of bass.

But what about going a bit further? Have three or four powerful but small speakers around the rim so when you play music, it comes out loud and with a bit of bass.

Hell, even make it so strong that it negates the need for a travel dock so you can play music at a decent volume when you nip away for the weekend or are sitting on the beach. That'd be a real selling point.

FutTv : f44UBFn9e7lj8Source: TechRadar.com

Become a fan of Your #1 Source for Mobile Phones, MP3 Players & Accessories on Facebook for the inside scoop on the latest mobile phones.