Samsung is ready to reveal "The Next Galaxy" at its event in New York's famous Radio City Music Hall starting at 7 p.m. EST Thursday, and with the mass interest in the Galaxy S smartphone line, Samsung will be live streaming tonight's event to let the world watch the Galaxy S4's unveiling.
We have the Galaxy S4 live stream embedded at the bottom of this page, which currently features a countdown clock until the event begins promptly at 7 p.m. EST.
Samsung also will have live stream page for Unpacked 2013, which features a live-updating comments system and Instagram feed.
While last year's Galaxy S3 was the most popular smartphone Samsung has ever released, the company hopes to top its predecessor with with a faster, more efficient, more vibrant and yes, even slightly larger Galaxy S4.
(Updated at 7:37 p.m.) It looks like Samsung is following its own formula from when it transitioned from the S2 to the S3: Make 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 the same length at 136.1 mm but slightly wider at 71.8 mm and much thinner than its predecessor at just 7.9 mm thick. Furthermore, the 4.8-inch, 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED display from the Galaxy S4 was upgraded to a full 5-inch, 1080 x 1920 Full HD Super AMOLED Display with a whopping pixel density of 441 ppi.
(Update: 7:58 p.m.: The event has finished and we still don't know the processors of the Galaxy S4.) The Samsung Galaxy S3 was powered by Samsung’s own quadcore 1.4 GHz Exynos 4 processor and an ARM Mali-400 for its GPU. Both chips are said to get an upgrade in 2013, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is said to feature a new Exynos 5 Octa CPU, which was initially used in the company’s Chromebook model -- the new processor is said to have eight cores for enhanced work flow and power efficiency. Last year's ARM-based GPU is also said to be replaced by a new 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600 chip from Qualcomm, which will help power the display and the phone's operating system (likely Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, since we're not expecting Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie until Google's i/O Conference in May). The new Snapdragon chips don't quite touch NVIDIA's top-of-the-line Tegra 4 SuperChip Processors, but Qualcomm's 600s clock in at about twice as fast as the Exynos 4 chip in the Galaxy S3.
(Updated at 8:40 p.m.) Of course, phone speed means nothing unless the handset can actually establish a quality connection, either over Wi-Fi or cellular bands. The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn't feature that previously-rumored Broadcom "5G Wi-Fi combo chip," listed as the BCM4335 chip, but the Galaxy S4 does support 3G, 4G LTE and even China's TD-LTE bands. uploading and downloading data at an even faster clip than the Galaxy S3, 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.
(Updated at 8:21 p.m.) 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.
(Updated at 7:58 p.m.: Samsung has ended its presentation without announcing any information about the phone's price or release date.)
As far as price goes, we fully expect Samsung to retain identical price tags from the Galaxy S3 in the Galaxy S4. Now that the Galaxy S3 has seen a price drop -- Samsung is selling last year’s model anywhere between $49 and $99 -- Samsung is free to sell the Galaxy S4 at last year’s prices. If the company follows the same plan as last year, the Galaxy S4 could cost $199 for 16 GB or $249 for 32 GB. Without a two-year contract, it’s possible Samsung could sell the new handset at $599 and $649 for 16 and 32 GB storage models, respectively, like it did last year.
And considering how Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S3 on May 3, 2012, but didn't release the device in Europe until May 28 and the U.S. until June 21, it's possible Samsung will release the Galaxy S4 on a similar schedule: That said, considering how Samsung is announcing the phone in the US -- New York City, no less -- it makes little sense to tease the home crowd by telling them their release date doesn't arrive for another two months. However, Samsung may decide to make customers wait anyway: As we learned with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, a little hype can go along way when it comes to selling smartphones.
We've embedded the live stream of the Samsung Galaxy S4 event below. The live stream will begin at 7 p.m. EST.