Samsung aims to offer a version of its flagship Galaxy S4 that will be the first commercial smartphone to support faster LTE-Advanced technology.
The South Korean market leader revealed the plans in an interview with Reuters. JK Shin, the head of its mobile business, said the device would be sold in South Korea as early as this month and will be powered by Qualcomm chips. A global rollout will follow.
Reuters suggests the variant will enable data to be transmitted at “nearly twice the normal [LTE] speed”, although this is unlikely to be a reality at launch; deployment of LTE-Advanced network technology is still at a very early stage, with operators in the testing and planning phases. Korea’s SK Telecom has publicly set a timeframe of September 2013 for the launch of LTE-Advanced, and would therefore be the most likely first customer for the faster Galaxy S4.
Shin also used the interview to hit back at concern around the future financial health of the vendor. Samsung’s shares have lost almost $20 billion since June 7 after analysts cut forecasts for Galaxy S4 sales by as much as 30 percent on industry data that showed the high-end smartphone market was getting saturated.
“S4 sales remain strong. It’s selling far stronger than the [Galaxy] S III … and the new LTE-Advanced phone will be another addition to our high-end segment offerings that ensure healthy profit margins,” Shin said.
Shin declined to provide forecasts for S4 sales. He said the new S4 would be slightly more expensive than the current one.
Certainly the vendor is taking an aggressive and wide approach to device launches, having unveiled a raft of new products already this month. Later this week it is hosting a major media event in London and Mobile World Live will be there to provide comprehensive coverage of developments.