Samsung Galaxy S3 complete guide

For all Samsung’s patent woes with Apple, one thing is clear — people are loving the Galaxy range. this autumn the Seoul-based company shipped 6 million more smart phones than Apple, and Samsung is now the biggest smart phone maker on the planet.

Its next flagship device, which pretty much everyone expects to be launched at February’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will be the Galaxy S3. Will Samsung take this opportunity to break its fixation with black rectangles and deliver something completely different? Or will it be steady-as-she-goes with just power, speed and feature upgrades? Read on for our best guesses…

normally, we like to start our predictions by gushing over a gadget’s new look, feel and design — it’s the ego-massaging equivalent of a fairground fortune teller saying how tall, dark and handsome you are.

Galaxy phones have always been about their screens — luscious great slabs of glass straining to burst their housings, with dollops of colour dripping from their OLED innards. The Galaxy S2 has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen that gives probably the best colours and contrast of any mobile device, even if it lacks the sheer raw detail of the iPhone 4S.

The safe money is on the S3 shipping with the screen seen on the recently announced Galaxy Nexus — a pin-sharp 720×1,280-pixel affair with 16 million colours, probably measuring 4.6 inches.

Specs leaked in October revealed a 4.6-inch screen and a 1.8GHz processor.

However, if you’re in the mood for a flutter on the S3’s design, consider this: Samsung let slip in October that they would be launching hardware with flexible OLED (FOLED) technology in 2012, and hopefully in ‘the earlier part’.

Because OLED screens have no backlight, they use less power and are generally slimmer than traditional LCD displays. They can also be fabricated on flexible materials and curved, bent or even rolled up completely — and still show images and full-motion video. The downside is that OLEDs lack punch and can be overwhelmed in bright light

if the S3 has a FOLED screen, then all design bets are off (there’s no point putting a flexible screen in a plain old rectangular chassis). in this case, we’d expect to see something cool like a reimagining of Nokia’s classic 8110 ‘banana phone’ — but this time with the handset being all screen. Wackier options like rolled-up or pull-out screens are likely still to be some way off.

whatever happens with the display, we’re pretty sure this phone will pass on the Apple-baiting front button found on today’s S2.

that the Galaxy S3 will be running the latest Android 4.0 operating system — Ice Cream Sandwich — is all but given. The real question is what Samsung is planning for the TouchWiz skin, now that Android 4.0 has stolen the thunder of features like resizeable widgets and easy screen grabs.

The pop-up mini apps are likely to expand to include more features — and perhaps a task manager that actually works this time. Another welcome step forward would be taking Samsung’s clunky Social Hub off one of the home screens, letting you access basic updates and post anywhere you find yourself.

The guts are rumoured to be Samsung’s ARM A9-based Exynos 4212 chipset, clocked at a ferocious 1.8GHz. that alone would make it one of the fastest phones around (and nearly twice as fast as the iPhone 4S), but Samsung is also claiming hefty speed boosts on graphics and battery-friendly power-saving features.

The S3 will take a leap in multi-tasking prowess. it is likely to be the first smart phone to boast 2GB of RAM, and will come with a generous 32GB of storage.

Sit yourself down and take a deep breath… we could see a Galaxy S3 with a 1.8GHz processor that’s nearly twice as fast as the iPhone 4S.

The S3 is likely to pack a 12-megapixel rear camera, up from 8-megapixels in the S2. normally, that would have us fishing for similies along the lines of a jet engine being dropped into a Segway. after all, a dull, grainy 12-megapixel snap is really no better than a dull, grainy 8-megapixel picture; it just takes up more memory.

But Samsung is going to do something clever — it looks as if the S3 will have a 1/2.3-inch sensor. That’s much bigger than the 1/3.2-inch CMOS chip found in many phones, including the iPhone 4S. To give you an idea of how that can impact image quality, check out another device using a 1/2.3-inch chip: the ultra-stylish £500 Pentax Q system camera.

sure, the Samsung’s optics will be much worse than Pentax’s lenses, but there’s a real opportunity here for low-light images that don’t degrade into mush, as well as good levels of detail from everyday shots. Add to that Ice Cream Sandwich’s easy panorama, timelapse video and face tagging skills, and you’ve got a real digicam rival. But still no zoom, of course.

Need to get close to the facts on the new Samsung Galaxy S3? Here’s what we think we know:

  • 4.6-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen at 1,280×720-pixel resolution
  • 1.8GHz chip with 2GB RAM for zippy multitasking and games
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a refreshed TouchWiz skin
  • Camera-quality 12-megapixel photos
  • Styled like the Galaxy Nexus

and here’s what we’re hoping for:

  • A flexible OLED screen on a jaw-dropping curved chassis
  • TouchWiz mini apps that put social networking front and centre
  • Ultra-high ISO photography so we don’t even need to use the sickly built-in LED flash