As expected, Samsung has announced the GALAXY S III mini, which the South Korean manufacturer calls a ”compact version of the flagship smartphone GALAXY S III.” But while the device carries the name of Samsung’s high-end smartphone brand, it’s actually more of a mid-range handset.
The GALAXY S III mini features a 4-inch Super AMOLED display running at a resolution of 800 x 480, a 1GHz dual-core CPU, a VGA front-facing camera, and a 5MP primary camera with auto-focus and flash. It also includes Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, GPS/GLONASS, NFC, a 1,500mAh battery, and either 8GB or 16GB of storage, which can be expanded by up to 32GB with a microSD card.
The actual size of the GALAXY S III mini is 121.55mm x 63mm x 9.85mm, and it weighs 111.5g. While it doesn’t support LTE, it does come with Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean,” as well as Samsung’s usual suite of custom apps and features like S Voice, Smart Stay, Smart Alert, S Beam, and buddy photo share.
UK smartphone retailer Phones 4u has announced that it will begin selling the Samsung Omnia M Windows Phone on Wednesday, August 1. The device will be available for free with a £20.50 ($32.2) monthly contract, but if you’d like a SIM-free version, you’ll be able to pick it up for £289.95 ($455.68).
Announced on May 11 of this year, the Omnia M is the “ideal [phone] for social and entertainment multi-taskers.” It features a 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED display, a 1GHz processor, 4GB of internal memory, 384MB of RAM, a 1500mAh battery, and a “minimalist, compact design.” It also comes with a 5MP back facing camera and a VGA front facing camera.
The Samsung Omnia M will be exclusive to Phones 4u for two months. Other European carriers will begin selling it once the exclusivity period expires. The device’s street date is in just two days, but you can preorder it now for guaranteed delivery by August 1.
[Phones 4u via The Verge]
Samsung has released yet another update for the international version of the Galaxy S III, correcting a mistake the company made earlier this month where it accidentally removed universal local search from the device. The South Korean manufacturer was forced to remove universal search from the Galaxy S III on AT&T and Sprint due to a legal battle with Apple. Unfortunately, the change inadvertently made its way to other versions of the device as well.
The update, which weighs in at 5MB and is available now, brings back universal search, allowing you to use the Google search bar to find content stored locally on your device. It also includes a few stability improvements for the OS, which is running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. While the removal of local search was no doubt annoying, Samsung handled the situation well and managed to release an update relatively quickly.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has received yet another price drop on Verizon, bringing the total cost down to $99.99 with a two-year contract – provided you buy it online. If you prefer to pick up your devices in person, you’ll have to go without the $50 online discount, bringing the actual total up to $149.99 on contract. This marks the second time since launch that the device has received a price cut from its initial $299.99 MSRP.
The Galaxy Nexus, of course, was the first Android device to come preinstalled with Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” Our sister site, Pocketables, reviewed the device and was very impressed by the quality. “It ranks up there with the very best smartphones available right now,” said Aaron Orquia. Of course, that was many months ago. In the time since then, numerous other Android devices have been released, including the Samsung Galaxy S III. But if you’re looking for a relatively cheap but high-quality Android device, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is hard to beat. Plus, you can always force install the latest Jelly Bean OTA on it.
[Droid-Life via Verizon Wireless]
The ever-popular but Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)-lacking Samsung Galaxy S II—the US one, if you’re wondering—finally has an upgrade date. T-Mobile has announced that on June 11, Galaxy S II users can start updating their phones to ICS, so that they will no longer be mocked by their Galaxy Nexus-toting brethren.
The only sad part to this story is that this will not be an OTA update. A quick look at T-Mobile’s upgrade instructions, a PC, and some patience will all be required, no thanks to Samsung Kies. But hey, I’ll take an update anyway I can get it, right? AT&T and Sprint have not yet announced dates, but they are sure to be close behind—for publicity’s sake if nothing else.
This may lead you to ask, just how popular is Samsung’s S line of phones? Samsung is glad you asked, and more than happy to share some new sales figures with you, just in case you don’t have a Galaxy S device yet and happen to be susceptible to peer pressure.
First, let us consider that the Samsung Galaxy S III is the current fastest pre-ordered smartphone in the UK, with 9 million pre-orders on the books worldwide. Then you can throw in 24 million units sold of the Galaxy S, along with another 28 million for the Galaxy S II. Personally, I think the S III may just break 50 million worldwide before it’s all said and done. But even if sales stopped now, 61 million units sold is not a bad number for a smartphone line. Not bad at all.
[Samsung | T-Mobile via Engadget | The Next Web]
Today we talk not about the immanent launch of the Galaxy S III—personally I’d give it a week of media all to itself, but I’m not calling the shots at Samsung—but instead we present a second awesome new device from Sammy. The Samsung Galaxy R—for “Royal”—was announced this morning, destined for Samsung’s home country of South Korea.
Rather than try to directly compete with the mainstream Galaxy S III, the Galaxy R is aimed at the high-end smartphone crowd. It features a more sophisticated design—and size, appearing with a modest 4.2-inch screen, instead of a 4.8-inch behemoth—and very respectable specifications. Notice the classic white body and polished accents.
