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Third gen Samsung flagship phone packs a bigger battery, quad-core CPU, Ice Cream Sandwich, and other refinements

Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) packed approximately 1,000 journalists into an auditorium in London, UK on Thursday afternoon for the unveiling of its latest and greatest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S3.

I. Higher Res. Screen, Faster Processor, Better OS

The last couple weeks leading up the launch have been relatively chaotic.  Conflicting rumors have flown about the Galaxy S3, even as second-place Android phonemaker HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) has pushed its South Korean rival to step up its game.  HTC releasesd the slick LTE-equipped One X (One XL, internationally), which AnandTech's in-depth testing showed putting other Androids to shame in battery life and processing power.  In fact, the One X was the only Android smartphone to come close to matching Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) acclaimed iPhone 4S in battery life.

First off, the Galaxy S III comes packing a quad-core Exynos SOC running at a speedy 1.4GHz (as we previously reported) which is paired with 1GB of RAM.  Later versions, including international versions may come with a different processor, perhaps a Texas Instruments, Inc. (TXN) OMAP 4 series chip.

Although rumors had pegged the Galaxy S III's screen resolution at 1080p, it actually comes sporting a 1280x720 4.8" HD Super AMOLED (PenTile RBGB, for better or worse).

Physically, the smartphone is a bit larger than the Galaxy S II and measures 5.33" x 2.67" x 0.35" and weighs in at 4.7 ounces.
Samsung isn't about to start a megapixel war with the Galaxy S III as it comes with a rather mainstream 8MP rear camera and a 1.9MP front-facing camera. While both of these camera may seem like old hat, the front-facing camera has a few tricks up its sleeve. Using what Samsung calls "Smart Stay", the front camera can monitor your eyes to determine if you're browsing the internet or reading an eBook. The camera uses this information to adjust the brightness of the screen automatically. Time will tell if this feature turns out to be a gimmick, but it's an interesting addition nonetheless.

Initial versions will come with either 16 GB or 32 GB of NAND flash memory.  A later variant will air with a beefier 64 GB of NAND, duplicating the trio of iPhone 4S capacities.

The phone packs a beefier 2,100 milliamp-hour battery (7.7 watt-hour @ 3.7 volts).  That makes it one of the beefiest Android batteries out there.  But as the HTC X showed in upstage the much higher capacity Motorola Mobility, Inc. (MMI) Droid RAZR MAXX, capacity is second to firmware refinement.

Hopefully Samsung's new graphical gloss -- TouchWiz can keep pace with the dramatically slimmed-down version of the Sense UI just released by HTC.  Samsung's proprietary user interface will be paired with Android 4.0.4, the latest version of "Ice Cream Sandwich".

II. Just Like the iPhone 4S -- Voice Assistant, but no LTE (Yet)

Connectivity wise the phone supports Bluetooth 4.0, HSPA+, and 40 MHz 802.11n WiFi.  Near-field-communication for wireless billing is also onboard, as is a refined GPS unit, which features GLOSNASS reception (GLOSNASS is Russia's rival to the U.S.'s global positioning system (GPS)).

The third generation Galaxy S also features proprietary voice assistance software, which is strikingly similar to Apple's Siri.  One might thing this would lead to more legal trouble for Samsung, but it's important to recognize that Siri is largely a rebranded piece of software from Nuance Communications, Inc. (NUAN), the world's top voice recognition firm.  Samsung's "S Voice" helper is likely a similar licensed Nuance design, giving Samsung a modicum of legal safety. 

The Galaxy S III will launch in Europe on May 29, while the U.S. launch is a bit murkier -- Samsung is only stating that U.S. carriers will receive HSPA+/LTE variants of the Galaxy S III this summer.

Sources: Samsung [via Yahoo Press Releases], Engadget

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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By xplice on 5/7/2012 12:03:41 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking about getting this phone, but now seeing its specifications I see no reason to upgrade from my current Galaxy phone.

And I'm not talking about the S2 either. I still have the 2 year old Galaxy S I9000. I just upgraded to ICS 4.0.4 with cyanogen mod and my friends who are still on the S2 with gingerbread agree that, overall, my phone is better - until they upgrade as well, of course.

With 4.0.4 the I9000 is lighting fast and butter smooth, I can't see any need for additional cores - I'm not running a database or trying to decode the human genome. Its a freaking smartphone - I'm making calls, emails, browsing the web, playing some simple games and taking some photos. The form factor, weight and resolution are perfect in my opinion for my hand, pocket and eye.

Another thing I just don't get is the hype around LTE. Who the hell is going to benefit from LTE??? In the RARE RARE moments when the network is not overloaded I get download speeds of around 600kbps on HSDPA. At that speed I can reach my monthly cap of 4GB in UNDER 2 hours! So with most networks being overloaded and most datacaps being low AND most media that you would want to download on your phone being relatively light (youtupe etc) - I ask you who will really be able to use the new technical possibilities of LTE and who would want to anyway??

I admit my graphics core is getting a bit weak. I can't play a few of the top games titles like GTAIII. But oh well...

It seems we are reaching a similar paradigm that the PC industry got to in that hardware manufacturers needed to innovate and differentiate their products by making them more powerful in order to attract consumers. However the performance available in top end computers would only be useful to a select few such as programmers and media workers. This of course led to the brief netbook revolution.

One benefit to having really powerful phone hardware would be for advanced AI to make the user experience far more intuitive. Siri seems to be a good start at that, but still there is so much space there for development and innovation. This will take a long time to advance as AI is one of the most difficult software challenges we face today. And right now hardware is advancing at a far more rapid pace than the software.

PS I know flashing you phone is not for everyone, but it is getting easier all the time.


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