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The Galaxy S4: A World Phone?

Samsung Galaxy S IV Announcement

[Photo Credit: DigitalTrends]

There have been many rumors placed in circulation about Samsung’s Galaxy S4 since the tech world received word that Samsung would proceed with a new smartphone in 2013. Since the 2012 smash hit was labeled the Galaxy S3, Samsung customers had no doubt in their minds that the new smartphone would be labeled the Galaxy S4. They also predicted (rightly so) from the outset that the new smartphone would have a near-5-inch display, 1080p video recording, quad-core processor, have a 2MP front-facing camera and a 13MP rear-facing camera, as well as the fact that it would have wireless charging. The tech world also predicted early on that Samsung would proceed with its eight-core Exynos 5 processor, but then claimed within the last two weeks that Samsung may instead go with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 processor. While Qualcomm’s processor is fast, the tech world has anticipated the use of Samsung’s octa-core processor in the company’s new smartphones.

It seems that the rumors have turned another page, yet again. Yesterday, Kukil Bora of IB Times reported that, according to SamMobile, additional leaks of the new Galaxy S4 indicate that the new smartphone will have the octa-core processor, as the original rumor suggested. What does it mean for a smartphone to have eight cores? It means that the smartphone is able to maintain fast speeds, even in multitasking situations. Samsung’s multi-window mode helps users watch movies and check their email at the same time. In order to handle the numerous tasks that smartphones allow, and to juggle more than one task simultaneously, smartphones must have better processors and improved battery life. To prevent low battery life and sluggish speeds, Samsung’s new octa-core processor looks to keep battery life stable while maintaining usual speeds for your tasks. Since it is an octa-core, we presume that it may run faster than normal quad-core processors. For those who wonder, no — the eight cores will not run simultaneously.

Antutu’s benchmark tests revealed that the Galaxy S4 will outperform the current popular Android smartphones such as the Galaxy Note 2, LG Optimus G, Nexus 4, Galaxy S3, and the HTC One X+ (see SamMobile or Androidiani for benchmark tests). In addition, SamMobile’s screenshots (provided by Androidiani) show that the Galaxy S4 will have the following specs (confirmed):

* Bluetooth 4.0
* 2.1 Megapixel, front-facing camera
* 13MP, rear-facing camera
* 1080p video recording
* 1.8Ghz, Exynos 5410 CPU
* 4.99-inch display
* 1920 x 1080 screen resolution
* OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Of the interesting specifications confirmed by SamMobile and Androidiani, one stands head and shoulders above the rest: there will be one variant of the Galaxy S4, as opposed to two variants in the past. The Galaxy S4 will support GSM, CDMA, and LTE networks on one version instead of two or three. According to Kukil Bora of IB Times:

“Previously, Samsung used to release two variants of their high-end devices, for example the GT-19300 and GT-19305. One variant used to have GSM connectivity and the other one had LTE connectivity but this is not the case with the Galaxy S IV. The Galaxy S IV will be a world phone” (Bora, quoting SamMobile, “Samsung Galaxy S4 Specifications Leaked as March 14 Release Date Nears”). What does it mean that LTE, CDMa, and GSM will be available on the same phone? According to Wired Magazine’s Alexandra Chang, the benefit is found in the phone’s compatibility with both GSM and CDMA networks:

“In layman’s terms, this means an [a] user who wanted to jump from, say, AT&T to Verizon or vice versa, would have to buy a new handset, since AT&T runs a GSM network and Verizon is CDMA. And where owners of GSM handsets previously enjoyed wide compatibility with foreign networks, LTE fragmentation means that AT&T customers…in Europe, for example, won’t be able to take advantage of LTE speeds while abroad and will instead get kicked down to the 3G network” (Alexandra Chang, “Why Apple Made Three iPhone 5 Models and What That Means for You”).

While Chang does argue the CDMA vs. GSM difficulty for iPhone 5 users, it is no different with Android users. She also notes in the same article that nine variants of the Galaxy S3 were produced under the Korean manufacturer for consumer purchase. Nine variants, some of which had GSM and LTE bands, CDMA and LTE bands, and both CDMA and GSM versions that had neither. The benefit of having a phone that houses GSM, CDMA, and LTE networks is that now, a person who leaves Verizon or US Cellular (for example) and wants to join in with T-Mobile or AT&T can do so — without purchasing a new smartphone.

The Galaxy S4 will be a world phone because it will have one phone available for everyone, whether in the US or Europe, whether in American markets or overseas. Apart from the specs, the GSIV’s world reach and compatibility is another reason why you should purchase Samsung’s newest kid on the block.

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