Samsung's Galaxy S IV Arrives Next Week: Here's What to Expect

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South Korean giant Samsung is set to unveil its latest and greatest smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, on Thursday at an "Unpacked" event in New York. One of the ways Samsung has successfully replicated Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) success in recent times is that there's quite a buzz going around about what Samsung may have up its sleeve to follow up its successful Galaxy S III.

The company isn't mincing words here, either. Make no mistake: the Galaxy S IV is being unveiled.

Source: Samsung.

Samsung has had incredible success with its Galaxy S series of smartphones, announcing in January that it had reached 100 million in unit channel sales. The company was the largest smartphone vendor in the world in 2012 ,and the Galaxy S III was ranked the No. 3 smartphone worldwide in the fourth quarter behind the iPhone.

Galaxy S III. Source: Samsung.

What can we expect on March 14?

Keep on biggering
Samsung has continued to push the envelope with device size and is one of the leaders of the phablet movement. Each generation of the Galaxy S has gotten successively bigger, and the S IV isn't expected to break this trend.


Display Size

Display Resolution

Galaxy S

4 inches

800 x 480

Galaxy S II

4.3 inches

800 x 480

Galaxy S III

4.8 inches

1280 x 720

Galaxy S IV

5 inches*

1920 x 1080*

Sources: Samsung and SamMobile.

There's been some debate over the display. Samsung is one of the biggest proponents of OLED displays, which has been greatly beneficial for OLED specialist Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED  ) over the past few years, as Samsung's unit shipments have soared. The company was reportedly facing some production challenges with manufacturing AMOLED displays at the full HD resolution it wanted, and as such it may have been considering a different display technology.

However, the most recent rumblings from SamMobile suggest that Samsung is going with a new type of AMOLED display that will be 25% more power-efficient. That's incrementally beneficial for Universal Display, even if the company is still waiting on OLED TVs to ramp up.

All that and a bag of chips
On the processor front, Samsung had also been reportedly running into power issues with its Exynos 5 Octa processor and was thinking about sticking with a Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM  ) Snapdragon chip. The Exynos 5 Octa combines two different quad-core processors and is among the first implementations of ARM Holdings' (NASDAQ: ARMH  ) big.LITTLE architecture, where high-performance cores sit alongside energy-efficient cores. In this case, Samsung is using four Cortex-A7 cores and four Cortex-A15 cores.

The Exynos 5 Octa technically has eight cores and as such will inevitably marketed as an eight-core processor, although this is slightly misleading, since only four cores can be active at any given time, depending on the task at hand. Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs called Samsung out on this point in January, adding that competition should instead be shifting toward better efficiency and optimization instead of simply adding more cores.

An insider told SamMobile that the Exynos 5 Octa will indeed be shipping in the Galaxy S IV, despite earlier Snapdragon rumors. Since Samsung has immense scale, it sometimes uses different chipsets in different variants tailored to specific regions, so it could potentially use both Exynos chips in some models and Snapdragons in others.

Open your eyes
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the S IV will feature an innovative interface that will allow pages to scroll based on eye movements. Not much is known about the underlying technology, and it's not clear if Samsung will demonstrate the feature at its event.

The company has been aggressively trying to differentiate itself from other hardware manufacturers to maintain dominance, focusing heavily on new software features in recent times. Apple has always had great success with interface breakthroughs, and Samsung has been taking plenty of notes on Apple's rise.

No surprises
The S IV will reportedly ship with Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean, naturally with Samsung's custom TouchWiz software layer on top. Even though Samsung has done wonders for Android's market share and that's all the better for Google, the search giant may still be getting uneasy about how much power its South Korean partner is gathering. Among other things, Google's Motorola acquisition was an expensive hedge against the possibility that partnerships would turn sour.

Despite criticism, Samsung is probably sticking with its plastic chassis designs, as exec Y.H. Lee recently defended the decision, saying the material offers a balance of a premium feel with manufacturing flexibility (not to mention cost savings). Rivals have invested heavily in higher-quality materials. Apple and, more recently, HTC now use machined aluminum unibody casings in their flagships.

The Galaxy S IV will be a high-profile launch to intensify competition. BlackBerry is reportedly launching its Z10 a week later on March 22 on AT&T, its first domestic carrier, while Apple is expected to launch new iPhones as early as June.

If you're in the market for a smartphone, you'll have plenty of choices over the next few months.

