Samsung Galaxy S III puts heat on iPhone with monster display, eye-tracking
UPDATE MAY 21: Telecom has opened pre-orders for the Galaxy S III, for $0 up front and $120 a month, $199 on a $100 /month plan or smartphone plan, or $399 if you committ to an $80/month plan (all with a two-year term).
The S IIII will cost $1049 off contract.
Retail release wil be May 31, Telecom says.
Earlier, Vodafone said it would stock the handset but has yet to reveal pricing.
2degrees is expected to also carry the phone.
Galaxy S III key features:
- 4.8-inch 720p high definition display (S II: 4.3-inch)
- Eye tracking technology
- New voice commands
- Quad-core processor (S II: dual core)
- 32GB of onboard memory (64GB version on way)
- Runs on Google Android 4.0 software (aka Ice Cream Sandwich)
- 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.9 megapixel front camera
- HSPA+ support for up downloads up to 21Mbit/s
- 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm (S II: 8.5mm)
- Release date: First release will be for Europe late May. Samsung says early June for NZ
- Expected to be on Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees [UPDATE: Vodafone has been first to confirm, saying it will release the S III by the end of May. No pricing has been released yet.]
- Compatible with the new Snapper/2degrees mobile payment system
MAY 4: Samsung took the wraps of the Galaxy S III at an event in London today (Friday morning NZ time).
The Galaxy S II was one of the most successful Android contenders against Apple’s iPhone.
The new S III features a monster 4.8-inch screen – nudging ahead of the 4.7-inch HTC One X recently released in NZ as the Android big-screen arms race continues (the reigning champ is still the Samsung Galaxy Note on 5.3-inches). Apple's iPhone has a 3.5-inch display - which now puny by high-end Android standards, but at least can be thumbed in all areas while held in one hand.
Another signature feature is eye-tracking technology, which uses the S III’s front-facing camera to monitor your eye movement. If it senses you're looking at the screen, it won't dim the display even if it's due to time out.
Enhanced voice commands let you say "direct call" to phone someone in the middle of typing a txt to them, or "snooze" to shut off an alarm.
Elsewhere, the S III gets similar mod cons to other Androids here or on the way from the likes of HTC, Motorola, Huawei and Sony Ericsson, including a quad core processor, and an onboard memory boost to a roomy 32GB (Androids have previously skimped on onboard memory).
If you can keep up, the quad core processor allows multitasking tricks such as writing a message at the same time as you watch a video.
In London, a Samsung “All Share” content streaming service was demonstrated, continuing the trend of Android phone makers offering their own content portals in parallel to Google Play (formerly Android Market).
A rep for Samsung NZ could not immediately confirm if All Share would be available for NZ customers. The Android camp's messy content strategy remains a stark contract to Apple focussed, single store approach.
Samsung did not break out detailed mobile phone statistics in its recent announcement of a record $US4.5 billion quarterly profit.
But one analyst put its total smartphone sales (including various models in the Android-based S series) at 44 million, eclipsing sales of Apple’s iPhone (35 million during its December quarter) and Nokia’s new Windows Phone-based Lumia series (2 million during its launch quarter).