Officially announced by Samsung Mobile earlier this morning via the much-anticipated Unpacked event in New York, the Samsung Galaxy S4 formally supersedes the best-selling Samsung Galaxy S3 from 2012 as the company's new and current flagship smartphone.

samsung galaxy s4
As it turned out, leaked images and videos of SGS4 uploaded by gadget enthusiasts in China a few days back were totally accurate. Samsung Galaxy S4 indeed flaunts the same design identity as that of Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 -- albeit thinner and lighter. Inspired by nature, Samsung Galaxy S4 dons a rounded, pebble-like construction wrapped in high-gloss finish.

Update as of April 26, 2013: Samsung Galaxy S4 has just been officially launched in the Philippines via an exclusive media event at The NBC Tent in Taguig City. The official suggested retail price of the handset is Php 30,990 for the Quad Core Snapdragon 600 variant.

Available in two colors - White Frost and Black Mist - upon launch, Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with features and specifications that truly set the bar for how a new generation Android flagship handset from an industry leader should be done. Starting from its innards, the handset runs the latest Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system with a first-of-its-kind 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset (though there's also a Quad Core 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600, which the Philippines will get), and handles multi-tasking with 2GB of RAM. Users get 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB internal storage options, which they can expand further via the phone's microSD card slot supporting up to 64GB. On the outside, the 7.6-mm-thin SGS4 flaunts a massive 4.99-inch HD Super AMOLED display, which - I think - is already at the very precipice of smartphone screen size before entering phablet territory. The smartphone's imaging and video capabilities offer a true improvement from that of SGS3. Users get dual cameras, the main one is 13 MegaPixels with LED flash and BSI sensor while the one in front is 2 MegaPixels also with BSI. Both of these shooters are likewise capable of recording 1080p 30fps Full HD videos. As for connectivity, the smartphone supports WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, HSPA, and 4G LTE, making it an ideal bundled handset for LTE plans by either Smart Communications or Globe Telecom.

samsung galaxy s4
Despite having a bigger screen than its SGS3, Samsung Galaxy S4 managed to be 0.7 millimeters thinner than its predecessor.

Aside from beefing up its internal specifications and giving it a larger display, Samsung also made improvements on Samsung Galaxy S4's TouchWiz user interface, which now incorporates a number of features made possible by an innovative eye-tracking technology -- like Samsung Smart Pause, which enables you to control the screen just by looking at it. When you are watching a video, the video pauses when you look away from the display then it starts right up again when you are back. There's also Samsung Smart Scroll you to scroll the email or browser up and down without even touching the screen.

Other cool features include Air View, which lets users preview emails, photos, and videos, among other content, simply by hovering thumbnails with a finger. With S Voice Drive you can activate commands via voice control to help you drive more safely. There's Samsung Optical Reader, which automatically recognizes text, business card or QR code information, and provides useful functions such as translation and search. For home use, there's Samsung WatchON that transforms SGS4 into an IR remote control for your home entertainment system including TV, DVD player and even air conditioner. Users also get Group Play and Share Music for sharing photos, videos, and music with other smartphones without the need for WiFi or mobile data. And finally, there's S Translator providing instant - text or voice translation on applications including ChatOn, text message, and even email.

samsung galaxy s4
Alright, all of those capabilities and features are cool and all but when will Samsung Galaxy S4 be available in the Philippines and how much will it cost?!

Well, as yet, TP hasn't heard anything from Samsung Philippines about this handset. But I'm personally expecting Samsung Galaxy S4 to hit store shelves across the archipelago by April or May 2013. If this happens, it will merely reinforce the fact that the Philippines is always one of the first countries to get the freshest releases from the Korean Giant. As for the starting price, our TP Guesstimate is around Php 32,000 to Php 33,000 or similar to the price range of Samsung Galaxy S3 when it entered the Philippines last year. Of course, we can also expect Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and Sun Cellular to eventually offer SGS4 as a bundled handset with their unlimited data postpaid plans.

To wrap this up in true TechPinas fashion, let me present the complete technical specifications of Samsung's new flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4;

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Samsung Galaxy S4
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category High End (Flagship Level)
Dimensions136.6 x 69 x 7.9 mm
Weight 130 grams
Available Colors White Frost, Black Mist
Operating System Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Display 4.99 inches (~441 ppi pixel density), 1080 x 1920 pixels, Full HD SuperAMOLED, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Processor Octa Core Variant: Quad Core 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex A15 + Quad Core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A7, PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU, Exynos 5 Octa 5410 chipset
Quad Core Variant (Philippines, Php 30,990): Quad Core 1.9 GHz Snapdragon 600
RAM 2 GB RAM
Internal Storage 16, 32, 64 GB options
Camera 13 MegaPixels, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, 2 MegaPixels front camera, Zero Shutter Lag
Video Capture Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for main camera, Full HD 1080p 30 frames per second for front camera
Audio and Video Playback MP4/DivX/Xvid/FLV/MKV/H.264/H.263/MP3/WAV/eAAC+/Flac
Ports microUSB v2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, Infrared, EDR, 3G HSDPA, 100 Mbps; HSUPA, 50 Mbps, HSPA+; LTE: Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL
GPS Yes, with GLONASS and A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Gyroscope, Barometer
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100, 4G Network LTE
SIM Card Type microSIM
Battery Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery
Uptime TBD
Value-Added Features Floating Touch, Eye-tracking features, Latest Version of TouchWiz, Group Play, Story Album, S Translator, Optical Reader, Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, Air View,
Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 3-way calling), Samsung WatchON, S Travel (Trip Advisor), S Voice Drive, S Health, Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt Sound, Auto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly), Safety Assistance, Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring, Samsung KNOX (B2B only)
Announcement Worldwide: March 15, 2013
Philippines: April 26, 2013
Availability TP Guesstimate: Q2 2013, April to May
Philippines: April 26, 2013 (Media)
Price Philippines: TP Guesstimate, Php 32,000 to Php 33,000
Official SRP: Php 30,990