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Galaxy S IV launch sets stage for cutthroat 2013 smartphone battle

Mikael Ricknäs | March 14, 2013
Marketing strength gives Samsung an edge even if its new smartphone is no better than the competition.

However, Samsung's most important battle is still with Apple, so if Samsung manages to start shipping the Galaxy S IV soon it will likely give it a window of opportunity for sales before a new iPhone arrives.

The Galaxy S IV is expected to have a 5-inch screen with full HD resolution and a 13-megapixel camera, as well as a multitude of LTE bands. The processor that will power the phone is not yet publicly known -- the reported alternatives are a quad-core processor from Qualcomm and its own Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor.

The latter is based on ARM's big.little architecture. It has four powerful Cortex-A15 cores and four Cortex-A7 cores for less demanding tasks on one die.

Saadi also expects there will be a version of the smartphone with 128GB of integrated storage. Last year Samsung's semiconductor arm began volume production of embedded memory modules at that size, so if the company wants to increase the storage beyond 64GB it has the resources to do so.

Software, including Samsung's own user interface addition TouchWiz, will play an even more prominent role, according to analysts. Rumors regarding what new software features the smartphone will have include eye-tracking for scrolling on a Web page. That would build on the Smart Stay feature on the Galaxy S III, which prevents the screen from dimming when someone is looking at it.

But, if the rumors about features prove true, not everyone is convinced the smartphone will be something consumers will enjoy using.

"The technology that enables this is still immature," Saadi said.

Using eyes to control tablets and smartphones is challenging because users are often outside and on the move, according to Sune Alstrup Johansen, CEO at Danish company The Eye Tribe, which specializes in eye tracking.

What Samsung really has up its sleeve will be revealed Thursday in New York. The launch event starts at 7 p.m. EDT.


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