Samsung has announced that it wants us to "Come and meet the next Galaxy" in London on 3 May and while the South Korean company may not be saying specifically which phone will be launched, all signs point to the Galaxy S3 being unveiled.

Samsung Galaxy S3

In the last two years the original Galaxy S and even more so in the case of the Galaxy S2, Samsung has been seen as the leading manufacturer of Android smartphones, with the S2 in particular selling in huge numbers. However it is still lagging quite some way behind the iPhone in terms of sheer volume but Samsung will be hoping the launch of the Galaxy S3 will continue the fight to claw back Apple's market-leading devcie.

While Samsung has taken a leaf out of Apple's book and remained silent on whether or not the new phone will indeed be a follow-up to the S2, we would be very surprised to see anything but the Galaxy S3 unveiled in London on 3 May.

We at IBTimes UK will be on hand to bring you the first impressions and images of the new phone but as we count down the days to the big event, we have gathered together the latest rumours and leaks regarding the phone's hardware, software and release date.

Samsung Galaxy S3: Processor

Samsung Galaxy S3

While Apple has yet to go down the quad-core route with the iPhone (or indeed the new iPad) there are already many quad-core phones and tablets on the market, including the LG Optimus 4X HD, ZTE Era, HTC One X, Huawei Ascend D quad, Asus Transformer Prime and Acer A700.

The majority of these powered by Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor - except for the Ascend D quad which is powered by Huawei's own K3V2 quad-core processor. It is almost certain the Samsung Galaxy S3 will be powered by the company's own quad-core Exynos 4412 chip running at 1.5GHz.

Adding fuel to the fire of this rumour is the Chinese manufacturer Meizu which launched the first smartphone featuring this quad-core chip this week, allaying any fears the chip may not be ready for the launch of the Galaxy S3..

As well as being 26 percent faster than current Samsung processors it could also be as much as 50 percent more efficient on battery life too, which is the benefits of multi-core chips which will please smartphone users the most.

The Exynos 4412 System-on-Chip (SoC) is rumoured to feature four Cortex A9 cores and is built on a 32 nanometer (nm) process compared to the 45nm process used on current Exynos chips. Samsung is thought to want to reduce the number of Qualcomm chips it uses in its devices, preferring to use its own SoCs instead.

Samsung Galaxy S3: Screen

One of the main features of the Samsung Galaxy S2 was of course that bright 4.3in AMOLED screen which made for great video playback. The screen used Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus technology which fixed the pentile sub-pixel arrangement problem which led to the screen on the original Samsung Galaxy S to appear grainy.

The Galaxy S3 is set to continue the trend for larger and larger screens with a 4.8in display, making it almost the same size as the company's 5.3in Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet. It is expected to retain the same Super AMOLED Plus technology which gives such vibrant colours, deep blacks and infinite viewing angles.

The main talking point about the screen is the resolution. Various reports suggest that the screen will have a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 while others suggest it will have a lower (but still impressive) HD resolution of 1196 x 720 - similar to the HTC One X. Either way, the screen should be a stunner and offer the same experience as the S2, though all those extra pixels will require more juice.

Samsung Galaxy S3: Operating System

Samsung Galaxy S3 Release Date: Two Versions Will Launch, Will It Be the 2012 Summer Olympics Official Device?

It is almost certain that the Galaxy S3 will launch with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the latest version of Android which is only now rolling out to the Galaxy S2. However one of the most interesting rumours to emerge regarding the new phone is the possibility that the phone will allow users to launch two versions of the OS.

One will be a vanilla or pure version of Android 4.0 while the second will be what users of Samsung phones are used to using, Android overlayed with Samsung's own TouchWiz user interface. This could be an interesting option for many who are irritated at what they see as unnecessary additional tweaks to the core Android OS.

Of course, because of the delay in launching the phone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 could be among the first devices to get the upgrade to Android 5.0 (Jelly Bean) which is set for a summer launch. While it won't be the reference model for this version of the OS, which is set to be the Google Nexus tablet made by Asus, it should be among the first raft of phones and/or tablets to get the update.

Samsung Galaxy S3: Release Date

Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung has purposely delayed launch of the S3 to later in the year compared to the Galaxy S2 in order to bring the US launch closer to the Asian and European launches. While it had been rumoured that Samsung would launch the phone in April, that has now been ruled out.

With the phone launching on 3 May, we would expect to see it in stores in the weeks following the launch, initially in European and Asian markets, with American markets getting the phone sometime during the summer.

With the next iPhone not due to launch until June at the earliest, Samsung will want to get a head start on Apple and could be looking at a more aggressive worldwide launch for the Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S3: Other rumours

Samsung Galaxy S3

The Galaxy S3 is expected to retain the ultra-slim profile of the Galaxy S2 but could get a new ceramic finish. While the plastic finish of the S2 did nothing for us, a ceramic finish could be more vulnerable to cracking. However a ceramic finish will feel a lot more premium and will be more resistant to scratches than either metal or plastic.

The Galaxy S3 is almost certainly going to be available in a 4G version, though this will only be available in the US and other countries with a working 4G network, which the UK is not one. It is also likely to include an NFC chip for wireless payments through Google Wallet and other services.

One of the more "out there" rumours we have heard is that the Galaxy S3 will have wireless inductive charging support, akin to the TouchStone charging system employed by the now-defunct HP Pre smartphones and TouchPad tablet. We do not expect to see this feature make it to market, but you never know.

Make sure to check back here on 3 May to get all the details of the Samsung Galaxy S3 launch as it happens.