The screen has a 960 x 540 pixel count, and the camera is decent at 5MP. The goods are powered by a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU and a 2000mAh battery—you should be good to Twitter, Instagram, and play your choice of high-tasking games all day, and in style no less. And of course Samsung has included the obligatory Ice Cream Sandwich variant of TouchWiz.
All this power and style will set you back about $600, assuming you can get your hands on one. Right now the Galaxy R Style has only been announced as a South Korean LTE phone, but I’m sure it will find its way elsewhere before too long.
[Samsung via Engadget]
Earlier today, Samsung Tomorrow, the official global blog of Samsung Electronics, announced that the manufacturer’s GALAXY S III is now available in stores around the world, specifically Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. To celebrate, Samsung is holding a World Tour in Sydney, New Delhi, Dubai, Moscow, Sao Paolo, Beijing, Seoul, New York, and Tokyo.
The smartphone, which Samsung’s marketing claims was “designed for humans” but “inspired by nature,” includes features like S Voice (aka Samsung’s version of Siri), smart stay (which tracks your eyes and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly), and direct call (which automatically initiates a phone call if you lift the phone to your ear while messaging someone). The GALAXY S II also allows you to transfer data with S Beam–a variation of Android Beam–and take advantage of AllShare Play, Group Cast, pop-up play for videos, and much more. The full specs on this 4.8-inch Android device can be found here.
The Samsung GALAXY S III isn’t quite ready to be released in the US yet, but the South Korean manufacturer will reportedly be ready to do so within a few weeks. In the meantime, you can pick one up on Amazon if you’re willing to drop $800.
[Samsung Electronics Official Global Blog]
The Samsung Focus 2 is now available on AT&T for $49.99, prompting some retail stores to lower the price of the high-end HTC Titan II to $149.99. Unfortunately, the Titan II’s lower pricing isn’t available everywhere, and AT&T’s website still displays the $199.99 price tag.
Announced just two weeks ago–but rumored for much, much longer–the Focus 2 is Samsung’s first Windows Phone to feature 4G LTE. The phone tries to find a balance between specs and pricing, sporting a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 5MP camera which is supposedly much better than the one on the original Focus, 8GB of internal memory, and a front-facing VGA camera. The white body with silver highlights is also very stylish. If a two-year contract isn’t your thing, you can pick up the device for $399.99.
With the release of the Samsung Focus 2, all three of Windows Phone’s biggest partners have a 4G LTE-equipped device on the market.
[AT&T | WPCentral]
When Windows Phone first launched in the US in November 2010, customers had the option of choosing between one of three devices: the Samsung Focus, the HTC Surround, and the LG Quantum. The Focus was clearly the favorite, but just how popular was it?
In Episode 83 of the Platform Biased podcast, Microsoft Studios’ Dan Smith reveals the sales breakdown for the first generation Windows Phone handsets. Unsurprisingly, the Focus was the clear frontrunner. The device accounted for around 90% of Windows Phones sold, followed by the Quantum at about 8% and the Surround at approximately 2%.
The stats are revealed just after the 30 minute mark, but the rest of the discussion is fascinating as well, especially if you’re interested in how Windows Phone games are tested. Microsoft can take any phone off of the shelf, flash it with special firmware allowing it to access the internal Xbox LIVE service known as PartnerNet, and then side-load the game’s XAP. Smith also praised the Focus’ hardware, which can still run anything Microsoft’s testers throw at it.
Update: As one of our readers pointed out, it should be noted that these figures apply solely to AT&T’s initial offering. The Dell Venue Pro and T-Mobile’s HTC HD7 aren’t included either, and CDMA carriers Sprint and Verizon didn’t offer devices until much later. We’re not sure why Smith didn’t include the other devices/carriers in the breakdown, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they only accounted for a small portion of the overall sales.
Samsung and T-Mobile have been raising the ire of their customers lately, due to a conspicuous lack of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) upgrade plans. This has finally been remedied. We now know that the Galaxy S II (model SGH-T989), Galaxy S Blaze 4G (model SGH-T769), Galaxy Tab 7.0 + (model SGH-T869), and Galaxy Tab 10.1 (model SGH-T859) have all been given tickets to attend Google’s ICS party.
Things aren’t all roses however, as no dates have been given—not even a “next quarter” or “second-half 2012”—though I think it safe to assume that we will be seeing the updates before the year is out, or more likely before mid-summer.
On a harsher note, T-Mobile recently made it known that it will start blocking tethering users who aren’t ponying up. With Gingerbread—according to T-Mobile—T-Mobile’s monitoring software wasn’t up to snuff, so it let the occasional tethering freeloader get away with it. This will no longer be the case, at least for ICS users. The first users set to feel this pain are those of the HTC Sensation 4G, which is slated for its own upgrade to ICS this week.
Anybody caught using tethering—at least anybody caught using it to any serious degree—will be required to cough up an extra $14.95 a month, or risk losing tethering and hotspot abilities until they do. Still, this is a better deal than AT&T, who so kindly auto-enrolls you in a tethering plan if it detects you using the feature. Fortunately, this has only been announced for the built-in tethering feature, “undetectable” 3rd-party apps may very well still work and root-only apps are almost certain to do so.
[Samsung via Slash Gear | Android Community]