Samsung 5-inch Galaxy S4 smartphone coming in February, report says

Samsung exec also tells Korea Times that the company plans to raise prices on processors it sells to Apple

Samsung will announce a 5-in. Galaxy S4 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next February, according to company officials and executives at parts suppliers quoted in The Korea Times.

While an S4 announcement early next year was long expected, the specific timetable appeared only three days after Apple introduced the iPhone 5, which quickly sold out of its initial pre-orders on Friday.

Samsung has divulged little about the successor to the Galaxy S III, which has a slightly smaller 4.8-in. display. The S4's display will be OLED-based, according to the report.

The new iPhone 5's display measures 4-in.

The S4 will definitely support LTE networks, parts suppliers said, and will use Samsung's in-house application processors and quad core chips that use the Exynos brand name.

Both the Exynos and Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are used in the Galaxy S III, varying by the country where they are sold.

The S4 will run Android, presumably the latest version available when the phone ships in March. One executive told the Korea Times that the S4 will also be rectangular with rounded corners, like its predecessor.

The S III is the most popular Samsung smartphone, with sales of more than 20 million units in three months, and 30 million expected by the end of 2012. That pace would put it behind Apple's projected iPhone 5 numbers. Some analysts expect 10 million iPhone 5s will be sold in the first 10 days alone.

The competition between Apple and Samsung has reached epic proportions. There are more than 50 different patent disputes between the two companies in many countries across four continents, according to patent experts.

A U.S. jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages last month, after finding that Samsung had copied several features of the iPhone.

The most direct impact Apple could have on Samsung's Galaxy sales would be if U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh honors Apple's request for a permanent ban on U.S. sales of eight smartphones, including seven Galaxy models.

A hearing is set for Dec. 6.

In addition to the news about the S4, an unidentified Samsung executive told the Korea Times that the company is going to boost the price charged to Apple for processors produced at its Austin, Texas, plant.

No other details were provided on that report, and Samsung did not respond to a request to comment.

Apple now holds about 31% of the U.S. smartphone market, while Samsung has a 24% share, according to NDP.

Samsung is the biggest maker of cell phone, including smartphones, worldwide, but is slightly behind Apple in global smartphone sales. (Apple makes smartphones, and not feature phones.)

IDC said Apple shipped 19% of the 106 million smartphones shipped worldwide in the second quarter, while Samsung had 16.2%.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about netbooks in Computerworld's Netbooks Topic Center.

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