Samsung Galaxy S4 Software and Release dateThe next Samsung Galaxy flagship will use Android, but which version?
It all depends on when the Samsung Galaxy S4 lands. The phone will almost certainly offer the latest version of Android, unless Google tricks its half-rival by trotting out an update around the time of the phone’s launch.
Samsung cannot quickly adapt to new versions of the Android OS because it has to re-work its own TouchWiz UI first. Any change to the core software is likely to introduce instabilities and bugs in the Samsung UI.
The latest rumours from South Korea suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be shown-off officially in April 2013. However, there’s not a great deal of weight to these reports – many outlets are out to garner attention, rather than spread the word of a reliable source.
However, an April unveil and a May release is in line with the 12-month cycle that has been followed in the series to date.
If you’re expecting to see the Samsung Galaxy S4 at this year’s key technology shows, CES 2013 in January and MWC 2013 in February, you can keep on dreaming. Samsung has set the precedent that the Galaxy-series phones are too big to share the stage with other releases.
Last year, Samsung hired out Earl’s Court for the official launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 – it was no small affair.
Samsung Galaxy S4 CPU, RAM and PowerThe Samsung Galaxy S4 may be the first phone in the series not too add additional cores to its processor spec. 2010’s Samsung Galaxy S had a single-core chip, the Galaxy S2 a dual-core model, last year’s Galaxy S3 a quad-core number, and this year’s Galaxy S4 is likely to stick to the same number.
There’s no reason for disappointment, though, as the Exynos 5450 chip that is rumoured to power the phone uses an improved processor architecture. ARM’s Cortex A15 CPU design offers 40 a per cent power increase over a Cortex A9 chip clocked at the same speed.
Few devices have used this processor architecture to date, but the Google Nexus 10 demonstrated quite what it’s capable of, reaping excellent benchmark scores despite “only” using a dual-core CPU. The Samsung Galaxy S4’s Exynos 5450 will offer four cores, clocked at 2GHz.
In-line with the best currently available, we expect to see the Samsung Galaxy S4 use 2GB of RAM, like the Galaxy Note 2.
According to serial Samsung rumour producer SamsungHub, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will come with a 128GB internal storage option too. However, this is unlikely to prove popular in the UK unless Samsung makes the dangerous move of ripping out the microSD memory card slot that has featured in each Galaxy flagship to date.
The 64GB version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 was shelved in the UK due to the lack of demand, and the significant additional cost of a 128GB model of the next in-line would likely be met with the same indifference.
Samsung Galaxy S4 CameraThe megapixel war is back on. The Samsung Galaxy S4 may use a 13-megapixel camera sensor, almost doubling the figure of the 8-megapixel sensors seen in the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5.
Sony is reportedly behind the sensor that will feature. The company’s 13-megapixel chips have been seen previously in the Sony Xperia T.
The user-facing camera is much less likely to get an upgrade, because it’s not really necessary. Samsung’s Galaxy S3 used a 1.9-megapixel sensor and it may well make a return this year in the Samsung Galaxy S4. No reliable rumours indicate that the phone will feature anything more advanced than an LED flash, either. Don’t expect to see a Xenon flash included.
Most rumours indicate that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will follow the pattern that has emerged since the series's inception. Bigger screens, faster processors and geek-friendly features like expandable storage are the order of the day.
However, if we are to believe that Samsung plans to include digitser functionality in the next Galaxy, it marks a near-merging of the two popular lines. And while the growth in screen sizes is at least slowing, if you found the Samsung Galaxy S3 that bit too big, you won't be too happy with the next model's design.