A ruggedized variant of Samsung's Galaxy S4 might not be too far away from launching after new leaked images have captured the device in operation. Photos of the Galaxy S4 Active, acquired by GSMArena, show Samsung has significantly altered the design of the original Galaxy S4, adding three front screen hardware buttons and a reinforced rear shell with four screws on the back — though they might just be for decoration.

The Galaxy S4 Active features a quad-core 1.9GHz processor with Adreno 320 GPU, and incorporates the same 4.99-inch 1080p Super AMOLED display as Samsung's new flagship. Samsung partner Peel, which makes the company's WatchON TV control application, also confirmed the existence of the waterproof and dust-proof handset, including support for "upcoming S4 Mega, S4 mini, and S4 Active" smartphones in a new version of its app.

It's probable that the S4 mini will be a low-spec version of the S4, in a similar vein to the Galaxy S III mini. The Galaxy S4 Mega is likely to be an S4-branded (and hopefully higher-specced) version of the company's two mid-range Mega handsets the Mega 5.8 and Mega 6.3.

Update: MobileTechReview has uploaded a video (Spotted by Engadget) of what appears to be the same handset GSMArena leaked. The video contradicts GSMArena's take on the device, claiming the S4 Active features a dual-core processor, and also revealing an 8-megapixel camera. If the new specs are true, the S4 Active will be significantly less powerful than the standard S4. We'll have to wait for an official announcement from Samsung to see which source is correct.

Aaron Souppouris contributed to this article