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, but considering the mass interest in the Korea-based company's Galaxy S smartphone line, Samsung will be live streaming tonight's event to let the world watch the Galaxy S4 unveiled for the very first time. 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 Mobile US / Twitter Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S4 smartphone on Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Samsung is also featuring a live stream page for Unpacked 2013, which also 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.
The dimensions of the Galaxy S4 are said to be only slightly different from the Galaxy S3. In fact, it looks like Samsung is following its own formula 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 is said to measure slightly longer at 140.1 mm and slightly wider at 71.8 mm, but much thinner than its predecessor at just 7.7 mm thick, which is just a tad (0.1 mm) thicker than the iPhone 5.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 featured a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display and a 1280 x 720 resolution of 306 pixels per inch (ppi); the Samsung Galaxy S4 is said to feature a slightly larger 4.99-inch Full HD SoLux Display with a reported resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, which comes out to be an extremely dense-looking display at 450+ ppi. If the display isn't SoLux, it's possible Samsung will implement its experimental phosphorescent organic light-emitting diode (PHOLED) displays, which can be up to four times more power efficient than the current OLED screens in the Galaxy S3.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 was powered by Samsung’s own quad-core 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.
Of course, phone speed means nothing unless the handset can actually establish a quality connection, either over Wi-Fi or cellular bands. While the Samsung Galaxy S3 featured 4G LTE speeds, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is said to boast an even more powerful chip from Broadcom -- the "5G Wi-Fi combo chip," listed as the BCM4335 chip. According to Broadcom’s press release, the BCM 4335 is the “only combo chip to address unique interference challenges in systems with both 4G LTE cellular radios and wireless connectivity.” The 5G Wi-Fi combo chip is also said to improve the wireless range of devices, making it even easier and faster to stream and download large files or videos.
Speaking of videos, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is said to boast a beefier 13-megapixel camera -- compared to the 8-megapixel camera from the Galaxy S3, which was no slouch either. But the Galaxy S4 is also said to add a feature that could put the iPhone 5's Panorama to shame: While Google introduced a 360-degree panorama feature called "Photosphere" in Android 4.2, the Galaxy S4 will reportedly include a similar feature called "Samsung Orb," which is said to similarly synthesize 360-degree images to create 3D-like photography; the company has allegedly been working with Facebook to ensure easy sharing of Orb images to the popular social network.
But among the quirky features we've heard may be coming to the Galaxy S4, we believe the main "special feature" of Samsung's 2013 handset will be Atmel’s new MaXTouch S controllers, which allow users to interact with their devices without actually touching the screen. The feature is similar to the Galaxy Note 2 S Pen, which can draw on the 5.5-inch phablet by simply hovering over the screen in what’s called Air View, but in the Galaxy S4, users will reportedly not need a pen. We also believe the Galaxy S4 will be the first Galaxy S smartphone to feature wireless charging.
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 US 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.