May 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM ET
Samsung announced the Galaxy S III — the highly anticipated follow-up to the top-selling Galaxy S II — on Thursday. It's got powerful guts, a slender body and a big, bright display. Oh, and it lives up to a lot of rumors.
The Galaxy S III has a huge 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, an 8MP camera in the back and a 1.9MP camera in the front. The smartphone will be available with either 16 or 32GB of storage (which can be expanded thanks to a microSD slot). Beyond the impressive specs, Samsung gave it new talents so that it can listen, watch and respond in ways not seen before in a phone, which combine for what Samsung calls "natural interaction."
There's a "smart stay" feature, which will recognize how you are using the Galaxy S III. For example: If you are reading an ebook or lazily perusing a blog post, the phone will realize this — after using the front-facing camera to identify your eyes — and react by maintaining a comfortable screen brightness.
There's also a feature called "S Voice," which sounds a bit similar to Apple's Siri. It allows the Galaxy S III to recognize natural language, rather than requiring specific commands, and to respond quickly. You can trigger the S Voice feature without ever touching the smartphone, by saying "Hi, Galaxy," "Hi, buddy," or using another pre-set phrase. S Voice allows you to launch apps, send text messages, adjust music volume, search the Web, and more. It even understands that you want to sleep a bit longer if you mumble "snooze" after your alarm goes off.
Thanks to Samsung's AllShare Cast tools, the Galaxy S III will easily stream video, share files, share screens, or send photos directly to individuals whose faces are tagged in a snapshot.
Speaking of photos, the Galaxy S III sounds like it'll take some great ones. Its camera supposedly has a "zero-lag shutter speed," which means that you can capture moving objects (or people) without missing a moment. And thanks to a "burst shot" function, you can take 20 continuous shots and even let the smartphone pick the best photo for you. (No, you're not suffering from a strange case of deja vu. These photo tools sound a lot like the ones offered on the HTC One S.)
There's no question about it, Samsung built a lot on top of the basic Android 4.0 operating system. And these additions — which include processor-intensive tasks such as face-recognition, voice-recognition, and so on — makes me wonder how long the Galaxy S III's battery life will be.
Unfortunately it'll be a while before we'll find out about that detail first hand as the Samsung Galaxy S III will first hit Europe at the end of May, and then gradually roll out to the rest of the world.
There are no details regarding its price or which carriers will offer this new smartphone.
Want more tech news, silly puns, or amusing links? You'll get plenty of all three if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.