Samsung to unveil Galaxy S4 in Feb 2013

Samsung to unveil Galaxy S4 in Feb 2013

Summary: [UPDATE] New handset expected to sport 5-inch screen, and will see some "external changes" but retain its rectangle shape with rounded corners concept; to be unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next year.

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Samsung Electronics plan to unveil the latest in its Galaxy line, S4, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February next year, company officials and its local part suppliers told The Korea Times on Sunday. 

A company official who declined to be named, told the daily news site the company is "ready" to unveil the Galaxy S4 in Barcelona next year, and the new device is expected to hit shelves globally a month later at the latest.

The timetable had been released three days after the Korean electronics giant's rival, Apple introduced its iPhone 5, which has received mixed responses from industry experts and consumers for seemingly lacking in revolutionary features.

The official also said since the smartphone is due nine months after May's debut of the Galaxy S3, it will be more than enough to curb Apple's latest iPhone, compatible with long-term evolution (LTE) networks. Sales of the Galaxy S3 had reportedly hit 20 million in just over three months of its launch, according to the company in early September.

The new Galaxy is expected to be the firm's most powerful handset in terms of hardware specifications and software advancement, he said.

Executives from Samsung's local part suppliers also said the company's new phone will "definitely use" LTE networks, and sport its in-house Exynos-branded application processors and quad-core chips. Currently, the S3 is using both Samsung's Exynos and Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors depending on the country.

The screen size of the S4 is expected to hit 5 inches from the current 4.8 inch screen size of its S3, while the phone will use Google's Android software and sport an organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays, the official said.

"Samsung wants to keep its one-year product schedule and the Galaxy S4 will be the first to match that strategy. The S4 will see some external changes but retain its popular rectangular shape with rounded corner concept," an official from one of Samsung’s local partners told The Korea Times. This follows reports last month that the company is currently in talks with major American carriers to apply modified phone designs to avoid violating patents.

When contacted, Samsung told ZDNet Asia it "cannot comment on rumor or speculation".

Topics: Samsung, 4G, Mobile OS, Smartphones

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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24 comments
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  • Everything old is new again.

    The phones getting as big as these again:

    http://www.retrobrick.com/moto8000.html

    Windows 8 and AOL:

    http://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=83412

    Too F'N funny!!
    Arm A. Geddon
    • There is a big difference however....

      Back then the size had to do with the technology and affected all planes of the phone. It's size added nothing to the functionality because all it did was make calls and send texts.
      Phones started gettting smaller and smaller to the extent that in the end there were many that I found too small to use at all. What has happened is that the phone has evolved into a smartphone, a device where people are expected to be able to read on screen much more than a few lines of text. The larger screen sizes have not returned us to bulky heavy bricks - they are slimmer and lighter than ever before and improvements in things like tough poly carbonates will make them lighter still. The next stage is to develop something thinner, lighter and stronger than glass for the screen which, by now, must be the heaviest components. I think my criteria is that it needs to fit my shirt's breast pocket and there being thin is even more important.
      The Dell streak didn't succeed because it was too big a change too quickly. I moved from an iPhone to a Galaxy s2 because I was having difficulty viewing the display. (if iphone had increased the screensize back then I would probably still have one) Once I had the S2 I found that there were more benefits to he larger screen than just my initial problem. Now that I have moved to the larger S3 I have found that I now rarely use my ipad meaning that I am no longer thinking of getting an updated tablet. My smartphone can be both and that is great because it still fits in my pocket and is one less thing to carry around.

      I would consider a larger screen but agree that there is a limit and that limit for me will be the moment when I can no longer put it in my shirt pocket. I used to smile at the people who joked about holding a larger handset to the ear when in all probability they use a wired or blue tooth earpiece. (indeed anyone using their phone regularly for making calls should always use something like this for health reasons)

      In the end consumers will decide and vote with their pounds
      cymru999
  • I wish Samsung would make it with a 5.5" display screen. Bigger is Better.

    I'm only kidding, of course. But when the 5" Dell Streak 5 was lampooned for being to large for a smartphone and too small for a tablet design, what change in consumer thinking will make the Samsung phone sporting a 5" display prove any more successful in the marketplace?

    Granted, this new Samsung concept will probably sport a nice 5" HD screen and the latest Android OS (and perhaps pen support) but I have to wonder if the race to sport the largest smartphone display area is akin to the old automative race to design cars with the largest rear fender tail fins.
    kenosha77a
    • Re: Bigger is Better.

      Yeah, they are bringing out a 5.5-incher in the form of the Galaxy Note 2. This is replacing the existing 5-inch Galaxy Note, which has obviously been selling enough to be worthy of a followup.

      LG showed off a 440-dpi screen a couple of months back. Fit that into a 5-inch form factor and you've got a phone that can play full-resolution 1080p video.
      ldo17
      • HTC

        It wasn't LG it was the HTC Incredible X with a 440-dpi ;-) The only bad thing with the new HTC is that it has a non-removable batter and no SD-Card. The specs on it are great but without those 2 features there going to loose out on a lot of sales. And, they already lost me because of it I will have a Galaxy Note 2 when it comes out!
        no2burner@...
    • The width!

      One 4" phone isn't the same as another 4" phone. The Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Incredible S and iPhone 5 all have a 4" screen but are the two Android phones look rather different from the iPhone 5.

      Inches don't mean everything ;-).
      bradavon
    • Display screen on back?

