At Samsung's Unpacked 2013 event at in New York City on Thursday evening, the Korea-based electronics giant showed off its Galaxy S4 smartphone for the first time, but it did not announce any set price points or a release date for any of its global customers.
In all likelihood, Samsung is following the rule, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Last year, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S3 on May 3 but didn't release the device in Europe until May 28 and in the U.S. until June 21 -- a full month and a half after its unveiling. We originally believed Samsung would release the Galaxy S4 on a similar schedule to build more hype before the phone's actual release date, and it looks like we were right. If that's the case, expect Samsung to release the Galaxy S4 at the end of April or very beginning of May.
We still expect Samsung to price the Galaxy S4 exactly as it did the Galaxy S3 last year with its $199 and $249 price points, as well as contract-less models at $599 and $649 for 16 and 32 GB storage models, respectively. The Samsung Galaxy S3, which has already seen a price drop, will likely continue selling between $49 and $99.
Samsung was clearly excited about what it was unveiling today -- its Unpacked 2013 invitations were riddled with the number "4" -- and in true form, the new Galaxy S4 is a major improvement over the S3 in several key ways, including its form factor, its speed, and its general efficiency and user friendliness.
Samsung Mobile president JK Shin introduced the Galaxy S4 to an eager crowd of press and tech enthusiasts, ending weeks of speculation about the 2013 Galaxy S smartphone.
“We have taken technology and innovation further to help us get closer to what matters in life: To h elp us leave a richer, simpler and more fun life," said JK Shin, the president of Samsung's IT and mobile communications division. "We imagined the possibilities, explored new directions and listened to you to understand what a smartphone should provide to us in our lives."
"What we will show you tonight is the innovation that improve the way people live every day and help them live in the way they aspire to. For each of us, life is a journey. What we life is a device that can join us on this journey. A device that can enable us to do more, a companion to help us explore life to the fullest."
As we predicted, the dimensions of the Galaxy S4 are only slightly different from the Galaxy S3. In fact, it looks like Samsung followed its own formula when it transitioned from the S2 to the S3 by making the screen a little bigger, but the phone a little thinner. The Samsung Galaxy S3 measured 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 measures slightly longer at 136.1 mm and slightly wider at 71.8 mm, but much thinner than its predecessor at just 7.9 mm thick.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED Display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, which comes out to be an extremely dense-looking display at 441 ppi; this is a major upgrade from the display on the Samsung Galaxy S3, which featured a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display and a 1280 x 720 resolution of 306 ppi.
Of course, connectivity means a great deal to any smartphone: While the Samsung Galaxy S3 featured 4G LTE speeds, the Samsung Galaxy S4 works on 3G, 4G LTE and even China's TD-LTE bands, uploading and downloading data at an even faster clip, which is great for streaming large files or videos to and from the cloud.
Speaking of videos, the Samsung Galaxy S4 features a powerful 13-megapixel camera -- compared to the 8-megapixel camera from the Galaxy S3, which was no slouch either -- and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. But the Galaxy S4 adds many more cool camera features, including the ability to shoot photos and videos from the front and rear-facing cameras simultaneously, and the ability to remove people that accidentally walk into your frame.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is packed with more features centered around the human experience. The Galaxy S4 is the first phone to feature Samsung Knox, the company's security feature; Air Gesture, which lets the user hover their finger over the screen to activate the lock screen; Dual Camera, which lets you take photos and/or video with the rear and front-side cameras simultaneously to include both images in the same frame; Smart Scroll, which detects whether or not you're looking at the phone to either scroll through text or pause and play videos if you look away; and Group Play, which allows multiple Galaxy phones to link together to play the same game together. Clearly, Samsung wanted a phone more dynamic than its specs might suggest.
Currently, Samsung offers interested customers to sign-up on its website to learn more about the Galaxy S4 in the future, so it's possible the company won't offer any more release date or price details about the Galaxy S4 for an indefinite period of time. But again, if Samsung is following last y ear's pattern, users can expect the Galaxy S4 to release roughly a month and a half from now -- either late April or early May -- at the same price points from last year's Galaxy S3, meaning the phone will likely start selling for $199.