Samsung is holding a press event May 3 in London to announce its new Galaxy S3 line of smartphones.
The hotly anticipated S3 is the talk of the Android community. Samsung has been spinning up the hype like there’s tomorrow.
What to expect? Let’s start with the inside.
CPU and GPU
Photo credit: Samsung
Samsung execs sav the Galaxy S3 will have its new Exynos 4412 quad-core chip. This chip is built on the ARM A9 architecture.
It’s somewhat disappointing that there isn’t an A15 dual-core version, but the specs are just that. Consider: The 4412 is paired with a Samsung’s Mali-400 GPU that has had its clock speed increased from 266 MHz to 400 MHz.
So far leaked benchmarks of this chip are impressive, even considering its aging architecture. These benchmarks showing it easily beats the HTC One X’s Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor and Nvidia’s quad-core Tegra 3 at CPU-intensive tasks.
A looming question is what processor the LTE versions of Galaxy S3 will ship with. There are rumors that the Exynos 4412 does not play well with LTE and the Galaxy S3 will ship the Snapdragon S4 chip with its LTE variants.
That’s likely fact — recall Pocketnow’s discovery of a user agent profile showing the Snapdragon chip in the Galaxy S3 .
Samsung hasn’t confirmed it, but isn’t a stretch to see Samsung struggling to match a quad-core ship with LTE. Nvidia also was unable to pair LTE with its quad-core Tegra 3. The Snapdragon S4 is a great chip, but its inclusion will be a disappointment to LTE users in the U.S. if the Exynos 4412 turns out to be as good as the leaked benchmarks suggest.
Photo credit: www.flatpanelshd.com
All signs point to the Galaxy S3 having a 4.7- or 4.8-inch 720p Super AMOLED Plus display. This is a nice improvement over the Galaxy Nexus’s already impressive screen that features the PenTile Super AMOLED display.
Flatpanelshd did a great comparison between the Plus and non-Plus AMOLED displays, showing the difference between the RGB (Plus) vs. RGBG (PenTile) displays.
If the Galaxy S3 loses the PenTile arrangement but keeps the 720p screen, the subpixel density will jump from 414 subpixels per inch to 523. That jump will make for cleaner lines and truer color reproduction. This improved screen is necessary for Samsung to compete with HTC’s recently released HTC One X that has an astoundingly beautiful 720p LCD 2 screen.
Samsung must deliver a great camera after the disappointing performance of the Galaxy Nexus camera. Expect a 12mp camera — that would place it a notch above the 8mp camera on most smartphones, including the Apple iPhone. We don’t expect it to feature the 41mp pixel-binning camera in the Nokia 808 PureView, but we’ll see. A Zeiss-level lens is key as we increasingly rely on smartphones as our dedicated cameras.
Design and TouchWiz
Photo credit: Sammobile.com
A recent photo leak published by Sammobile claims to show one version of the Galaxy S3. As with all the possible leaks seen to date, the design is uninspired. We can only hope that Samsung has placed the phone internals in a dummy shell to keep the new design secret.
Design is key — Samsung can’t ignore it — and it will have to offer more than the leaked pictures I’ve seen show. In addition, these pictures also show the inclusion of hardware buttons. Why Samsung feels hardware buttons are necessary in an Ice Cream Sandwich world escapes me. Why not just shrink the dimensions of the phone or include more screen? Ice Cream Sandwich is not designed for hardware buttons. I am worried that TouchWiz will make a strong showing and somehow change vanilla Android enough to require buttons.
Manufacturers have been taking hits recently for their heavy skinning – we will have to watch to see how much of vanilla Android shows through the Samsung skin. Samsung, please don’t screw this up.
Make rooting easy.
Release and carriers
Everyone wants to know which carriers will carry this phone. Verizon didn’t carry the Galaxy S2 and instead waited six months for the Galaxy Nexus. No US carriers received any version of the Galaxy S2 until long after it was released globally.
In addition, it will be worth seeing if there is any announcement about carrier-specific versions as was announced with the original Galaxy S and to a lesser extent the Galaxy S2. Samsung held off announcing this phone at MWC most likely to move its announcement closer to the actual release date. We are hearing it will be available for pre-order in some areas almost immediately. Stay tuned.
Stay tuned. This is Seth Heringer reporting for aNewDomain.net.
[Update: Gina Smith has analysis on the released information here]