Samsung has officially taken the wraps off of the long-awaited Galaxy S III smartphone at the Mobile Unpacked press event in London. The new flagship handset packs a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor and a GPU that is said to be 65 percent faster than the chip found inside the Galaxy S II. With a steady stream of fakes, outright leaks and even event rescheduling, Samsung’s claimed almost crazy levels of interest for its new smartphone.
Samsung didn’t name a U.S. wireless carrier or the price for the smartphone, but said the U.S. version will run over LTE and HSPA+, an indication it could run on AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s network. A white version of the Galaxy S III was unveiled by Samsung’s president of mobile communications, J.K. Shin, at a crowded London media event that featured a live orchestra and was also webcast.
Other key specifications include a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen (1280 x 720 resolution) with a 306 ppi density, 1GB of RAM, an 8MP rear shooter, 1.9MP front camera and storage options in the neighborhood of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. There’s also a removable 2,100 mAh battery, a micro-SIM slot, a micro-SD card slot, a micro-USB port and support for Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, DLNA and NFC.
There is a Siri-like voice assistant called S Voice that takes commands from the user and performs varying tasks asked of it. Another new technology is called Smart Stay, which uses the front-facing camera to “watch” the user’s eyes. When the phone doesn’t detect any eyesight, it knows to go into sleep mode.
The phone will come with a “smart stay” feature that recognizes how a user’s eyes are moving when reading an e-book or browsing the Web and will adjust the screen brightness accordingly. In a demonstration video, Samsung showed how the phone’s screen will go black when a user’s eyes are closed.
An “s voice” natural language user interface will allow voice control of the phone. The demonstration showed how a user can use a voice command to play a song, for example. Officials said s voice goes beyond earlier voice recognition technology from Samsung, but didn’t elaborate.
Samsung said it expanded on Android Beam technology by allowing a 1GB movie file to be shared in three minutes by touching one Galaxy S III to another. Android Beam works over Near Field Communication wireless technology, but Samsung enhanced the feature with Wi-Fi Direct technology for quicker sharing, officials said.
In terms of sheer aesthetics, the Galaxy S III shares more than just a naming scheme with the Galaxy Nexus. The device measures just 8.6mm at its thickest point and weighs 133g (4.7-ounces). Two colors will be available at launch: Pebble Blue and Marble White.
The Galaxy S III will launch in Europe on May 29 but there was no solid date given for a US launch outside of “this summer.”