Tuesday in New York City, Samsung threw a gala event to herald the coming of their first true foray into the realm of smart phones, and BrainLazy was there. At a party with an open bar, live music, fine dining, a rooftop lounge, and all manner of other top tier elements, the Galaxy S Series of phones still managed to steal the spotlight. All four flavors were on display, and we spent some time with each one. What to hear what went down? Well read on, my friends.
The party began with ominous black suited ushers ferrying us to the top floor of what appeared to be an unassuming warehouse near the Jacob Javit center. The whole thing had a very “Classified Government Agency” feel, right up until the massive industrial doors opened to what could have been a nightclub. There was thumping music, drinks were flowing, and every corner of the floor was littered with kiosks showing off the star of the show, fully operational and ready for the eager fingers of the viewing public.
Once we were worked into the proper froth of excitement, out marched the suits to give us the official pitch. Kim Titus, PR Director, reminded us that in late march they had promised a new device that would change the mobile world, and that the Galaxy S series was the fulfillment of that promise. He trotted out J. K. Shin, president of their mobile division, to explain that in an era where technology has made phones smart, thier technology finally makes them brilliant. He promised that the Galaxy S would feature the best in both Hardware and software, seeking to raise the bar in speed, screen quality, and content. He went on to add that the race for the best smartphone has just started, and Samsung is already at the finish line.
The big four carriers are each going to get a custom take on the Galaxy series. ATT gets the Captivate, Sprint the Epic 4G, T Mobile the Vibrant, and Verizon the Fascinate. Other carriers, like US Cellular and Cellular South can expect their own versions of the Galaxy this fall. Unlike some other multicarrier releases that are little more than a rebrand slapped on the same hardware, these carrier specific models each have their own little tweaks. We’ll get into that in just a moment.
Next came Omar Khan, Chief Strategy Officer, to put his two cents in. He bragged that even without a smart phone, Samsung has spent 7 quarters as the number one provider of mobile phones according to most sources. The AMOLED was revolutionary when it was released in 2009, and this new phone features its beefier younger brother, the 4 inch SuperAMOLED. He boast the now well know specs, touting lightning response time, exceptional color fidelity, and contrast ratio to put the average HDTV to shame. Running on the Hummingbird 1 GH Cortex A8 and featuring the most powerful 3D graphics of any android phone was, at this point, just icing on the cake.
Software was focused on social connectivity. The phones will introduce “Social Hub” a service to consolidate all of the various social networking sites into a unified interface that is tightly integrated to your phone’s UI. Accessing a contact in your address book will let you look at recent tweets, texts, and facebook updates all without opening an app. For many the concept of unifying all of this information into one feed would be enough, but there is more. The “Buddies Now” feature allows you to create a circle of a handful of friends that will be updated in real time. Movie and TV content will be purchasable and viewable via their “Media Hub,” with each video optimized for the display and processor. Even better? DLNA integration means that you can share video wirelessly with compatible devices.
With the spiel ended, it was time to really get our hands on these devices. For that, it was up to the roof. You’ve got to admire a company putting their money where their mouth is. One of each display phone was there on the roof in broad daylight, begging us to test their claims of improved visibility in direct sun, and they didn’t disappoint. Everything was crisp and clear, and even bogged down with every single app and widget that Samsung could cram into the device, the UI was snappy and smooth. While they fed us tiny burgers, itty bitty fries, mini grilled cheese sandwiches, bite-sized scoops of mac and cheese, and micro-chipwiches, I began to notice a theme. All very small, all finger foods, perfect to highlight the ultra thin, touch friendly devices. Very clever. And as if the food wasn’t enough, they even gave each of us a star to be named in our honor. Get it? Star? Galaxy? Huh? HUH? I’ve been given a lot of swag at a lot of press briefings, but a super massive, white hot ball of nuclear plasma named after my mom is a new one. Kudos.
The roof gave us a chance to get our greasy fingertips on each model individually. We were constantly reminded that these were still early production models and they can still change.
The Sprint Epic made an immediate impression with its full qwerty keyboard. The keys were large enough to be usable, with each distinct and pleasantly tactile to press. Other specifics for the Epic 4G include LED Flash on the back, 720p video recording capable of 3x digital zoom, notification LED on the front, front facing camera, soft touch plastic baking and 4G modem. Epic indeed.
The Captivate is AT&T’s Galaxy S. Quite like the Vibrant minus the looks. The Captivate looks like the sexier cousin of the BlackBerry Storm, but obviously flowing with a different bloodline, Android 2.1 shines quite nicely through this caged beast.
The Vibrant looks the closest to it’s European brother, the i9000, with the only changes that I can see being removing the home button and front facing camera. Avatar the movie will be included with the Vibrant and it’s available for pre-order starting July 1st. The full retail price is being listed at $329.99 which is a downright steal. Available from T-Mobile.
The Fascinate, fascinates me. It manages to secure an LED flash on the back, minus the front facing camera tucked neatly into a slab design. Looking quite like the Vibrant/i9000 minus the bump on the bottom and with a few more curves. The Fascinate from Verizon certainly is beautiful to look at.
Of course, they all share the same gorgeous screen, speedy processor, and 6 axis motion sensing freedom, though that last point deserves a mention. Each phone has an accelerometer, but unlike the iPhone’s Gyro, the spokespeople mentioned instead a magnetometer. In terms of info, both the Gyro and the Mag give you tilt and rotational info. The only practical difference is that magnetometers can often pull double duty as a compass module, providing things like “true north.” This has the potential to give developers greater flexibility in getting and maintaining GPS heading. Of course, this is all speculation, as the 6 AXIS was mostly being pushed for its gaming control possibilities.
The event closed with a live performance by B. O. B. To his credit, the man and his crew managed to make a room loaded with stuffy business folk and stressed out press reps wave their hands. I left the event wined, dined, and positively sizzling with anticipation for the Galaxy’s release, which, unfortunately, does not yet have a US date with most carriers. Lucky for us we managed to snag one from the UK. Hearing all of the great stuff about the Galaxy S is one thing. Documenting it WITH a Galaxy S? That was practically crossing the streams. To see the event entirely recorded with a Samsung Galaxy S click on the links below:
That’s all we’ve got for you today, but you can be sure that we’ll be doing our very best to get our hands on a review unit of one of the US carriers’ models so we can give it a serious test drive. Until then, stay tuned.