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Read/Post Comments (17) | Recommend This Article (22)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 6:25 PM, Gh92870 wrote:

    Gee, that phone looks a lot like the iPhone, but a bigger version. Samsung cant do anything without copying other companies work. Apple will win in court for this issue. Also, if you read this mr. Cook, you have to fight back. Use your design to make the same size phone. Mock their product like they do yours in those commercials. You have to pull out all of the stops, NOW! Sorry to say, but they are eating your lunch. It'snow or never, don't let market share slip away because it will be very hard to get it back. Think about some acquisitions that make sense. Netflix maybe? Your own search engine? Hell, it's a copy my stuff world out there. Do what google does or buy a piece of their company. I read the Steve jobs book which was great!! If Steve were here, do you think he would have let Samsung do what they are doing? Be agrresive, bite back and demolish them. They would do the same to you. Just saying, these are only my thoughts from an apple user.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 6:52 PM, TimKnows wrote:

    So what, we are going to see a picture of a phone that we can't buy, big deal. Call me when they launch the phone please.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:10 PM, blueofblue wrote:

    without Apple there is no samsung smartphone

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:14 PM, spunkeduphair wrote:

    #1 Epic fail, screen too big

    #2 Is the same as buying a galaxy note 2

    #3 is still going to be a slow draining battery phone

    #4 apps are buggy unlike the iphone there more perfect.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:24 PM, jonmarn wrote:

    Have had 'em all - still like Apple the best. They work consistently out of the box. Doesn't matter to me how many processors the others have or what software they come up with, it's Apple all the way. Already have a 5 and an iPad Mini - love them both.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:25 PM, ash47 wrote:

    Well I think instead of blaming one another let us sit down & go for the best , Samsung has got the best smartphone in the business and period.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:35 PM, APreziosi wrote:

    How big do we want these screens? Do we want a phone or a web browser? 5 inches is too big to carry around. It's still a phone, after all.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 7:44 PM, tom2727 wrote:

    Speak for yourself. I like the big screens, and they fit in my pocket. My wife has the S3 and it is pretty awesome.

    I've been carrying phones in my pocket since back when they were bricks. I think I'll be able to handle the S4.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 8:07 PM, eidsonb wrote:

    BB is truly the only one being innovative at the moment. The iToy's and Droids are just getting bigger with the same old and stale OS. BB10 is a game changer....

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 8:12 PM, silverdeer66 wrote:

    I want to know what Samsung is going to announce on Tuesday. The 14th is Thursday. Gotta love it when the articles are proofread.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 8:31 PM, ptc12 wrote:

    I don't see everyone's point. Apple is basically the same phone over and over as well. Also, some people prefer big phones while others prefer small ones. Pick the phone you want and don't tell others what you think is better since they have their own preferences. Honestly instead of spending thousands a year on a phone, I'm sticking with my dumbphone instead of getting a smartphone.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 8:43 PM, HiramWalker wrote:

    Hey, big phones are for people who don't want both a tablet and a phone. It's a legitimate compromise that Apple should provide also.

    The big phone is also a function of Android. Unlike highly efficient IOS code, Android is interpreted code that requires more horsepower to attain the same speed. The increased horsepower eats battery life, so Samsung must use power efficient but crappy color saturation oled screens and the phone must be big to accommodate a bigger battery. In the end Apple designed to attain the best combination and Android can't touch it at smaller sizes. If Apple made a big phone, its battery life would blow Samsung away.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2013, at 8:52 PM, larryw101 wrote:

    To: Gh92870

    Well put !!! I too wish Cook could read your post and take it to heart. You're 100% right, Steve Jobs would do exactly what you said.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2013, at 12:20 AM, tychicum wrote:

    Dear Leader Kim Jong Un wants you to buy a Samsung phone and a Samsung Toilet seat. And while you are at it a Kia ...

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2013, at 1:49 AM, sarahsmilesCA wrote:

    I LOVE my Samsung Galaxy and have been holding out to upgrade so I can get IV...I love that it is big, some of us don't want to put our reading glasses on every time we need to use our phone or data!

    Everyone has different likes. For me an Apple OS system is just OK...but Android is the bomb and Samsung phones make it rock...

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2013, at 8:29 AM, greenember wrote:

    I think the fact that they are announcing it almost 3 months before it's expected to be available shows they are scared of what BlackBerry is bringing to the table and are hoping people will wait for their next handset. Unfortunately, it's just the same old Android behind a bigger screen to accommodate more chips and a bigger battery to run it all. I've looked at lots of phones while developing a backup plan in case the Z10 didn't make it to release, and I have to say, 4.8" was already way too big for me. I'm glad BB10 is finally coming, as I really didn't want an iPhone (I already have one I use as an iPod), and Android can't seem to pack competitive hardware behind a screen that's around 4-ish inches.

  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2013, at 2:03 PM, nofoolingforme wrote:

    Don't fall for all the hype around the latest tech darling- Samsung.

    I have had nothing but problems with my Galaxy phone. Sent it for repair five weeks ago. It was supposed to be fixed in 7 to 10 days but still no word on it, even though I have called several times to get an update. It lacks alot of things that are good to have. I never know when a message is waiting. I will ditch this phone as soon as I get it back and get a Blackberry. I never had a problem with BB. Don't buy a Galaxy. I will sell you mine real cheap if you feel like getting a lousy phone.

    Never ever deal with Virgin Mobile or you will regret it. Virgin hasn't returned my calls. I have been leaving messages for weeks. I've never had worse client service in my life!

    I am posting this because I would never want anyone else to have the issues and frustration that I have encountered with these companies.

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