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Next-gen Galaxy S phones offer dual-core CPU, super-thin profile

Feb 14, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Samsung announced a next-generation Galaxy S smartphone, just a third of an inch thick. Featuring Android 2.3 running on a dual-core 1GHz processor, the Galaxy S II offers a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED Plus display, the new 21Mbps version of HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, optional NFC, dual cameras, and support for 1080p playback and record.

The Galaxy S II, or GT-I9100, is the much-anticipated heir to last year's popular Galaxy S line of smartphones. The Galaxy S phone appeared worldwide, as well as in the U.S., under various names ranging from the Fascinate (Verizon) to the Captivate (AT&T). Last week, Samsung announced a 4G LTE version of the Galaxy S called the Samsung Indulge, appearing first on MetroPCS. The 3.5-inch phone runs Android 2.2 on a 1GHz processor.

Samsung Galaxy S II

Instead of supporting LTE, the Galaxy S II supports a new version of HSPA+ that offers downloads of up to 21Mbps, arguably planting it in the 4G category alongside LTE and WiMAX. Samsung did not announce carrier support for the phone, but it would appear to be compatible both with T-Mobile's HSPA+ network and Vodafone in Europe.

The Galaxy S II also is said to move up to Android 2.3, running on a dual-core 1GHz processor instead of the 1GHz Cortex-A8-based Samsung Hummingbird integrated in the Galaxy S phones. But considering that Android 2.3 does not formally support dual-core processors — and that a very similar Android 2.4, expected in April, is rumored to add dual-core support — our guess is that the Galaxy S II will actually run Android 2.4. (Presumably, Google would prefer that nobody mention the the 2.4 label at this point.)

Samsung did not name the processor, but it is likely either the Nvidia Tegra 2 or Samsung's own Exynos 4210, which, like the Tegra 2, combines two 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. On Feb. 13, Samsung also announced the Galaxy Tab 10.1 Android 3.0 tablet (pictured at right), which is also said to offer an unnamed dual-core 1GHz processor. According to Engadget, however, the tablet runs on a Tegra 2.

Whatever the processor, Samsung claims the Galaxy S II "delivers seamless multitasking," as well as 1080p playback and record and "superior 3D hardware performance." Those 1080p videos can be recorded with a rear-facing eight-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash (up from five megapixels on the Galaxy S). There is also a two-megapixel front-facing webcam, upgraded from the more basic VGA webcam found on the Galaxy S.

RAM specs are not listed, but the Galaxy S II is said to offer 16GB or 32GB of internal flash memory, as well as a microSD slot for up to an additional 32GB more storage. While the 800 x 480 resolution is identical to that of the Galaxy S, the screen gets a boost from four inches to 4.3 inches (actually 4.27), and moves up from Super AMOLED to Super AMOLED Plus, claimed to offer improved "gamut, contrast ratio and edge sharpness." as well as for a significant reduction in power consumption.

Samsung Galaxy S, front and back

In addition to offering HSPA+ and GSM cellular support, the phone provides 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, A-GPS, FM radio, and optional Near Field Communication (NFC). Android 2.3 was the first release to support the short-range wireless NFC standard, aimed at contactless payment applications, and a recent upgrade was said to have improved upon the NFC stack.

Additional features include a USB 2.0 port and accelerometer, as well as light, digital compass, proximity, and gyroscope sensors, says Samsung. Speakers and a 3.5mm audio jack are also said to be supplied.

Just a third of an inch thick

Aside from the presence of the dual-core processor, the most notable aspect of the Galaxy S II is its remarkable thinness. The phone measures 4.93 x 2.6 x 0.33 inches (125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm). This even beats the Xperia Arc, another phone expected to run Android 2.3 (or 2.4), which is said to be 8.7mm — or approximately 0.34 inches — at its thinnest point. The Galaxy S II weighs 4.1 ounces (116 g), and runs on a 1650mAh battery, says Samsung. 

The Galaxy S II measures only 0.33 inches (8.49mm) thick

The Galaxy S II offers Samsung's new TouchWiz 4.0 UI layer, now organized into four content and entertainment hubs. These are said to include Social Hub Premium for unified communications and social networking integration, availability of which depends on the carrier. There is also a Readers Hub for e-reading applications, a Game Hub for playing games via partners like Gameloft and Social Network Games (SNG), and a Music Hub featuring 12 million tracks from 7digital.

The phone ships with a Samsung Voice Solution voice control application, PC syncing utility, and a Live Panel service that aggregates live web and application contents to a single customizable home-screen, says the company. Google apps are said to include Android Market and Google Maps Navigation.

Enterprise features, meanwhile, are said to include conferencing and connectivity services from Cisco including AnyConnect, WebEx, and Mobile services. There is also a Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync app, an on-device encryption function, as well as a secure, remote "Afaria" device management app from Sybase.

At the start of the year, Samsung claimed it had already sold some 10 million Galaxy S smartphone variants worldwide since its June 2010 release date. In addition, to its standard high-end Galaxy S phones, the company is extending the brand to describe four new mass-market Android phones aimed at Russia, India, and China.

While Samsung's sales estimates have been questioned, at least with its Galaxy Tab where the company did not appear to have taken returns into account, research firms have confirmed a huge upswing in Samsung smartphone share, based for the most part on the Galaxy S.

Stated JK Shin, President and Head of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business, "With the Galaxy S II, Samsung wants to set the new standard of quality viewing on mobile, powerful performance, and slim and modern design."


Samsung did not reveal pricing or availability information for the Galaxy S II. The phone will be shown by Samsung in Hall #8, Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, Spain, this week. More information and a promotional video may be found at Samsung's Galaxy S II announcement page.

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