hyped the device incessantly for the last few weeks, but risks disappointing millions if it doesn't offer new and exciting features.
One of the whiz-bang features of the Galaxy S IV might be eye-scrolling. A report earlier this month from The New York Times suggested that owners of the GS IV will be able to scroll up and down websites using their eyes. However, Bloomberg disputes that report, citing people familiar with the device. It noted that the feature may arrive in "future versions" of the device, whatever that means.
So, if no eye-scrolling, what will the GS IV include to set it apart from the competition?
The device will use Samsung's eight-core Exynos processor in variants sold outside the U.S., but will stick with Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors for U.S. models. That means U.S. versions of the GS IV will have the same or similar engines under the hood as most other smartphones.
The GS IV is expected to have a 4.99-inch display with 1920 x 1080p HD resolution. That's a nice improvement over the Galaxy S III, but falls in line with the screens of devices already in the market by HTC, LG and others. In other words, the screen won't be a competitive feature.
[ Thinking about switching carriers? See AT&T's LTE 4G Network Speedier Than Rivals. ]
There's the camera to consider. Leaked specs suggest the camera will jump from 8 megapixels to 13 megapixels. While the increase in megapixels is great for those who choose to print their images, it serves little practical purpose for improving the picture-taking experience. Many of Samsung's competitors attempt to set their cameras apart with features other than megapixels. For example, the HTC One camera dropped from 4 to 8 megapixels, but improves low-light performance dramatically and offers a novel photo/video mash-up media capture technology called Zoes. Will the GS IV's camera have something other than millions of pixels to differentiate it?
The GS IV will include near-field communications (NFC) tech, but so do the GS III and Galaxy Note II, as well as HTC One, Nokia Lumia 920 and many others. It will offer all the table-stakes flagship smartphone features, including Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, LTE 4G, the latest Android operating system and a plastic shell. Based on pictures leaked by Samsung itself, the design doesn't appear to be all that different from the GS III.
"I'm expecting them to come out with some new features they can hang their hat on," said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis, to Reuters.
"As long as the Galaxy S IV doesn't regress and as long as it's competitive with the flagship phones from other phone manufacturers, I give it really good chances of winning consumer sales even if it isn't different for the sake of being different."
The analysts over at Ovum are slightly more bullish. "Samsung has been steadily building its reputation as the leading provider of Android smartphones since the launch of the first Galaxy S in 2010 and there's no immediate indication that this lead will suddenly collapse," said principal device analyst Tony Cripps. "Tomorrow's launch of Samsung's Galaxy S4 will further cement the company as the world's number one handset and smartphone vendor."
Here is the latest teaser trailer from Samsung, released Wednesday.