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Double-speed Samsung Galaxy S4 launched as original falls short of expectations

Samsung is set to unleash a new version of its Galaxy S4 smartphone offering double the speed of the original model, which has failed to meet the sales forecasts of industry analysts.

JK Shin, the leader of Samsung’s mobile division, told Reuters on Monday that the firm will launch an “advanced” edition of the S4 in its native South Korea as early as this month, and revealed it was locked in talks with overseas carriers regarding a wider release.

The upgraded handset will utilise LTE-Advanced 4G technology, making its data transmission twice as fast as the Galaxy S4 currently on the market. Samsung says downloading a movie using LTE-Advanced would take just one minute on average, compared to around three minutes on standard LTE.

Powered by Qualcomm chips and priced slightly higher than its predecessor, Samsung will be hoping the advanced model can restore some momentum to the S4 brand after a host of analyst groups significantly downgraded their sales forecasts for the original S4.

Reuters reports that JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have been forced to reconsider their outlooks for the smartphone, with shipment estimates falling from around 10 million units a month to 7 million on average.

Shifting 7 million flagship handsets a month may not sound like a major headache for Samsung, but it has led to a decline in overall earnings forecasts for the company from major finance groups like Woori Investment & Securities. Moreover, Reuters adds that the Koreans lost nearly $20 billion (£12.7 billion) in market value in a week as shares plunged along with the forecast downgrades.

Despite the setback, Shin continues to be optimistic about the shelf-life of his dominant Galaxy line. "S4 sales remain strong,” he said. “It's selling far stronger than the S3 ... and the new LTE-Advanced phone will be another addition to our high-end segment offerings that ensure healthy profit margins."

Shin also believes that the super high-speed connectivity will become increasingly uniform in the smartphone arena. "As operators seek to provide more data-centric mobile services, I think this will become mainstream 4G technology globally in the coming years," Shin said.