Hype Builds for Smartphone, But It Isn't an Apple Device...
When a Samsung Electronics Co. executive showed off a new chip at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, he created a flurry of news coverage for a completely different product—the company's next top-of-the-line smartphone.
For about four months, gadget bloggers along with tech writers at South Korean newspapers have tried to uncover the details of Samsung's next high-end smartphone, likely to be called Galaxy S IV after consecutively numbered versions over the past three years.
They have suggested it will have a bigger screen, thinner case, come with a pen, have no buttons and, of course, have a faster chip to run it, as well as better battery life. Some reports back in November suggested the new phone would have an "unbreakable" screen, and others have said it would be waterproof.
Pictures of invitations to a March press event in South Korea have even circulated on some websites.
It all adds up to iPhone-like hype for Samsung, which last year passed Apple Inc. (AAPL) as the world's top seller of smartphones by units.
While its product releases haven't sparked nearly the kind of fervor seen at Apple's iPhone launch events, Samsung is proving to be a formidable challenger at the top of the mobile-device market.
Its Galaxy S III phone, which launched in May and uses Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android software, is considered by many potential buyers to be the first phone to meet or surpass the iPhone's attractions.
Anchored by improvements in the Android software, Samsung made the phone's screen larger than the iPhone, enhanced its resolution and used a plastic case to reduce its weight compared with earlier versions. The Galaxy S III, however, is still slightly heavier and thicker than the iPhone 5.
Samsung executives have declined to answer questions about the upcoming version—not even when the phone will emerge, though observers believe the company will keep with past practice and roll out the new model in April or May.
"We are going to share the details of the product launch once it's finally ready and confirmed," the company said in a statement.