What to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement

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Tonight Samsung will finally unveil the long-awaited successor to its Galaxy line of smartphones, the Galaxy S4. The company has teased this highly anticipated phone six ways to Sunday, and the rumors surrounding the Galaxy S4 range from reasonable to ridiculous. After the success of the Galaxy S III, Samsung has set some rather high expectations for the S4.

The S4 needs to surpass not only the S III but also the current cast of high-end Android phones from companies such as HTC and LG. Although we have no way of knowing what Samsung is going to announce, we know enough to make some educated guesses as to what to expect from tonight's big event.

This image seems to suggest that the Galaxy S4 will look similar to the S III and Note II.

The teaser image that Samsung sent out seems to indicate that the company isn't straying far from its previous designs, so the Galaxy S4 won't look much different from the Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II. Unlike the HTC One, which is composed largely of aluminum, the Galaxy S4 will have the same plastic finish that most Samsung phones do.

Because the trend in smartphones these days seems to be “bigger is better,” the new phone will likely have a screen larger than that of the Galaxy S III. The precise display size is still up for debate, but most of the rumors have settled on 4.9 inches, putting the new phone somewhere between the S III and the original Note in size. It won't be a "phablet," per se, but you might not be able to use it one-handed. Like the HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z, the new Samsung phone will have a 1080p display with a higher pixel density than what you currently get on the iPhone's Retina display.

While it may not look all that different from its predecessors, you can bet that the Galaxy S4 will be packing a ton of power under its hood. Quad-core processors have become commonplace in high-end phones, and Samsung will likely ship the S4 with the latest Snapdragon or Exynos chip inside. The phone will carry a 13-megapixel camera too, though we're unsure whether Samsung is doing anything other than upping the pixel count.

The company will offer assorted models with varying amounts of storage capacity (probably 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB), and the latest Samsung Unpacked trailer suggests that different colors will be available as well. Samsung has never been one to shy away from expandable storage, so you'll probably be able to stick a MicroSD card somewhere into the new phone.

Since overlays are apparently still a thing, you can bet that Samsung will talk up the new version of TouchWiz that runs on the Galaxy S4. It will have an improved version of S Voice, more stuff you can do with S Beam, and an eye-tracking feature that scrolls the page when your eyes reach the bottom. The phone will run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, so if you're hoping for a brand-spanking-new version of Android, you'll be sorely disappointed.

The phone will be available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, and the price will be between $200 and $300 (depending on the carrier). Previous Samsung phones have launched across the networks at different times, so some carriers might get it before others. As for the release date, we're predicting that the phone will be available starting sometime near the beginning of April and that you'll be able to preorder the handset shortly after tonight's announcement.

This story, "What to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S4 announcement" was originally published by TechHive.

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