Samsung's Galaxy S4 (or IV) smartphone announcement is just a few days away. For those gadget geeks out there, it's a big day -- but as with any new device announcement, it's rife with rumors and speculation. So what does the South Korean company have up its sleeve with the new S4? And what should consumers expect?
I've been combing through the rumors, leaks and speculation, and here are the top features to watch for:
- Eye-Tracking - An anonymous source told the New York Times recently that Samsung will unveil a built-in eye-tracking technology that will allow the user to scroll with her eyes, instead of her finger. The New York Times is careful about the type of product rumors it reports, so this has some credibility -- even more so, because Samsung recently filed for a trademark in the US and Europe that hints at this technology. Plus, Samsung already has experience in the field with its Smart Stay feature on the Galaxy S3. But whether or not the eye-tracking feature will be available on the new S4 is questionable. Even the Times' source said Samsung may not show it off at the March 14th event --- which suggests the technology is still being worked on.
- Larger Display Size - Nearly every report has predicted a 4.99-inch display, slightly larger than the S3, and with full 1080p resolution. Samsung never disappoints when it comes to the display, so I'm expecting a top-notch screen -- and based on these specs, it will rival other devices with similar specs, like the DROID DNA.
- Quad-Core Processor - I expect the S4 to rollout in the U.S. with a quad-core Snapdragon processor -- which will be a real boost to the phone's performance and capabilities. Overseas buyers could even see an eight-core processor, using the Exynos Octa chip.
- Wireless Charging - You'll no longer have to plug it in to charge it. Although not yet confirmed by Samsung, it looks like the S4 will have wireless charging support built into the phone. This will likely be Qi technology, which is also offered in the Lumia 920.
- S Pen -- Originally, it seemed logical that the S4 would come with an S Pen, but after briefings I had with Samsung, it seems the company wants to differentiate its "Note" products from the other device lines. Therefore, I think it's a pretty safe bet we won't see an S Pen on the S4 -- although you can expect to see it on the next Note phone, the Note III.
- 64GB - It's more likely Samsung will stick with the 16GB/32GB of internal storage on the new handset; however, I'm slightly optimistic that we could see a 64GB model. Since Samsung fans love the ability to remove the battery and add storage with a microSD card slot, I expect to see that option continued on the new handset. I also expect we'll see 2GB of RAM -- the new norm for high-end Androids.
- Key Lime Pie - Google's latest OS update -- Key Lime Pie -- is expected to rollout at the Google IO conference in May. Therefore, it won't be on the S4. It's more likely that it will have Jelly Bean (Android 4.1), but be upgradeable to Key Lime Pie once that is out
- Knox -- At Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced a new security feature called "Knox" (get it, Fort Knox?). It's possible this feature could make it out on the S4. If it does, it will be a huge coup for Samsung -- especially for business and government users. As Samsung describes it, Knox allows the phone to be divided into two "personas" -- personal and business, with the business side totally protected from malware, even if you download a malicious app or get rooted on the personal side. Keep an eye out for this one, because when it rolls out it will be a big deal for BYOD.
- Other Features - There's a chance we could see the S4 go with an aluminum body, it will also upgrade to a 13-megapixel sensor camera, and we could see an update to TouchWizard with new capabilities for sharing.
I guess the last question to answer is, when the heck will it go on sale? Since the announcement is March 14, it will probably go on sale overseas in April. That means we could see it here in the U.S. by late April or early May. The Galaxy S4 will definitely launch on AT&T and Verizon, but I'd also expect to see it on all the other carriers as well -- i.e., Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular.
What new features are you hoping to see on the Galaxy S4? Let me know in the comments below.