Having recently seen the introduction of new mobile operating systems from Apple and Microsoft, I was curious about how to present your smart phone Samsung Galaxy S III in the U.S. yesterday.
The device itself, with a 4.8-inch display and dual-core processor, is very strong, and responsible for marketing, Todd Pendleton and Product Manager, Kevin Packingham out of the way to describe the five things you need to “No other phone has.” But I was a little surprised by an obvious thing that makes no mention, it runs Android. Now that may be obvious, but given the momentum around Android 4.0 (ice cream sandwich), it was interesting that neither Google nor referred Android at launch.
Instead, attention focused on the five new features. These include all GroupCast Share to share documents and collaborate, to share photos ShareShot automatically between people in an event, beam S, which lets you transfer content from one device to another with a simple touch of the devices back to back, Stay Smart detects when you are looking at the screen to not dim the screen and Pop Up Play, which allows email or text on top of HD video running.
These all looked cool, although the first three are really useful only if everyone in your group has the same phone, which does limit the appeal. And—at least at first glance—all these features seem somewhat buried within Android and Samsung’s TouchWiz extensions on top of that.
Another feature that’s interesting is TecTiles, which lets you use near-field communications tags as a way to automatically have the phone open a website or download content using a peer-to-peer WiFi network. (S-Beam uses a similar feature.) I was impressed by a number of the photography features, including the ability to take 20 shots in about three seconds, and a Best Shot option that picks the best out of eight photos in a row, using the 8-megapixel rear-facing picture.
On the hardware side, it looks quite good in either a metallic light blue or white case, dominated by a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 1,280-by-720 resolution (using the PenTile technology). The phone is based on a 1.5-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (8960) processor with LTE support and comes in models with 16GB or 32GB (plus a micro SD card option) and will be available on more U.S. networks than any single phone I’ve seen: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.
I think it’s interesting that unlike most Ice Cream Sandwich phones, it has one physical button (that generally brings you to the Home screen) and two light-up buttons (one for the menu options, one for back). You hold down the Home button to bring up thumbnails of your running applications to move among them—a slight difference from the other phones I’ve seen with this OS. Indeed, it’s certainly a contender for the top Android phone, even if Samsung isn’t positioning it that way.