5in Samsung Galaxy S4 due February 2013

Reports from South Korea, home of manufacturing giant Samsung, claim the company is preparing to release the successor to the hugely-popular Galaxy S3 in February.

The Korea Times has quoted a Samsung official, who asked not to be identified, as saying the firm “is ready to unveil the next Galaxy smartphone - the Galaxy S4 - at early next year’s mobile world congress (MWC) in the Spanish city of Barcelona.’’ The new device is expected to hit shelves globally in March at the latest, reports the article.

It goes on to claim that the new Galaxy S4 will sport a large 5in OLED display – even bigger than the eye-catching 4.8in screen of the S3. The new device will again run Android software, presumably being 4.1 Jelly Bean unless Google pulls a rabbit out the hat before February.

An official belonging to one of Samsung’s local parts suppliers added that, “The S4 will see some external changes but retain its popular rectangular shape with rounded corner concept.’’ The source also said the device would "definitely use’’ 4G LTE networks, and will sport its in-house Exynos-branded application processors and quad-core chips. The S3 is currently using both Samsung’s Exynos and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors depending on the country, with UK models powered by the former.

The arrival of the S4 will further heat up the smartphone battle between rivals Samsung and Apple, as consumers and pundits continue to debate whether the iPhone 5 has done enough to trump the S3, released back in May. ITProPortal is flying out to Barcelona in February for the aforementioned MWC, so we’ll be breaking the official announcement right here if the phone does indeed come to fruition.