At a launch event tonight at Earls Court in London, the Korean electronics giant confirmed the speculation and unveiled the Galaxy S3, the successor to the 20m+ selling Galaxy S2.
The phone comes with a whopping 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, which is 22% larger than the 4.3-inch screen in the S2, but Samsung has engineered the handset so that it does not feel significantly larger.
Running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the phone features a customised user interface supporting multi-tasking and various other features.
The new handset has an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash on the rear and a 1.9MP front-facing snapper. Alongside video calling, the front camera also supports the face recognition system, which intelligently detects when users are looking at the handset, and so does not automatically switch to the lock screen.
Samsung said this feature, called Smart Stay, is designed for the times when you are using the phone but not constantly touching the screen, such as reading an eBook.
S Voice is the firm's answer to Siri in Apple's iPhone 4S. The Galaxy S3 listens to and responds to your words, enabling a variety of tasks, such as searching for information or telling the alarm to go back to snooze.
The Smart Alert system tells the user when they have got missed calls or emails via a vibrate alarm when picked up after being idle.
With the inclusion of Ice Cream Sandwich, the S3 adds Android Beam (changed to S Beam by Samsung), which enables users to share music, files and images with others, without needing a WiFi or cellular signal. Another feature is Buddy Photo that allows photos to be instantly shared with all the friends in the picture.
AllShare Cast and AllShare Play are also supported, along with a Group Cast feature that allows users to share the phone screen with multiple friends over the same WiFi network. Near Field Communication (NFC) is introduced as expected, enabling 'contactless' transfers, such as mobile payments.
New content services the Game Hub, Video Hub and Music Hub will be introduced in select countries initially before being rolled out globally, said Samsung, while 'Pop Up Play' enables users to play a video anywhere on the screen
The 8MP rear camera is claimed to have zero-lag shutter speed and comes with new features, including Burst Shot that captures 20 continuous images at once and Best Photo, which selects the best shot from an eight-shot burst.
The Galaxy S3 will support 4G LTE superfast mobile internet connectivity, although this will only be available in North America, Japan and South Korea.
"Our aim with the Galaxy S3 was to develop the best smartphone ever made, and by focusing on creating a unique user experience through superior hardware and enhanced usability we believe we have done just that," said Andy Griffiths, the managing director of Samsung UK and Ireland.
"The device has been created by keeping in mind our daily needs and capabilities as human beings. Simple yet brilliant, the Galaxy S3 is packed with smart features that enable it to understand and respond to our actions providing the most seamless, natural and human-centric mobile experience."
The Samsung Galaxy S3 will launch in Europe on May 29, available in the UK from Samsung Brand stores and other partner retailers. Vodafone has already confirmed plans to offer the handset, with all other UK mobile operators expected to follow suit.
Available initially in Pebble Blue and Marble White, Samsung said that it will introduce a variety of additional colour options at a later date.
Samsung Galaxy S3 Full Product Specifications
Network: 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSPA+ 21Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
4G (Dependent on market)
Display: 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED (1280x720) display
OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Camera Main(Rear): 8 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
Camera Sub (Front): 1.9 Mega pixel camera, HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BSI
Video Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark
Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)
Audio Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
Connectivity: WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi HT40, GPS/GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth® 4.0(LE)
Sensor: Accelerometer, RGB light, Digital compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer
Memory: 16/ 32GB User memory (64GB available soon) + microSD slot (up to 64GB)
Dimension: 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm, 133g
Battery: 2,100 mAh