It has been pretty much all but confirmed that Samsung will be officially announcing the Galaxy S IV at their big event tonight in New York City. First we had the invitation with that seemingly giant “4,” then reports from reputable places like the New York Times and Bloomberg talked about features the new phone might have like the ability to scroll through web pages using just your eyes to navigate (no swiping on the touchscreen required). On top of all that there has been a steady stream of rumored specs and leaked pictures and videos claiming to be of the S IV.
With only a few hours left until the big show, let’s get you caught up on what we know so far and some of the things we expect will be in the Galaxy S IV once its official.
Initially the rumors were that Samsung was going to give the S IV a fairly decent redesign, dropping the home button from the bottom of the phone and moving away from the all-plastic design that is found on the S III and Note II. Recent leaks– including the pics you see above and below (from a Chinese site it168.com)– however suggest that the S IV will look a lot like the S III. Samsung for its part tweeted out another teaser for the event featuring a picture of a phone covered by shadows. This has led to a lot of questions such if this is just the Galaxy S III with Samsung using it to further show that the event will be about the next Galaxy, or that it is actually a picture of the top half of the S IV. Of course, if it is the top half of the S IV, it doesn’t seem to have any visible signs of a speaker. This could be because it is a shadowy teaser, but PocketNow throws out the idea that Samsung could be using a new technology called Tissue Conduction, a tech similar to what is used in hearing aids and would allow for louder and clearer sound without needing to have a speaker hole (Kyocera actually showed off a phone with this tech last year).
— Samsung Mobile US (@SamsungMobileUS) March 12, 2013
We’re more inclined to believe those leaks from China for what the S IV will look like, but it would be pretty cool if it used the Tissue Conduction.
On the specs front things seem to be a bit clearer. Most rumors and reports say that the S IV will have a 5 inch 1080p full HD screen (in other words, an even more amazing screen than the S III), a 4 or 8 core processor with 2 GB of RAM for ridiculous speed, and a 13 megapixel back camera with a 2 megapixel front camera for HD video chat. Yes, you read that right– a 13 megapixel camera (though its worth mentioning that the amount of megapixels is only one part to what makes a camera take great looking photos and videos). Other specs for the S IV include running the latest version of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean, as well as having support for things like NFC and 4G LTE.
If the S IV has these specs it will definitely be a superphone ready to handle whatever you want to throw at it.
Now we already said that we’re expecting the S IV to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but it’s the custom Samsung software that looks to be may make things a bit more interesting. We seem to have gotten to a point where pretty much every top phone has similar specs– really fast processor, great cameras and screen, 4G LTE etc. And while this is all great, manufacturers need to differentiate themselves from the others to get you to want to buy their product. To do this we’ve now seen a great emphasis on amazing designs and cool, unique software. Just look at the new HTC One.
With the S III and Note II Samsung started messing even more with the custom software on their phone. Some of this was great– like the ability to use the S Pen on the Note II and the idea that the phone uses the front camera to turn the screen off when you look away to save battery life– others kinda sucked (Samsung’s version of Siri called S Voice comes to mind). With the Galaxy S IV, Samsung may look to bring some of these ideas to another level, particularly the idea of eye tracking. According to reports in the New York Times (as well as some supposed leaked screenshots like the one you see above from GSM Israel) Samsung will introduce new features like “Smart Scroll” which will automatically continue scrolling through what you’re looking at just by following your eyes with the front camera. This means you can use your phone with having to constantly swipe up and down on the screen.
Other rumored “eye” features include “Smart Stay” which will pause a video your watching when the camera notices you’re looking away, and “Smart Rotation” which automatically adjusts the rotation of the screen based on the angle you’re looking at it from.
As cool as these ideas sound there have been some contradicting reports as to whether we’d see them later today on the S IV. The New York Times says yes, Bloomberg says no– we’ll have to wait and see who’s right.
Release Date and Wrap Up
No one seems to have any real idea for when Samsung will put the S IV on sale. Last year the S III was announced in early May but didn’t hit the US until June. This year since it’s in March no one really knows, though as Engadget points out, the reason the S IV launch is in New York is because of demands by US carriers. Hopefully this means that the S IV will be available sooner rather than later, but again, no one really knows.
We’ll of course have everything you’re gonna want and need to know about the Galaxy S IV covered back here later tonight. The event begins at 7 PM EDT so make sure to check back.