      How about putting a second display screen on the back! Now that might be revolutionary. After all, a piece of paper has two sides, so why not a phone?
      soonah99
      • or....

        a screen that is only 4" for compactness but which can fold out to become an 8" screen - the only issue with this is that, as yet, the technology is neither good enough or cheap enough to be viable. Rollout and flexible screens have already been shown and will come but they have to be cheap to produce. So when we have expandable screens the race will be on to produce the smallest phone rather than the biggest - it's the way things go - "improving on other's designs and ideas"
        cymru999
  • If anyone really thinks...

    that the rectangle with rounded corners thing is going to stand, be prepared for a rude awakening. Otherwise, your fancy new TV and desktop monitors will be the next to fall. As soon as we get a judge in his/her right mind and not in Apple's pocket, this will be done away with.
    babyboomer57
    • Let me get this straight...

      Are you really saying you believe a senior, appointed US district judge was paid by Apple to take a dive in its favour, over one of the most publicly reported trials of the year?

      Wow. You really love Android.
      Englishmole
      • Appeal could win

        I am a lawyer, but not an appellate lawyer. As I understood it shortly before trial the judge ruled against Samsung because of their lawyer's conduct and held that prior instances of tablets could not be argued to the jury. No star trek tablet design, no Newton, etc. This is a draconian sanction, cutting off Samsung's balls because of atty conduct which involved not providing some information to Apple in a timely manner - I think. Court's often overturn sanctions that destroy a party's case, tho not always. If overturned their would be a new trial or some type of settlement.
        bigsteve666
      • the writer is not saying that

        but judges tend to come from people with higher education which means, because higher levels of educational achievement, are directly related to income etc. This means that such people will not themselves challenge laws which are made by the politicians who (a) often appoint them and (b) think in the same way. You probably don't accept that big business controls government (and if you don't the point is lost) but if like me you do then you recognise that judges think twice about challenging laws that governments pass.

        The decision needs to be taken by someone with common sense and an ordinary perspective who can hold and use the phones side by side to see if one is trying to copy the other or not.

        None of us deny that there may be a patent on a rectangle with rounded corners, but what most of us would decide that such a patent is inherrantly stupid and ignore it as unreasonably affecting competition and working to the disadvantage of ordinary people.

        It frequently happens in the UK that judges will rule terms in a perfectly legal contract to either be against the broader public interest or are unfair and therefore unenforcable.

        Patents should be about things that are wholly unique, have not been similarly done before, and that are not fundamental essentials to producing what may become a generic product.

        The look and feel of Windows Osx and Ubuntu are all similar - they all use icons, a mouse and so on. Why is it different in phones. If Samsung have stolen some clever bit of internal engineering that is a different case but from what has been publicly talked about it is all about look and feel.

        Anyone who has used an iPhone 3 and 4 as well as the Galaxy s2 & S3 will tell you there are broad similarities yes, but could you mistake one for the other NO - even the the Galaxy 3 is substantially different to the Galaxy 2. We have a saying in the UK in that law must be tempered by common sense.

        We should not forget that according to what we have read - evidence of some prior art was denied and in at least one case Apple had to photoshop the pictures to make them look similar - we have all seen that with our own eyes.

        Any jury in case like this where complex legal arguments are put forward will be strongly influenced by the judge (the same is true here) To me there is only one question here - if you pick up the two devices would you likely think they were almost exactly the same. That doesnt require determination of detailed patent law - just common sense.
        cymru999
  • Ultimately, Samsung will be a phablet player...

    This is their only game plan. Their S series will target 5+inch market and Note series may be 6+inch phablets. They failed in the tablet market 7-10inch category and if their phablet strategy backfires then Android ecosystem itself will be in trouble.
    xTalk
    • and the plan looks like it is failing?

      If it was failing do you think Apple would be bothering to sue them
      cymru999
  • uh-oh spaghetti-o's

    samsung's strategy is not to beat the iphone but to weaken its sales for the year of 2013. They are given the iphone a wide open window for 2012's holiday season. but they are after 2013 as a year of sales since this phone will most likely beat the iphone. if it does it would have to simply beat the processor and speed of the iphone. the camera is good and so is its interface. the app store for android is doing splendid so i wouldn't see why this phone should not be an iphone killer. Good job on both companies. sounds like they are beating each other by little bits on each release. good way to steal our money, and make themselves rich.

    Iphone5>GS3>nokia920
    EduardAwesome
    • Missing the Holiday Season is not helping

      Apple has a new iPhone released in Sept/Oct as it has since 2007. This positions it for the considerable sales boost for the Holiday Season (pretty much, but not entirely, worldwide the Holiday quarter is everyones biggest sales quarter). Meanwhile Samsung will release the new, slightly better Galaxy S4 in February. How does that position it to compete with the iPhone 6 next Sept/Oct?

      I also actually wish Samsung would "copy" Apple in terms of device size. I am not at all interested in a bigger is better concept for cell phones. My pocket and hands do not grow each year (unlike my midriff).
      Jwmf
      • Eh...

        Going from a Samsung Mesmerize (basically a rebranded Galaxy S for USCC) to the Galaxy SIII, you learn to appreciate that extra surface area -- especially if you attempt to go back to a smaller screen for a few weeks.

        I do agree that missing the holiday season is sort of a drag on Samsung's sales potential, but it's not to the degree of a next-generation console release, or the latest title in a big-budget FPS series. A vast majority of people still base their phone upgrade schedule by their contract terms -- they could care less if Christmas is coming when that same phone will be $600 less by the beginning of February.
        Beavz0r
      • but Samsung already give you that choice don't they

        A typically selfish apple user who thinks that what they want is right for everyone - I want to see phones to suit every taste and pocket out there so that everyone gets what they want.
        cymru999
  • None of this is exactly surprising, except the release date perhaps

    They are getting a little ridiculously large though, even if Samsung keep the width slimmer than the Note's.
    bradavon
  • Marketing mistake?

    Could announcing the Galaxy S4 6 months in advance make potential buyers from holding back on the purchase of the current S3?
    RelaxWalk