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Galaxy SIII now in SA

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.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII was officially launched in SA yesterday, at an event in Sandton. The SIII is the highly-anticipated successor to the Galaxy SII.

While the new flagship device has already been available from select Vodacom and MTN stores, Samsung says the handset will now be available nationally. The handset has a recommended retail price of R7 999, but is available on various contract deals from the service providers.

Speaking at the launch, country manager for Samsung SA, Deon Liebenberg, said the SIII is on track to become the fastest-selling gadget in history and has already broken records with over nine million pre-orders. Locally, Samsung SA received close to 50 000 pre-orders for the SIII.

Apple's iPhone 4S sold over four million units during the first weekend of availability, and the SIII has been positioned as the handset that could pose a serious challenge to the iPhone's dominance. According to reports, the SIII has already dethroned the iPhone 4S as the most popular smartphone in the UK.

The Galaxy SIII runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), measures 4.8-inches, is powered by a 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos 4 Quad processor, has a Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 720×1 280, an 8MP rear camera, and 1.9MP front camera. The handset is available in “marble white” or “pebble blue”. Samsung SA says the SIII is currently only available locally in marble white, and the pebble blue model will be available by the third quarter.

Smart features

Director of mobile communications for Samsung SA, Craige Fleischer, says: “Designed to be both effortlessly smart and intuitively simple, the Galaxy SIII has been created with our human needs and capabilities in mind – enabling one of the most seamless, natural and human-centric mobile experiences.”

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 also automatically recognises faces in photographs and tags contacts in pictures, while also inviting the user to share them. The “buddy photo share” function also allows photos to be simultaneously shared with friends pictured in an image directly from the camera or the photo gallery. The SIII also features improved voice recognition technology in the form of “S Voice” which listens and responds to natural language.

“In addition to allowing information search and basic device-user communication, S Voice presents powerful functions in regards to device control and commands. When your phone alarm goes off, but you need a little extra rest, just tell the Galaxy SIII 'snooze',” says Samsung. The feature can also be used to play music, adjust volume, send text messages and e-mails, organise schedules and take pictures.

The SIII also comes with “S Beam”, which is an expansion of Android Bean and its near-field communication 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.

Samsung has also announced that SA is one of seven countries in which the new Video Hub video-streaming service is now available. The service allows users to rent or buy HD movies.

The SIII is available from MTN and Vodacom, and Samsung says it will be coming to Cell C soon.

Click here to see the full specifications for the Galaxy SIII.

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