It may not be much, but the constant drip of rumors surrounding the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4 is beginning to solidify into something like a consistent picture of what the mega-hyped smartphone will look like. The question of when it'll be released, however, is less easily answerable - the conventional wisdom right now seems to favor a due date at some point in April.
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One of the latest tidbits at which the Android blogosphere has snapped at hungrily is a leaked document from a New Zealand handset retailer, first published by Phone Arena, listing a Galaxy S 4 as a raffle prize for employees who participate in a sales contest. Since said contest ends on April 8, the speculation is obviously that the Galaxy S 4 will be available at that time.
Personally, I don't buy it - unless New Zealand is going to be the first market for the Galaxy S 4 for some bizarre rugby-related reason, it's tough to see the April 8 date as evidence of anything in particular. While it could imply that the initial launch is set for some point before that date, there's no guarantee that the prizes would be handed out right away.
While as yet unconfirmed by Samsung, the rumored Mobile Unpacked event the company is said to be holding post-MWC in March still sounds like a more credible option. As Android Authority pointed out last week, it would be a strategically astute time to release, potentially stealing some of Apple's thunder if the company is planning its traditional first-quarter iPad launch. (The site notes, of course, that it's unclear whether Apple will do that this year, given the major iPad announcements just a few months back.)
Further hints that the Galaxy S 4 will have a full-HD display - which really shouldn't surprise anyone - also came out this week, in the form of a leaked user agent profile of the AT&T version of the device published by PocketNow. The SGH-1337 (or "leet" as in "elite," if you don't speak 1998-era dweebish) listed in the file was quickly assumed to be the Galaxy S 4, not without some justification. It's far from conclusive, but it would fit with the existing picture we're getting of the device.
One thing that doesn't fit, however, is the new rumor of sophisticated eye tracking controls to be deployed on the Galaxy S 4. This one came up via a Dutch-language gossip site, which says, as far as I can tell via Google Translate, that Samsung has a couple of patents that indicate it has plans to roll out features called Eye Pause and Eye Scroll with the new device. I'm not going to tempt fate by offering to eat some article of clothing if the thing does debut with magical eye-following features, but I will say that this technology would have to be pretty advanced to keep up with how hard I just rolled my eyes.
Elsewhere in the Android world, the folks over at Phandroid alertly spotted what may be the most solid indication yet that the Motorola X-Phone isn't just a load of mysterious-sounding hot air: The company posted - and subsequently pulled - an advertisement on LinkedIn for a senior director of product management for the X-Phone.
Despite a number of sites calling this "confirmation" of the project, however, it's important to note that this is really anything but - it could be anything from a simple mistake to somebody at Motorola Mobility screwing around on LinkedIn. That said, I'll certainly be listening for any new tidbits on the matter.
It's been a big week for the Nexus 4 - its status on the Play Store changed to "in stock" earlier this week and then miraculously remained there until at least the time of this writing.
Oh, and everyone is all of a-twitter over a white plastic version of it that's been seen in the wild. SlashGear has pictures from a Vietnamese site called Tinh t¿, which do indeed seem to show a sleek white version of the Nexus 4. Frankly I'm inclined to believe it really is a new Nexus 4, since I already can't buy one.
Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.
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