Samsung has announced two additions to its Android device portfolio, with an update to its Galaxy S flagship smartphone and a new tablet device that is closer in positioning to Apple’s iPad than Samsung’s existing Galaxy Tab.
A number of incremental upgrades have been made for the Galaxy S II. It has a 4.3” super AMOLED screen, compared with 4” for the Galaxy S, but in terms of physical size the handset is comparable with its predecessor. It is also slimline, being just 8.5mm deep – the existing Galaxy S is closer to 10mm. It has a 1GHz dual-core processor, compared with a 1GHz single core chip in the Galaxy S, and runs the latest Android Gingerbread platform.
A new addition to the HSPA+ device is NFC support, enabling contactless transactions and interactions. While to-date NFC has been something of a niche technology, it has been used in devices such as Google’s (Samsung-made) Nexus S, and is believed to be gaining support from vendors including Nokia, Apple, LG and Research In Motion. Operators including Orange, Softbank and China Unicom are also working with the technology.
Launched in June 2010, Samsung sold more than 10 million Galaxy S devices before the end of the year, making the company something of a standard bearer for Android. During 2010 the company ended its support for the ailing Symbian OS smartphone platform, but it is also currently offering devices powered by its own Bada platform and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.
YH Lee, Vice President of Mobile Marketing for Samsung, told Show Daily that “while we are proactive in the Android domain, we believe that in the long term Bada will be a significant portion of our portfolio.” Samsung shipped five million of its Bada-powered Wave family devices in 2010.
YH Lee was less forthcoming about the fledgling WP7 portfolio, citing commercial confidentiality: “we will have to wait and see how [WP7] is being perceived by the market,” she said – prior to the news that Nokia has now aligned its smart device strategy with the Microsoft platform.
Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Tab 10.1, with the figures referring to the screen size, which is the vendors second product in this market, following the earlier 7”-screen Galaxy Tab. As with the first product, Vodafone Group has been named as a partner, with Patrick Chomet, Group Director of Terminals, stating that “Vodafone customers in over 20 markets around the world will be the first to get the GALAXY Tab 10.1 when it goes on sale this spring.”
The new device is based on the Honeycomb incarnation of the Android platform, which is designed specifically for tablets. This also means that it is possible to deliver a device without the need for buttons on the front casing, giving a sleeker design. It is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor.
The company’s performance in the tablet market has recently come in for some criticism, not least because it was reported that the two million figure it has given for sales into the channel has not been accompanied by similarly brisk sales to consumers.
Samsung also announced efforts to improve the business credentials of its Android devices. In an interview with Show Daily ahead of the product launches, Eric Moon, director of Enterprise Mobility at Samsung, said that due to the growing cross-over between personal and business devices, “to be successful with consumers, we need to get the basics for the enterprise right.” Based on current implementation, “it has been quite challenging for corporate decision makers to embrace Android.”
Among the improvements made to appeal to enterprise buyers are on-device encryption, enhanced VPN capabilities, and improved IT policy support. The company has worked with partners including Cisco, SAP, Microsoft, Sybase, Citrix and Polycom to boost its enterprise proposition.