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Mystery surrounds Samsung's hot upcoming smartphone.  (Source: Samsung (text removed))
Blogs are uncertain what core and screen the phone will end up with when it launches later this week

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930)  -- the world's largest or second largest phonemaker depending on which analysts' numbers you trust -- will shake the global smartphone market later this week when it releases its latest and greatest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S3.  Samsung has hinted that the S3 may pack a second-generation Exynos 4 processor -- a 32 nm quad-core.  Most believe the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone will be near the front of the pack in CPU performance.

I. Hardware Rumors Recap

Leaks regarding the processor speed were largely in line with the Exynos 4's (model 4412) announced 1.4 GHz clock speed, though a handful of sites, such as PC Advisor claimed that the phone might launch with a 1.5 GHz clock.

Curiously Phandroid is pointing to early benchmarks posted to AnTuTu as indicating that a dual-core Exynos 4 (model 4212) may also be in the works.  The benchmark showed this dual-core processor trading blows with the hefty quad-core Tegra 3 from NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), while leaving the rest of the pack behind.

The benchmark also hints at 1 GB of DRAM, a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2 MP front-facing camera, and a 4.7 inch 720p display.  Other sites have reported that it will sport a 4.6-inch AMOLED display; while yet others have reported that a 4.8-inch AMOLED display will be onboard.

Almost all seem to agree that the new display will be 720p.  Well, everyone except for Boy Genius Report, who claims to have insider info that the screen will actually be a 1920x1080 (1080p) design.

Reports indicate HSPA+ and LTE will be supported, as one might expect.

While it's possibly these blogs are entirely wrong, it's also possible that there may be multiple models, given that this was the approach that Samsung took with the Galaxy S II.  In other words, the May 3 London launch event may bring a smaller 4.7-inch or 4.6-inch 720p, dual-core model, while a later mid-summer refresh could add the quad-core, larger screen (4.8-inch), and higher resolution (1080p).

Rumor has it that the Mali 400 GPU core, while unchanged from a model perspective (versus the Galaxy S II), will receive some modest upclocking into the 450-550 MHz range, to help power that higher resolution display.

II. Software Rumors and "Leaks" Multimedia

Rumor has it that Samsung will be running a new version of its TouchWiz user interface gloss over an Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 build.  Like HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) Sense UI, TouchWiz offers users extra out-of-the-box visual flair and widgets that can be added to your screens.

Galaxy S3
Supposedly the Galaxy S3 will pack a new version of Samsung's TouchWiz UI gloss
[Image Source: PhoneArena]

The model number of the new phone will reportedly be GT-i9300.

There are plenty of supposed leaked photos.

Samsung Galaxy S3
[Image Source: PhoneArena]

And there's even a supposed leaked video, too.


We'll bring you official details later this week, as they become available.

Sources: PhanDroid, TechRadar, The Next Web

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Why 1080p?
By MrTeal on 4/30/2012 1:19:49 PM , Rating: 5
That's insane. Unless my math is off, that's 460PPI. That's 50% higher than Apple's Retina Display. That Boy Genius Report piece can't be right, Samsung wouldn't want to have to push 1080p resolution with a smartphone GPU when there's going to be almost no useful reason to do so. Performance at the native resolution would just suck.

RE: Why 1080p?
By Sazabi19 on 4/30/2012 1:35:51 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure about the math but I agree with you. A resolution of that magnetude at that size is pointless. At a certain time it goes from "Ooo, that looks nice" to "I don't notice what you did...". There is a threshold here, I am sure what it is but I would have to say that it is probably under 1080P.

RE: Why 1080p?
By Fraggeren on 4/30/2012 2:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
Could be a misunderstanding, maybe it's just meant to be able to output 1080 to a TV.

RE: Why 1080p?
By imaheadcase on 4/30/2012 2:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, its 1080p output.

RE: Why 1080p?
By leexgx on 5/1/2012 5:20:21 AM , Rating: 2
just hope they fix the GPS with the S3 (not even sure if they even fixed the GPS jumpy issue with the S2 if there was one)

RE: Why 1080p?
By Samus on 4/30/2012 2:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, 460ppi is ridiculous for any screen, even one that's ~4" and the amount of processing power required to drive it is going to drain the battery. Even 720p on a smartphone is bordering unneccessary, but appropriate as a standard. 720p probably requires a quarter the processing power of 1080p while looking virtually identical when the screen area is considered.

RE: Why 1080p?
By zephyrprime on 4/30/2012 6:39:16 PM , Rating: 2
It would require about half the processing power since it has half the pixels.

RE: Why 1080p?
By B3an on 5/1/2012 1:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
Dont work like that. If only things were that simple.

RE: Why 1080p?
By PrinceGaz on 5/1/2012 11:26:16 AM , Rating: 2
It does work like that generally, as most of the graphics-processing these days tends to be handled by pixel-shaders, the demands of which rise linearily with the number of pixels in the final image.

Whilst vertex- and geometry-shader work is unaffected by the number of pixels, it is the pixel-shaders which are the main workload in most scenes, and a 1080p display has 2.25x the number of pixels than 720p.

