The New Galaxy S4: Rumors vs. Reality

March 20th, 2013 by Hyperion

Now that you finally have your SIII all figured out, it’s time for Samsung to unveil the Galaxy S4.  We here at Hyperion have been anxiously awaiting the announcement (yes, so we can design replacement batteries) because the announcement of a new iPhone just seems so…predictable.  But what really had us excited are some of the rumors about what the S4 may have.

  • Eye-scrolling technology: Get to the bottom of the screen you are perusing and S4 automatically shifts for you.  Too lazy to slide the page up with your finger (a total hassle, right?), well, you won’t have to anymore.  Linger too long on a particular item, Amazon will open that page for you.  Blink once for yes, twice for no.
  • Larger Screen/Higher Resolution: Word on the blog was the new screen could be a whole 1/2 inch taller than the S3 and resolution that would give the iPhone 5 a true run for the money.
  • 3D Camera: Okay, so this peaks absolutely no interest for us but at least a still 3D picture is less likely to give you a headache like motion picture 3D does.  Still, if the S3 can find a way to present the picture like the Nitendo 3DS, I’m in.
  • VISA PayWave: Why reach for your wallet when you’re already texting on your phone.  We have a good head start on erasing any physical evidence we exist, might as well take the next step into a totally digital identity.
  • Octo-core Processor: Two, count them, TWO quad core processors!?!  If you have Pinky and the Brain dreams of ruling the world, you can do so from your phone.   Thankfully we make extended batteries for this phone because you WILL need it!  (Maybe we should invest in a micro generator!)

So that’s some of the rumors we heard, here a link to Samsung’s Official S4 site:

http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxys4/index.html

 

If you’re still interested in S4 Reality, read through this article:

Samsung Galaxy S4: Hardware and software specs, dimensions, and what we know so far

Galaxy S4, bottom bit

In the lead up to the official launch of the Galaxy S4 tonight in New York, a series of leaks from China mean that we now know almost all of the hardware and software specs of Samsung’s new superphone. The Galaxy S4 will have a 4.99-inch display, an eight-core Exynos Octa 5410 SoC, and interesting new software features such as SmartPause and floating touch. We also know the dimensions and weight, and the battery size.

Read on for what we know about the Galaxy S4 so far, and also what we don’t know.

Samsung Galaxy S4

With the slow but inexorable waning of the iPhone, both in terms of mind and market share, the Galaxy S4 is probably the most anticipated phone of 2013. The question on everyone’s lips, though, is whether Samsung can push the smartphone (and Android) envelope forward, despite lackluster innovation from Apple — and in the face of strong offerings from HTC. Let’s run through the expected hardware and software specs of the Samsung Galaxy S4, and then analyze the current state of play in the mobile space.

Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to have a full-HD 1920×1080 display (up from 1280×720 on the S3) — and the display might even make the jump from 4.8 inches to an edge-to-edge 5 inches. There were some early rumors of a flexible display, but they can be discounted — the tech just isn’t there yet. It remains to be seen whether the underlying tech will be AMOLED or LCD, though reports suggest that Samsung’s AMOLED production line isn’t ready to produce 1920×1080 5-inch displays, while the LCD production line is raring to go. Maybe this will mean that the Galaxy S4 can finally compete with the iPhone in terms of image quality and accuracy.

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa SOCUnder the hood, the Galaxy S4 is expected to use Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 600 or 800 SoC. The Snapdragon 800 is particularly exciting because it’s the first chip to be built on TSMC’s new 28nm HPM (high performance mobile) process — though, at 2.3GHz, it might be more of a tablet part. There is also the possibility that we’ll see two Galaxy S4 SKUs — a Snapdragon model with integrated LTE for the US market, and an Exynos-powered model for the rest of the world. If the S4 does use Exynos, the most likely option is an eight-core Exynos 5 Octa — four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 in a big.LITTLE configuration. There are still big questions about whether the power-hungry Cortex-A15 is suitable for smartphone use, so it will be interesting to see how the Galaxy S4 pans out.

