Samsung has confirmed that its Android-based Galaxy S3 (or S III) smartphone will not debut at the Mobile World Congress later this month, but will be introduced at a separate event by mid-year, closer to commercial release.

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

Samsung issued this statement, which has been zipping across the mobile blogosphere Wednesday:

"Samsung is looking forward to introducing and demonstrating exciting new mobile products at Mobile World Congress 2012. The successor to the Galaxy S2 smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product. Samsung stays committed to providing the best possible mobile experiences for customers around the world."

While you might think the mobile industry could use a break after a slew of rollouts at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, all sorts of Mobile World Congress (MWC) news is starting to trickle out, including word that the Asus Padfone smartphone-tablet combo is on the way. 

Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone is expected to boast a 12 megapixel camera, support Android 4.0 (i.e., "Ice Cream Sandwich"), a display larger than the S2's 4.27-inch screen, and either a dual- or even quad-core processor.

Some suggest the phone introduction could be timed to sync up with this summer's Olympic games in London. And still others say Samsung might just have its hands full dealing with assorted patent lawsuits regarding its Galaxy Tab tablet computer, which got shot down again this week in Germany

The company's Galaxy S2 - announced about a year ago and rolled out in the U.S. this past fall -- has already been a hit, fueling Samsung's surpassing of Apple as the top smartphone seller in the third quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. 

The Android Authority blog suggests that by holding off on a Galaxy S3 launch until after MWC might give Samsung a chance to introduce the smartphone worldwide rather than launching an international version well before a U.S. edition.