Samsung is going to announce its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S IV, this Thursday.
This is a really big moment for Samsung. It has successfully transitioned from being some boring phone maker to one of the premier brands in the world.
The S IV could be its peak, or it could be the next step on the path to world domination. It all depends on how good the phone is.
Since you're probably curious about what Samsung has in store, we've summed up just about everything you need to know about the phone in this post. And watch the accompanying video for more analysis.
The screen is going to be really big
Samsung is planning to make the screen 5-inches. (Measured diagonally.) Its last flagship phone, the Galaxy S III was 4.8-inches measured diagonally. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but it is.
Is the screen going to be too big?
We can't answer this right now, but a 5-inch screen is really big. It's almost comical to make phone calls with a giant phone. But, Samsung sold a fair amount of the 5-inch Galaxy Note, so it thinks people want the bigger screen. Plus, we're mostly using our smartphones as computers so, bigger can be better.
It will be plastic with aluminum sides
A lot of people were hoping Samsung would splurge and use better materials for its new phone. According to various reports, the case will be plastic, which feels cheap compared to the iPhone or HTC's latest phone. Samsung is doing it because it's lighter, easier to make, and costs less.
Will it have a home button?
A leaked image of what the S IV is supposed to look like shows no home button for the phone. It's possible Samsung ditches the home button and makes the bottom part of the phone touch sensitive.
The screen is going to be LCD, not AMOLED, maybe ...
Samsung is the leading OLED display maker, but Samsung-focused blog Sam Mobile says its going with a LCD display for the S IV. Sam Mobile says it was struggling to make full HD AMOLED displays. However, Pocket Lint reported that it will have an AMOLED display. What's the difference? Samsung's AMOLED screen looks great, we're not sure what would happen with an LCD screen, but we assume it won't be bad.
It will probably be on all carriers
One the things that makes Samsung unique from other Android phone sellers is that it starts selling its phones on all carriers all at once in the U.S. We expect the same will happen with the S4.
The U.S. version is getting a quad-core processor, international is getting eight-cores.
A screen shot leak shows the U.S. version of the S IV getting a quad-core processor. The international version of the phone is said to have an eight-core processor. Don't get too worked up over cores. It's how you use the cores, and reports say Samsung is using its processor to be ridiculously fast.
Some sort of eye-tracking, or head tracking software
Depending on what you read, Samsung is going to have some sort of eye-tracking, or head tracking software. It sounds like the phone's camera will look at you and you could nod your head to make the screen move. Samsung has tried a lot of gesture based software with mixed results in the past.
It should run Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) which is the latest version of Android
The downside to only making hardware is that you have to rely on someone else's software release schedule. Android 4.2 came out in November so it's still pretty fresh. Still, with a big phone launch, we assume Samsung would love a big Android launch.
It's going to have a 13 Megapixel Camera
The megapixel thing is a bit misleading. You can have a ton of megapixels, but if the software supporting the megapixels is crappy, the photos will be crappy. That said, we expect the camera on this thing will be great.
Samsung is planning a ginormous launch
Jefferies' analyst Peter Misek says Samsung is planning to build 100 million S IVs, which would be a gigantic launch.
When will it be released?
The announcement for the phone is March 14. We're not sure when it goes on sale, but if we had to guess, we'd go with late March to mid-April release. In other words, tell your friends to hold off on buying an Android phone for the next month or so.
Samsung and Visa have a deal for a new payment system
Samsung's phones have had NFC chips which allow for wireless transmission of information in the past. A lot of people want NFC for payments, but not a lot of retailers/payment services do NFC. Samsung got a deal with Visa which should manifest itself with the S IV. People might actually use NFC with this phone.