Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s latest smartphone is its attempt to take on Apple Inc. in the software and design departments, but carriers may be more concerned about the data stress this Android monster will put on their networks.
Samsung introduced the phone at a glitzy event in London with TV presenter Suzi Perry and the London Metropolitan Orchestra playing live musical interludes between multiple Samsung demonstrations of the new device.
Features of the device include:
- A large 4.8-inch screen but casing that makes the device not much bigger than the Galaxy S II
- An 8-megapixel camera
- The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system
- Face recognition software that follows your eyes, so that the phone "sleeps when you do," according to Samsung
- A proximity sensor that allows the phone to call the person you were texting with if you lift the device to your ear
- Voice Equalizer software to improve call quality
- Wi-Fi collaboration software to tag and share photos with others on the same network
Samsung executives stressed that these features will help to personalize the smartphone experience for users. "Simply, Galaxy S III is a human phone that understands you," declared J.K. Shin, president of Samsung Mobile in London.
More than ever, in fact, Samsung executives stressed the software and design features of the phone over the hardware upgrades. A steady stream of Samsung executives, representatives and ads at the event repeated the mantra that the phone is "inspired by nature, designed for humans." [Ed note: As opposed to the previous Galaxy phones, which were actually designed for goats?]
The new data hog in town
Carriers, however, are likely to be eyeing the large crisp screen of the S III and wondering what kind of data traffic it might consume and the signaling load it will place on the network.
The screen size is not much smaller than the 5.3-inch display on the Samsung phone-cum-tablet Galaxy Note. As Cisco Systems Inc. and others have noted, tablets and other large display devices consume comparatively more data than smartphones.
"Tablets generate about five times as much traffic as smartphones," Thomas Barnett, senior manager of service provider marketing at Cisco told Light Reading Mobile in February 2011. (See Cisco: Tablets Hog More Data Than Smart Phones.)
Thus, it follows that a video-friendly, large-screen smartphone can generate more data and signaling traffic than its smaller rivals. Data bottlenecks and signaling channel congestion can cause dropped calls and slow data transfers on cellular networks. (See LTE Signaling Woes Ahead?.)
The Android operating has been considered a signaling "bad boy" in the past, although Google and its partners have started to put in upgrades to improve the situation in the operating system itself. (See NSN: Android & RIM Are Signaling Bad Boys and Android Zaps Signaling Noise .)
U.S. carriers will have a little more time to discover this new Galaxy than their European counterparts. The 3G version of Galaxy S III will be released on the old continent on May 29. Samsung hasn't revealed exact timing -- or pricing -- for the U.S., only saying that it is preparing a 4G version for stateside and Asian customers this summer.
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile