Samsung says the Galaxy SIII is inspired by nature and boasts a number of features designed to make the user interface more “human” and intuitive.
Punted as a smartphone “designed for humans”, the new Galaxy SIII was unveiled by Samsung at an event in London last night.
Focusing less on specs and more on design, the high-profile launch was centred on the natural and organic elements that Samsung says inspired the device.
The Galaxy SIII measures 4.8-inches, is powered by a 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos 4 Quad processor, has a Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 720×1280, an 8MP rear camera (and 1.9MP front camera), Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and is available in “marble white” or “pebble blue”.
According to Samsung, the design is simple and organic, and the phone's key features are focused on providing an intuitive and natural user interface. The 'Smart Stay' feature uses eye-tracking technology to make sure the device's screen stays on and doesn't go into sleep mode when the user is looking at it.
“Direct Call” is designed to intuitively know when the user wants to make a phone call. For example, if the user is typing a text message and decides to call the recipient instead, by lifting the phone up to their ear the number will be dialled automatically.
The “Smart Alert” feature lets the phone know when the user has been away from the device and uses a “vibrating nudge” if there have been any missed calls or messages. The built-in “Smart Tag” functionality automatically recognises faces in photographs and tags contacts in pictures, while also inviting the user to share them.
President and head of IT and head of Samsung's IT and mobile communication division, JK Shin, says the handset was designed with human needs and capabilities in mind: “What makes me most proud is that it enables one of the most seamless, natural and human-centric mobile experiences, opening up a new horizon that allows you to live a life extraordinary.”
Samsung has also bolstered its answer to Apple's Siri, with a revamped version of S Voice. According to Samsung, the feature does “more than just respond to voice commands” and can automatically open applications and services, set reminders and perform operations.
In addition to the other features, the SIII comes with “S Beam”, which is an expansion of Android Bean and its NFC technology. The service allows users to share a 1GB file with a friend in less than three minutes, or a 10MB file in two seconds. The transfer of files is done by tapping two SIII phones together.
The launch of the latest Galaxy will be Samsung's biggest to date, as the handset will be made available in 145 countries, through 296 mobile operators. The 3G HSPA+ version will launch in Europe first at the end of May, followed by Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. A 4G model will make its debut in the US, Japan, and Korea later in the year.
Social media has been abuzz with news and reactions to the new device. According to Reuters, analysts are expecting the strong marketing campaign (the phone is billed as the official smartphone of the Olympics) and the phone's features to generate strong sales.
However, some are not entirely convinced and IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo is quoted as saying: “It's not an eye-catching device that will overwhelm consumers.”
Jeronimo adds that Samsung is, however, the only company that can compete with Apple in the smartphone market. The Galaxy SII was Samsung's best seller to date, with over 20 million units sold, and the company has said it is looking to at least double that figure with the Galaxy SIII.
Analyst at CCS Insight Geoff Blaber says: "Samsung must make the most of a four- to-five-month window of opportunity with the Galaxy SIII before Apple changes the game once more with its next generation iPhone.”
More details on the device's specs and features can be found here.
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