Samsung Galaxy S4 Gets 26 April UK Release Date

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Samsung confirms the UK release date for the Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be released in the UK on April 26 and will eventually be available on all major networks, Samsung has confirmed.

The Korean manufacturer’s new flagship smartphone will be available from the Samsung Experience Store at the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre, with EE so far the only network to confirm it will stock the device from launch day

The Samsung Galaxy S4 supports six different LTE bands, opening up the possibility of 4G roaming, but EE 4G will be the only operator able to offer an LTE service from day one. However Vodafone has said that the device will be added to its 4G ready range of smartphones, meaning that customers can use its ultrafast service the moment it becomes operational.

O2 and Three also told TechWeekEurope that they would offer the device, but did not reveal any further details.

Huge demand expected

Samsung Galaxy S4 4Information about pricing also appears to be at a premium, although it has been confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available in black and white (“black mist” and “white frost”) varieties from launch, with further colours introduced later in the year.

Given the popularity of its predecessors, there is likely to be huge demand for the smartphone, which was unveiled at the Samsung Unpacked event in New York last night.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is thinner than its predecessors at 7.9mm and has a larger 5-inch screen, which is the world’s first full HD Super AMOLED display, protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It is powered by a 1.9GHz quad-core processor or 1.6GHz octa-core processor, depending on market, and will run Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

There is also a focus on imaging, with a 13 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front facing camera included. Dual Camera blends photos taken from both cameras into one image, while it’s also possible to store sound and voice together as a photo is taken.

The new Story Album feature collates content such as messages, location and weather information, photos and videos into a photo album which can then be ordered offline.

Designed for whatever

While the Galaxy S3 was supposedly ‘designed for humans’, the S4 is ‘designed to bring your world together’, boasting a range of communication and face, voice and motion control features.

“In today’s world, we are all looking for smart ways to make life easier and less stressful,” said Samsung. “The Galaxy S 4 ensures that tasks are effortless with innovative features that detect your face, voice and motions to enable screen control with no need for finger touch activation.”

Samsung Smart Pause will pause a movie when you look away from the screen while Smart Scroll detects the movement of your eyes and wrist to scroll up and down the screen without your fingers touching it. Air View allows users to hover their fingers to preview content such as emails, images or video and Air Gesture can change a music track or scroll with the wave of a hand.

The Group Play feature can share content with friends without the need for a Wi-Fi or cellular signal, while the new S Translator can convert text or speech instantly.

Taking a bite out of Apple

Samsung Galaxy S4 2“At Samsung, we are restless about innovation, and are constantly striving to create unique experiences for our customers that will transform their lives. The Galaxy S4 does just that,” said Simon Stanford, Vice President of IM division, Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland. “We have listened to what consumers around the world want and taken the intuitive technology from the Galaxy S III a step further. Combining this with superior hardware has led us to develop the Galaxy S 4, the ultimate smartphone inspired by our customers.”

Samsung will hope that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will cement its position as the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer and is unlikely to be bothered by Apple’s criticism of the Android platform yesterday ahead of the launch.

“With brains as well as beauty, Samsung’s latest effort looks set to be the biggest handset of the year – and that’s in spite of an inevitable iPhone sequel,” commented Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com. “However, several manufacturers are trying to fan the flames of a revival, and a string of strong recent launches from BlackBerry, Sony, and HTC will give Samsung some stiff competition.

“Pricing will be final piece of the puzzle, and if Samsung can get it right, then the Galaxy S4 could take a huge bite out of the smartphone market at the end of April.”

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Samsung Galaxy S4 launch
Samsung Galaxy S4 launch from Samsung Flickr feed