Samsung has taken the cover off yet another Galaxy S4 smartphone. This one is the first smartphone to use LTE-Advanced technology, which promises data speeds twice as fast as ordinary LTE.
Samsung said the Galaxy S4 LTE-A smartphone has the fastest downloads, Web browsing, multimedia streaming and application-loading ever seen in a phone. The company said LTE-A networks can move data twice as fast as ordinary LTE networks.
"Samsung maintains a unique position for delivering LTE innovations as a provider of the parts, devices and equipment required to deliver next generation 4G LTE services," said JK Shin, CEO and president of the IT and Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. Shin makes a good point, but Samsung also has good partners. SK Telecom will be the first operator to offer the device and an LTE-Advanced network, and the new smartphone is the first to deploy Qualcomm's system-on-a-chip Snapdragon 800.
Featuring a 2.3-GHz quad-core processor and a 2,600-mAh battery, the Galaxy S4 LTE-A looks much like the Galaxy S4 on the outside, with its 5-inch screen and design. The difference is what goes on internally. The Snapdragon 800 is the key differentiator. The phone also carries 32 GB of memory and a standard microSD slot for an additional 64 GB of optional storage. The device also offers dual cameras.
Running on Android 4.2.2., also known as Jelly Bean, Samsung points to new features, such as ImageON. This perk analyzes images that users view, then identifies and plays videos related to the image with a single click. It also extends access to relevant content on the Internet.
Meanwhile, a high-resolution Digital Media Broadcasting service delivers unparalleled clarity and viewing experiences for on-the-go viewing of live television programs or sporting events. The only drag: it appears the phone will only be available in South Korea for now. Though at some point it should make its way to Western countries and the U.S.
A Data Hog
"The key feature that makes the Galaxy S4 the snappiest of smartphones is so-called 'carrier aggregation,' a special feature of LTE-A devices and networks," said Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. "Simply put, carrier aggregation lets the operator gang different slices of spectrum together to create higher bandwidth."
Kay confirmed that consumers that use the new device can indeed expect broadband downlink data rates of up to 150 megabits per second, twice as fast as the most highly optimized LTE network. He, too, expects the technology to make its way to U.S. markets that have the spectrum available to handle the downloads.
"Just think about what data rates like that mean," he told us. "Theoretically, with the new Galaxy S4 LTE-A, you could blow through your entire 5 GB monthly data allotment in less than five minutes. Apple, your move."