With regards to the dimensions of the phone, we now know that the Galaxy S4 will be slightly wider, taller, and heavier than the S3 (which is expected, given its larger display), but a full millimeter thinner. The full dimensions are: 140.1mm (length), 71.8mm (width), 7.7mm (depth), and 138 grams. The same Chinese leak that provided the dimensions also confirms that the Galaxy S4′s battery will clock in at a very large 2,600 mAh (up from the S3′s 2,100 mAh).

Updated: A Samsung GT-I9500, which is believed to be the Galaxy S4′s model number, recently appeared on the Browsermark 2.0 benchmark leader board with a score of 2710. This beats the current leader, the LG Optimus G, which sports a quad-core Snapdragon S4 and a score of 2555. A score of 2710 isn’t strongly indicative of either the Exynos 5 Octa or Snapdragon 800, though.

Updated: A Samsung Galaxy S4 owner seems to have run their phone through the Antutu benchmark, revealing that at least one variant of the phone will come with Samsung’s eight-core Exynos Octa 5410 SoC, clocked at 1.8GHz. The same benchmark confirms that there’s a PowerVR SGX544MP GPU (but not how many cores), a 4.99-inch 1920×1080 display, 2GB of RAM, and a 13-megapixel rear shooter. It still remains to be seen if there’ll be a Snapdragon 800 version of the phone.

Updated: We now know that the Galaxy S4 will feature the hardware and software to track your eye movements — though, as the smallest eye tracking solutions are much too large to squeeze into a smartphone, we’re not entirely sure how Samsung will accomplish this.

Updated: Thanks to a Galaxy S4 that fell off the back of a truck in China, we now know that Samsung’s next superphone will indeed have a 5-inch 1920×1080 display, but it won’t be edge-to-edge. Other than that, the hardware and software specs seem to be exactly as expected.

Rounding out the hardware, the Galaxy S4 is expected to have a high-res camera (13MP, according to some rumors), up to 64GB of flash storage, and 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Following the weak, uncertain, and confusing introduction of wireless charging in the Galaxy S3, we expect the S4 to rectify the situation and provide wireless charging by default. You can also expect all of the usual kitchen sink: WiFi (which should step up to MIMO), Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and so on.

Software

There are unlikely to be any surprises in the software department: The Galaxy S4 will almost certainly run a TouchWizzified version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (sorry, Tizen fans — keep on dreaming). There is also a rumor that the Galaxy S4 will launch with a pad accessory, which, when bonded with S Health, will give your phone the ability to measure your pulse and blood sugar, among other things.

Updated: We now know that the Galaxy S4 will ship with SmartPause and floating touch. SmartPause is a lot like SmartStay, pausing videos when you look away. Floating touch is exactly what it sounds like, allowing you to interact with your touchscreen from a few millimeters away, instead of having to actually touch the screen. Why you would actually want to do this is beyond me.

Evolution, not revolution

In short, all indicators point to the Galaxy S4 being a fairly gentle evolution of the Galaxy S3 — a lot like the iPhone 4 and 5. A 5-inch screen would be exciting, but it really isn’t that different from 4.8 inches. An octa-core Exynos would certainly offer a unique selling point — but when you remember that four of those cores are wimpy, and that the Cortex-A15 cores are the reason your smartphone only lasts for six hours, your excitement will be quickly tempered. A laser keyboard, like the one shown in the (fan-made) video below is unlikely.

Truth be told, we would all be wise to temper our expectations when it comes to smartphone and tablet technology. There are some exciting concepts coming down the pipe, but we are probably still years away from flexible, transparent smartphones, or high-capacity batteries that can support pico projectors and other power-hungry features. (See: DoE calls for a chemical battery with 5x capacity, within 5 years – can it be done?) It’s easy to be fooled by the dramatic bombast pumped out by Apple, Samsung, and others, but actual paradigm-shifting technologies really don’t come along very often. It has been five years since the launch of the first smartphone, and we’re still firmly in the penumbra of the capacitive touchscreen; processors have got faster and screens have got larger, but that’s just the continuing, predictable, and thoroughly non-revolutionary march of Moore’s law.

Don’t get me wrong: A mind-blowing smartphone that redefines the very meaning of the word will eventually come along — just probably not today.

 

 


 
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