Samsung announces Galaxy S III with S Voice and a bunch of other iOS features

Samsung announced the Galaxy S III today at the Unpacked event in London. Apple’s biggest competitor in the smartphone space, and the only other manufacture making any significant profit, showed off the upgraded 4.8-inch 720P SuperAMOLED display device that now weighs 133 grams among other minor spec improvements.

A few of the features shown off were S-Voice, which is like Siri, Scan and Match for Music (iTunes Match), and Airplay-like “AllShare Cast” for streaming content to your HDTV through the AppleTV-like AllShare Cast Dongle.  Samsung also named its iPod nano-like music player “Pebble,” which bears a resemblance to the iOS Kickstarter watch that goes by the same name.

One cool new thing is a face recognition photo app. It lets you instantly send pictures to your friends that it recognizes in your pictures. The S III also has a pop-up player, which is sort of an app version of picture-in-picture that allows you to watch a movie while you switch around to other applications.

Initial reviews seem a little luke-warm on the device. Most call it an incremental update from the S II with new features that also brought some new flaws.

Oh, and Phil Schiller will not like this news: Flipboard for Android is debuting on the S III.

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The competition: Google introduces Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus

The keynote went a little bad over in Hong Kong with both the Facial Recognition and the Quick Response features not working or crashing the device. Overall though, there are some interesting new features that certainly differentiate Android from iOS and Windows Phone 7.

As for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone, it has a 5-megapixel camera which has to be a letdown when compared to 8 megapixel cameras that are standardizing on the high end across the industry. Its most impressive feature (unless you are trying to squeeze it into your pocket) has to be the 4.65-inch 720P display. Although Pentile, which means not every pixel gets RGB dots, it does get close to Apple’s 326 PPI Retina display with a 316 PPI density. Like the as yet unpopular Honeycomb tablets, it doesn’t have any front facing buttons but has screen buttons that shift around as well as all of those new Android 4.0 features.

Check 9to5Google.com for ongoing coverage.

Motorola outs the new RAZR, beats the iPhone 4S on thinness (except the part that doesn’t)


Motorola teaches us the difference between the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S and 4.3-inch RAZR.

Motorola has just unveiled the DROID RAZR and it looks like it beat the iPhone in the thinness department (except the upper part housing the camera that isn’t). Motorola’s device is, according to the blurb, “impossibly thin”, measuring just 7.1mm versus 9.3mm for the iPhone 4S. This 4G LTE handset driven by Android 2.3.5 features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display with an qHD resolution, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM plus an eight-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, 32 gigabytes of storage and Bluetooth 4.0.  It weights a slight 121 grams compared to the iPhone 4S’s 140 grams.

But 7.1mm thin?  Sure, except the part that is 10mm thin housing the camera.

They also have an optional lapdock that looks a lot like a MacBook Pro. The physical design boasts an interesting combination of Gorilla Glass and KEVLAR. Motorola is claiming up to 8.9 hours of video playback and 12.5 hours of talk time. The device is available for pre-order beginning October 27 on the Verizon Wireless network, starting at $299, with an expected launch sometime in November. Our own Seth Weintraub is live-blogging the announcement over at 9to5Google so feel free to hop over if you’re eager to find out more or check out the official RAZR mini-site. More juicy press shots, a nice teaser video and full press release after the break…


They also compare 4G LTE RAZR to 3G iPhone 4S. BTW Moto, thanks for free advertising!

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Toshiba and Apple working on a display plant

Reuters reports that Apple and Toshiba are working together on a plant to make displays for iOS devices.

Toshiba Corp will spend about 100 billion yen ($1.19 billion) to build a factory for making small LCD panels, mainly to supply to Apple Inc’s iPhones, the Nikkei business daily said.The company’s wholly owned unit, Toshiba Mobile Display Co, will construct the facility in Ishikawa prefecture and the plant will churn out low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels, which allow for high-resolution images, the paper said.Work on the plant will start by early next year, with the production due to begin in the second half of 2011, Nikkei said.Toshiba Mobile Display already makes low-temperature polysilicon LCD panels at a facility in the prefecture and its monthly production capacity of 8.55 million units is projected to more than double with the new factory, the daily said.  Apple will invest in a portion of the investment for the factory, the Nikkei said.

What’s interesting is that current LCD display leaders from Korea,Samsung and LG (maker of the Retina Display), are not only competing with Apple but also selling products that go into Apple products to others.  For instance, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the WWDC audience that he thought that Apple would have the lead in displays for years with the Retina, yet Sharp and other manufacturers released Android devices with the same LG display within months of the iPhone.  LG also had a display deal with Apple and gave Apple a few month head start on those awesome 27″ panels before giving them to Dell as well.

Samsung, who make the A4 CPU and RAM for Apple’s iOS products, has been severely constrained with its high end Super-AMOLED display that powers its Galaxy S phones.  Those phones have been the primary high-end Android competition for the iPhone.

Perhaps Apple is trying to move away from doing business with its hardware competitors.

The bad news in this regard is that Toshiba also has just started to make Android devices.