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The oft spoken about Samsung Galaxy S3, the predicted successor to the company's best-selling Galaxy S2 smartphone, continues to hog the limelight; the hype has been further built following a rather vague announcement by the company, indicating a product launch, in London, on 3 May.
There are, reasonably, only two other companies and smartphones that could be compared to the Galaxy S2 - the Apple iPhone 5 and the HTC One X. While it is tough to gauge how the S3 will fare against its rivals, given the lack of confirmed information for either the Samsung or the Apple device, we do have a whole range of rumours and leaked prototypes to draw conclusions from.
The recent weeks have seen an increased number of leaked images, all of which claim to be originals. One such leak is from a surprisingly reputable source - GSM Arena - which reportedly received information from Vietnamese Web site Tinhte.vn concerning the Galaxy S3.
Apparently, the Vietnamese recorded a hands-on video depicting an alleged beta-stage prototype, which was being tested for carrier services.
Check Out Key Features as Revealed by Prototype:
The Samsung-made quad-core processor runs at 1.4GHz and has 1GB of RAM. The system also has a Mali-400MP GPU (identical to the one on the Galaxy S2) and will use Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The 4.6in screen will have 320ppi density and 720p resolution. However, while it should be a Super AMOLED screen, the Vietnamese sources were unable to confirm whether it would be a Plus or not - that is, whether it would use a PenTile matrix or a conventional RGB-one. Furthermore, the device will apparently include a microSD card slot in addition to 16GB of built-in memory.
The camera on the smartphone should be an eight megapixel unit, contrary to other rumours suggesting a 12 megapixel camera. The phone should have a 2250mAh battery and sport Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
Galaxy S3 Rumour Round-Up
S-Cloud to Challenge iCloud: A report on the Verge, dated 20 April, had some interesting news. Apparently Samsung could even launch its own online cloud storage facility - S-Cloud - at the Galaxy event. The claim was repeated by another source, at Maeil Business. Apparently the service will be identical to Apple's iCloud but will not have limitations on type of content. Moreover, it also expected to offer access to popular television shows, movies and music (free and paid) to be available across a range of Samsung devices. The S-Cloud could offer 5GB of storage, according to rumours. However, it is still unclear if this will be a free or paid service.
Meanwhile, reports in February suggested Samsung delayed the launch of S-Cloud after failing to find a suitable partner; it now appears they have tied up with Microsoft.
Amazon Germany' Galaxy S3 Sales Listing: The as-yet-unreleased Galaxy S3 is apparently up for sale (for approximately £500) on Amazon's Germany website. The listing reveals a 4.7in Super AMOLED screen, a 12 megapixel camera and the Ice Cream Sandwich OS, another report on The Verge observed. However, some of the other specifications created a few talking points.
"The phone's storage is listed as 16GB, expandable up to 32GB, which would seem to be an arbitrary limitation if a microSD slot is included. Then again, only partial information is provided, and it could be simply indicating that a 32GB variant will be available. We were also expecting a smaller screen with Super AMOLED Plus, but have no firm details on that either way," explained The Verge.
Vietnamese Samsung GT-i9300: Vietnamese Web site Tinhte caused more confusion by posting a photograph of the Samsung GT-i9300 and claiming it to be the S3. However, it was later suggested Samsung used a fake outer shell to ensure the machine was not exposed until it was ready, Tinhte speculated (via Google Translate). The video from Tinhte also revealed the expected smartphone as running on TouchWiz UI with onscreen buttons.
"We will be able to tell you more at the 2012 Samsung Mobile Unpacked," Samsung told Engadget when asked to comment on the handset's specifications. The hands-on video may be seen here.
S3 to be Minor Upgrade, like iPhone 4S, but with Eye-Tracking: Another rumour doing the rounds was that the S3 could actually only be a minor upgrade over the Galaxy S2 (in a similar vein to the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4). This information came from a source within the UK telecom industry, who spoke to CNET UK. The source did add that the phone would come "with a speed boost and eye-tracking among the upgrades" and that the phone may not even be called the Galaxy S3. There are more details in this IBTimes UK report.
Out with the 'Galaxy' Tag? The most interesting speculation is that Samsung may go the Apple way, as far as naming the new device is concerned.
"There is also a rumor somewhere of the new phone codenamed 'Bali'. It will take care of the no-namer S3, but it feels weird to have a completely new name when the phone is basically an upgraded S2," reports Northern Voices Online.
Meanwhile, a report on The Verge, citing a source familiar with Samsung's plans, suggests the S3's launch has so much security cover it is impossible to confirm any feature, let alone its name. Samsung's secretive launch very much mimics Apple's policy over the years.
Final Analysis: Here is the rundown of likely features and specs of the next-gen Galaxy smartphone, based on the rumours so far. The phone should come in two colours - a combination of red and black and the second in white. There should also be two models, in terms of built-in memory - 16GB and 32GB.
- Display: 4.8inc full HD 1080p resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio display.
- Processor: A 1.5GHz quad-core Exynos processor with 2GB RAM.
- Camera: Eight megapixel rear camera and two megapixel front-facing camera.
- Operating System: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) without on-screen navigation buttons.
- Features: Integrated 4G LTE, an ultra-thin ceramic case, a physical Home button, Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth version 4.0, assisted GPS with GLONASS, Wi-Fi with DLNA and hotspot functionality.
- Battery: A 2250mAh battery.