Verizon Galaxy S4 release date just moved a little closer (launching May 23rd) so for those of you who have been dying to get the latest Samsung flagship smartphone, the wait is almost over!

On Tuesday Verizon quietly announced it would release the Galaxy S4 one week early and I'm sure Verizon customers will be pleased. The Samsung Galaxy S4 first slated to begin shipping  on May 30th will now begin leaving stores on May 23rd -- roughly one week earlier than expected.

At this point Verizon Wireless' homepage is still showing May 30th as the ship date but our guess is the system just hasn't caught up yet with the change.

The news that the Galaxy S4 would see an earlier release date came to us from Ken Muche, a Verizon representative in Southern California. Muche stated that Verizon had moved the release date from May 30th to May 23rd. The 30th will now be reserved as the in-store launch date. As for those who pre-ordered the device from the carrier they could see their phones arriving as early as next week.

Here is the official press release concerning the changed Galaxy S4 release date:

UPDATE - Monday, May 13: The Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available for purchase online and in Verizon Wireless Stores starting May 23.

The Samsung Galaxy S® 4 is now available for pre-order online for $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. The smartphone will be available for purchase online and in Verizon Wireless stores starting May 30.

The Galaxy S 4 introduces new photo features like Dual Shot, paired with a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera to take professional looking photographs. Dual Shot allows the use of both the rear and front facing cameras at the same time and lets phone users to include themselves in pictures or videos.

The Galaxy S 4 is Global Ready and can travel overseas with anyone, but the software may make it an essential item for the world traveler. S TranslatorTM operates as a multilingual pocket dictionary native to the phone, translating words and phrases when typed or spoken into the app.

Other apps on the Galaxy S 4 include WatchONTM, which turns the smartphone into a home entertainment remote and personal TV guide. Air ViewTM and Air Gesture let users interact with their smartphone without even touching it. Hovering a finger over the screen lets users preview emails and waving a hand over the phone can scroll up and down a webpage.

Customers can choose between two color models, Black Mist or White Frost. Additional product information can be found here.

So what's new with the Galaxy S4?

Well upon release the phone will retail at 199.99 at Verizon with a two-year plan. Unfortunately for those who like a phone with a lot of storage however, the Verizon Wireless model of the Galaxy S4 will only be the 16GB version. Though Samsung made a big deal of the 32 and 64 GB versions, unfortunately no US carriers are carrying the 64 GB version of the S4. Furthermore, the 32GB version is only available through AT&T for $250 with a two-year contract.

One good thing about the S4 is that it does take a micro SD card where additional memory can be added up to 64GB.

The Galaxy S4 comes with a number of exciting new features such as an upgraded 13 mega-pixel camera, 5-inch screen with a 1920 x 1080 display. The Galaxy S4 comes equipped with the latest Android operating system, Jelly Bean  4.2, plus tons of other really cool features.

Will you be purchasing a Verizon Wireless Galaxy S4 on the release date? Tell us about why you chose it in the comments below