Well, that didn't take long. Just a little over a week after Samsung co-CEO J.K. Shin teased that his company was prepping a new version of its flagship Galaxy S 4 smartphone that would include LTE-Advanced connectivity, that very device has been made officially official. Known as the Galaxy S4 LTE-A, Samsung says that this handset is the first commercially-available LTE-Advanced smartphone.
The Galaxy S4 LTE-A is fairly similar to the regular Galaxy S 4 that's available on store shelves around the globe, packing a 5-inch 1080p display, 13-megapixel rear camera and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. However, there are two major differences with the Galaxy S4 LTE-A that are likely to have some Galaxy S 4 owners looking at their device with disgust. The first is the aforementioned LTE-Advanced support, which can support speeds that are twice that of today's LTE speeds, and the second is a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor (the Galaxy S 4 has a Snapdragon 600 chip).
As far as availability goes, the Galaxy S4 LTE-A will hit Korea this summer in Blue Arctic and Red Aurora, with more colors coming later on. The device is slated to hit SK Telecom, a Korean carrier that tonight announced the launch of its LTE-Advanced network that it says is capable of producing speeds of up to 150Mbps. SK Telecom says that it plans to launch seven LTE-A smartphones by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Samsung's announcement also appears to mention that Korean carrier LG U+ plans to offer the Galaxy S4 LTE-A as well. An LG U+ announcement regarding its own LTE-A plans backs this up and also contains a reference to the unannounced LG Optimus G2.
With its upgraded processor and LTE-Advanced support, the Galaxy S4 LTE-A looks to be the device of many an Android fan's dreams. With the limited availability of LTE-Advanced networks, though, it looks like the Galaxy S4 LTE-A will be a device that's only enjoyed by select groups of people. The good news for the rest of us is that Samsung has put together a brief video that pits the Galaxy S 4 and Galaxy S4 LTE-A against one another in a head-to-head battle of download speeds. Check it out below.