Therefore the total workload for 1080p is at most 2.25x that of 720p (assuming no significant delays caused by the larger frame-buffers/cache required), and taking other GPU shader work into account which is unaffected by resolution, probably somewhere around 2x like he said.

RE: Why 1080p?
By NellyFromMA on 5/1/2012 4:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure there it isn't as neat as 'about half' even if the GPU is working twice as hard (or half as hard depending on where you are working from).

There is also the power necessary to drive the display internally. How efficient the display is is affected by the pixels it drives as a variable in the overall equation, but it isn't necessarily linear to the point where if Display A drives half as many pixels as Display B it will consume half as much power.

RE: Why 1080p?
By PrinceGaz on 5/1/2012 11:33:54 AM , Rating: 2
(wish I could edit/append my previous post...)

...and don't forget Auntie Aliasing.

With a 1080p display on a screen that size, there's so many pixels being displayed in a small-area that you won't really be able to see the jagged edges to objects even without anti-aliasing, or to look at it another way, you're getting 2.25x super-sampling AA automatically (compared with the same size 720p) simply because the display has a higher-resolution than you are able to see.

RE: Why 1080p?
By B3an on 5/1/2012 2:00:43 AM , Rating: 2
720p requires alteast 60% the processing power as 1080p for roughly the same frame rates. This is because only the amount of pixels displayed on the screen increases and not the complexity of a scene, texture resolution, polygon counts or anything else - this all stays the same. Countless GPU benchmarks will prove this.

A GPU wouldn't have to be massively more powerful to handle 1080p. But if the S3 does indeed still use a Mali-400 GPU then this wouldn't cut it.

RE: Why 1080p?
By zinc0099 on 4/30/2012 3:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm no.... ICS only supports up to 720p on a normal screen format in the emulator in the SDK. Why make it any more? No dev can make content to use it.

RE: Why 1080p?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/30/2012 5:46:56 PM , Rating: 1
Wrong, wrong, wrong.

First off the GPU's on these smartphones are terribly overpowered at the moment for the res they are pushing. Check out the utilization on the iPhone 4s for example. All this monstrous power barely has anything to do. So this:

Performance at the native resolution would just suck.

Wrong. And do you really think they would release this phone if performance "sucked"? Come on.

Your argument is like saying the res on the iPad3 is too high. Well it's not, sorry. There's NEVER "too much" resolution lol.

RE: Why 1080p?
By MrTeal on 4/30/2012 6:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. And do you really think they would release this phone if performance "sucked"? Come on.

No, I don't think they would release it if the performance sucked. The Mali-400 in the SGII has a huge amount of GPU performance, and most reports are saying that this phone will use the same GPU. What do you think would happen to frame rates going from the 800x480 resolution of the S2 to 1920x1080 for the S3? Same GPU, maybe clocked a little higher, pushing 5.4 times as many pixels. That's why I don't think the one site advocating a 1080p display is correct.

RE: Why 1080p?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/30/2012 8:10:55 PM , Rating: 1
and most reports are saying that this phone will use the same GPU.

Well personally I don't buy that. There's just no way they're going with the same GPU in my opinion. Why even make this phone if it's not a massive leapfrog over the iPhone4S (and every other phone out there)? Using the same GPU doesn't compute to me.

The only thing Samsung has confirmed so far is the CPU, the Exynox 4. I'm seeing an unbelievable amount of FUD on this phone so far, so I'll just wait for more facts.

But do I believe Samsung can make 1080p work for the Galaxy S3 if they so choose? Oh yeah.

RE: Why 1080p?
By hkscfreak on 4/30/2012 7:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
There are use cases for these where the GPU is actually underpowered. Drawing UIs are a walk in the park, even with all the fancy 3d animations and transparency, the performance goal they're pushing for however is console quality graphics for gaming and animation. It will still be a bit before we can achieve that image quality at 720p or 1080p.

RE: Why 1080p?
By Solandri on 4/30/2012 9:12:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think most of us would settle for mediocre 3D graphics with great battery life, than great 3D graphics with mediocre battery life.

The only people I know who regularly play 3D games on their phone are little kids. Most anyone older has a console or laptop or desktop for their 3D gaming hit. OTOH, I really like using my phone's GPS in my car (it's a lot smoother than the dedicated car GPS units). But the 3D graphics drop the battery life to like 3-4 hours. I would kill for an option to throttle the GPU so I get like half the framerate but a lot longer battery life.

RE: Why 1080p?
By sigmatau on 4/30/2012 11:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
3d graphics on GPS.. what????????

It's the sorry GPS that is sucking the life out of your battery, not the map. Apple and anything Android have not addressed this yet. I'm guessing it is the same with everyone. I don't think it can really be addressed until we get a new GPS system.

Also, GPS on a phone can royaly suck at times. I just love the "searching for gps satellites" forever ever ever until I reset my phones. I also really enjoy hooking up my phone to a charger while running GPS and getting 1-2% battery recharge every hour.

GPS on a phone is terrible, but probably better than some of the dedicated crap. Next time I look to buying a phone, I will have to evaluate the GPS module on these suckers. It is really that sad.

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