March 12, 2013 at 12:53 PM ET
On March 14, Samsung will show off the highly anticipated follow-up to the Galaxy S III smartphone. Here's what we think we know about the device, which is expected to be named the Galaxy S 4.
Make no mistake, this is no ordinary smartphone launch. Given the fact that Samsung has been neck and neck with Apple in smartphone sales, this thing is potentially a bigger deal to phone buyers than the iPhone 5.
And like its arch-frenemy, Samsung's been hush-hush when it comes to details, though it has certainly made sure that all attention is on its new flagship device this week. There are "4" signs and billboards all over, including New York's Times Square. Meanwhile, online, Samsung teased us with a video showing a boy — "Jeremy, the secret messenger of Samsung" — receiving a mysterious box that contains whatever Samsung will announce on Thursday. The company also tweeted a photo of what may be the Galaxy S 4 shrouded in shadows.
While the tweeted image looks disappointingly identical to the good ol' Galaxy S III, there are plenty of rumors about the updated guts and features of the Galaxy S 4 to keep us curious.
The New York Times' Brian X. Chen reports that a "person who has tried the phone" tells him that the Galaxy S 4 will include an eye-tracking feature. "For example, when users read articles and their eyes reach the bottom of the page," Chen explains, "the software will automatically scroll down to reveal the next paragraphs of text." (A trademark application filed by Samsung for a feature called "Samsung Eye Scroll" lends credence to this particular morsel of gossip.)
SamMobile, a blog focusing on — yes, you've guessed it — Samsung's mobile devices, points out that an Italian site has published what it claims are benchmarks for the Galaxy S 4. Based on those, the device could have a 1.8GHz processor, 2GB of Ram, and a 13-megapixel camera. A trademark application dug up by the folks at Patently Apple suggests that Samsung may include some sort of 3-D feature in the Galaxy S 4.
Chances are, the body of the Galaxy S 4 will be made of plastic. Both SamMobile and a Russian mobile analyst claim that (though SamMobile offers that the sides may be made of aluminium). Also, CNet published an interview with Y.H. Lee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile business, who indicated to the tech news site that the plastic body is favorable because of lightness, durability and ease of manufacturing.
A poster spotted by AnandTech's Brian Klug during a visit to Samsung's demo room at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January suggests that the Galaxy S 4 could have a 4.99-inch 1080p screen with a ridiculous 440 pixels per inch. (The iPhone 5 offers merely 326 ppi, though in truth, there's a point, somewhere around 300 ppi, at which it's impossible for most human eyes to tell the difference.)
That's all we know (or think we know) for now. Samsung could certainly have plenty of aces up its sleeves on Thursday, so keep your eyes peeled for news from the event taking place in New York City at 7 p.m. ET. We'll be there to cover it live, of course.
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