And here it is. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has just been made official at the South Korean company’s official launch event in London by JK Shin, President of Samsung’s mobile communication division. It’s been the subject of rumours ever since the iPhone 4S went on sale, we can now finally put them to bed. The new flagship Android phone is here and we’ve got the details – including an all new voice command service. Read on for all the news.
If you’ve been following the rumour mill online, the Samsung Galaxy S3 may not come as too much of a surprise: it is indeed the curvaceous phone with a physical home button we’ve seen nestling in a variety of different cases over the last fortnight.
But it should still get you salivating. Samsung has confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S3 packs a giant 4.8-inch HD Super-AMOLED display. That’s as well as an 8-megapixel camera (with features like burst shot) and the Exynos 4412 quad-core processor that appears to have spanked all-comers in leaked benchmark results recently.
But of course, hardware’s only ever part of the story. The Samsung Galaxy S3 runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) out of the box, but it’s no watered down version like the TouchWiz-infused update belatedly pushed out on its predecessor, the Galaxy S2.
Instead, you get a new, much-improved version with easy, intuitive multitasking and a ream of tweaked Android 4.0 features, as well as an improved homescreen that lets you plonk Google’s array of new Android 4.0 widgets on it happily. S-Beam, for example, is Sammie’s bespoke version of Android Beam.
Samsung’s also added a few new features on top of Ice Cream Sandwich, including S Voice, a new voice assistant that looks remarkably like Siri on the iPhone 4S. Samsung says S Voice “provides powerful device control and commands. When your phone alarm goes off but you need a little extra rest, just tell the Galaxy S3 “snooze” – and it snoozes.” That’s on top of being able to play songs and the like.
What’s impressive is that it’s always listening. Instead of pressing a button, you simply say “Hi Galaxy,” and it’ll wake up. It also lets you open the camera, which Siri currently doesn’t let you do. (Of course, Google’s own Voice Actions can still be run, though having two different virtual butlers might prove rather confusing).
On top of that, the 1.9-Megapixel front-facing camera recognises your eye movements, leaving the screen on for as long as you’re looking at it. It’s a feature called ‘Smart Stay’, and it’s genius. That ties in with the proximity sensor too; texting? Bring the phone up to your ear and it’ll automatically call who you’re talking to.
It’s just 8.6mm thick, and is “inspired by nature” – leaves and pebbles, to be specific. It’s made from a new ‘Hyperglaze’ process, making it seamless, and is available in ‘Pebble Blue’ and Marble White’. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has been designed to be an intuitive, natural experience. “It sees what you see, it listens to what you say, it shares what you love. It is designed for humans,” said the opening video at tonight’s event. It seems that, for all the hyperbole, that Samsung’s managed that.
Carphone Warehouse and several UK networks including Vodafone and O2 have already announced that they will be stocking the Samsung Galaxy S3; Samsung says that the 3G version will be released end of May in Europe (May 29th), and an LTE 4G model will drop the June in the US. We’re live at the event right now so stay tuned for our hands on shortly. Although we haven’t heard anything about pricing yet, we’d expect tariffs to start popping up sharpish.
Samsung Galaxy S3
Everything you need to know…
- We jostled with the 500 strong crowd to bring you some of the first ever hands-on photos with the Galaxy S3. It’s a thing of beauty.
- The UK Galaxy S3 prices are trickling in, and clambering on top of each other to be the best. What’s the cheapest deal?
- South Korea’s getting a slightly different version of the Galaxy S3, but it’s ever-so-slightly sexier. It’s just not fair.
- What happens when all the best features of a new phone are stripped out and made available online before it’s even out?
- How the quad-core Exynos processor and features like Pop-up Play are bringing in a new dawn for mobile use.
- The Samsung Galaxy S3’s killer feature? Quite possibly. Is hovering video viewing the way of the future?
- Jealous of the amazing Pop-up Play? There are alternatives available on the Google Play store, you know.
- Is S Voice just a gimmick, or a genuine step forward for mobile voice assistants? Here’s what it really needs to succeed.
- Has the Samsung Galaxy S3 destroyed the competition? And if so, what does that mean to Android as a whole?