iPhone 4S, meet the Galaxy S III. Samsung's latest model in its Galaxy lineup was launched Wednesday, and comparisons are being made with Apple's popular smartphone.
In fact, Samsung is trying to position the device as just a step beyond what's out there. In a statement accompanying the release, the company said the S III is a smartphone that "recognizes your voice, understands your intention," and maximizes sharing.
Smart Stay, S Voice
The new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich phone features a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 1280x720 resolution, an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.9 megapixel camera on the front. Burst mode takes up to 20 shots, and a Best Photo function automatically selects the best in a burst of eight shots.
There are 16 GB and 32 GB versions, and a microSD slot can expand the memory to 64 GB. Wi-Fi Channel Bonding doubles Wi-Fi bandwidth for faster connectivity. The HSPA+ version is being released first, followed in a few months by an LTE incarnation.
Some new features include "smart stay" to prevent the device from going to sleep during periods of inactivity if, for instance, the user is reading an e-book but only occasionally physically interacting. "Smart stay" uses the front camera image to determine if the user is looking at the screen, in which case the device stays awake.
The company also said the device can recognize "how you are using your phone," such as browsing the Web, by watching the user's eyes and then, if needed, maintaining a bright display. The phone also infers intention on occasion, such as dialing a person's number if you lift the phone to your ear after having texted the same individual.
There is also voice-control, called S Voice, for setting an alarm clock, replying to an e-mail, or launching the camera. "Smart alert" will vibrate the phone if it is picked up after being idle and there have been missed messages or calls.
S Beam, AllShare Play
For sharing, there's Samsung's S Beam, an enhancement of Android Beam. It allows a movie file up to 1 GB to be shared with another S III phone within three minutes, by touching the phones. Music and photo files can similarly be exchanged.
AllShare Play enables display of smartphone content on a TV, a tablet, or a PC. The screen can be shared between several friends on the same Wi-Fi network simultaneously through Group Cast, including the ability to make comments or draw changes on the screen and share the changes in real-time.
"Pop-up play" allows a user to watch a video anywhere on a screen while running other tasks. The S III has near-field communication technology for using the growing retailer network that allows mobile payment, and there are hubs of content for music, video and games.
The device will be launched this month in Europe, and a 4G LTE version will be released in the U.S. this summer.