Mobile - A Challenger Appears

7/6/2012 5:41:46 PM

Samsung squares up to apple again, but this time lets the technology talk. Ian McGurren is your commentator.

Ian is a professional IT analyst, a semi-professional writer and a pretty amateur electronic musician. He likes gadgetry and loves making gadgets do things they were never designed to do.

Description: Mobile - A Challenger Appears

Mobile - A Challenger Appears

The phrase ‘iPhone’ killer is bandied around so much these days it’s a byword for a touch-screen phone that’s not made by Apple itself. What’s more, such is the so-called Jesusphone’s dominance these days, it’s a threat that has largely been rebuffed, and has often led to devices not being judged on their own merits.

However, some devices have some closer than others, initially come closer than others, initially with HTC’s Desire but latterly the mantle has been taken up by Samsung’s enormously successful Galaxy S series. This week, we saw Samsung unveil its third version, but how does it stand up to the competition?

Description: HTC Desire HD A9191

HTC Desire HD A9191

The Galaxy S3 was subject to more pre-release hype than any other Android device yet, eclipsing even Google’s own Galaxy Nexus. Tales of ceramic casing, 1080p screens and more were whispered, but in the end it was a surprisingly predictable affair.

In fact, the Galaxy Nexus is a good starting point: take a Nexus, stretch the screen to 4.8”, add two more cores, an SD card slot, bump up the battery to 2100MA and the camera to 8mp and you’re pretty much there. You get the added bonus of Samsung’s Exynos CPU with the famed Mali GPU and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) with Samsung’s latest version of its TouchWiz UI, TouchWiz Nature UX. This claims to add more bells and whistles to ICS such as eye tracking to make the device switch off when you’re not looking at it, a Siri-like S voice recognition system, and pop-up windowed applications.

Reaction to the S3 has been mostly positive, though with praise that’s not quite glowing. Many have pointed out that, while impressive and certainly more powerful than the iPhone 4S, it’s evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Some go as far as to say that in hindsight, some of its thunder has been stolen by HTC’s One X, especially on the ICS/ quad-core front. Indeed, it may be that the biggest rival to the S3 comes not from Cupertino but from Korea, especially with the One X currently being offered for less on contract.

Description: The long awaited Galaxy S III

The long awaited Galaxy S III

One thing’s for sure though, with the S3, Samsung has finally released an Android handset that has got people talking, and like its predecessor the S2, it will sell in the millions. Consumers are spoilt for choice across all platforms – detractors or not, the iPhone 4S is a remarkable device, as is Nokia’s flagship Lumia 900 on Windows Phone and the Android leaders in HTC’s One series, Samsung’s various Galaxy handsets and LG’s Optimus 4XHD

Left behind a little in the smartphone race recently has been RIM, its BlackBerry devices are still losing ground every month. Recently, however, RIM’s counter-offensive has begun with the announcement of its latest operating system, BB10. Based on the QNX OS that powers its PlayBook tablets, BB10 brings BlackBerry closer in feel to operating systems like Android, with widgets, on-screen keyboards, finger-led UI, fancy flicking predictive text and a sharper look akin to webOS.

Unfortunately, the OS launch was just that, with no hardware besides a dev unit that won’t be making it to production. What’s more, it seems unlikely the full BB10 will appear on current BlackBerry devices with the exception of the PlayBook – if you want BB10, you need a new device. BB10 walks the walk, but now we’ve seen the opposition’s next-generation devices, is it just walking too far behind now to catch up?

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