Samsung Confirms 4.3″ Dual-Core Galaxy S4 Mini To Widen Access To Its Flagship S4 Brand


Samsung has officially confirmed the Galaxy S4 Mini, following a brief leak earlier this month. The new handset takes the name of its current flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, but couples it with more mid-range specs to extend the reach of the flagship brand to a larger pool of consumers. It’s a strategy Samsung also deployed with its prior flagship, the Galaxy S3, taking the wraps off a Galaxy S3 Mini last year.

Indeed, Samsung’s overall smartphone strategy is about producing scores of iterations at various price points and screen sizes in order to saturate the market with as much of its hardware as possible. A strategy that, coupled with its massive marketing budget, continues to be extremely successful for the Korean electronics giant, making it far harder for other Android OEMs such as HTC to compete with their far more modest device portfolios.

As with the majority of Samsung’s devices, design wise you’d be hard pressed to distinguish the Galaxy S4 Mini from any other recent Samsung device. Its smaller size being the most distinguishing feature vs the flagship S4. The Mini has a a 4.3″ qHD Super AMOLED display vs the 5″ pane on the flagship S4. At 4.3″ the Mini is not actually that small, certainly not compared to some of Samsung’s budget devices, but the target here is users who might not be comfortable with the phablet-sized screen of Samsung’s current flagship but still want something flashy enough to look like a flagship.

Under the hood, the S4 Mini has a 1.7 GHz dual-core chip, rather than the quad-/octa-core of its big brother. There’s 8GB of internal memory and 1.5GB of RAM. The rear camera is 8MP and the front-facing lens is 1.9MP.  Samsung says it will be offering a 4G version of the device, as well as a 3G and dual-SIM version — based on what makes sense for each market.

Features wise, Samsung says the S4 Mini supports “many” of the same features as found on the flagship S4 — including Sound&Shot, Panorama Shot and Story Album, on the camera software side. Other confirmed apps include Group Play, ChatON, S Translator and WatchON. The Mini clearly lacks the full gamut of software services poured onto Samsung’s flagship but most smartphone buyers aren’t going to be fussed about a few lacking apps, especially as the Mini’s price-tag should also be a bit more modest.

There’s no official word on pricing or a full list of confirmed market availability — but expect the S4 Mini to land wherever the S4 has, and certainly to head to the U.S. and the U.K.


TechCrunch » Gadgets

Samsung Launches New Phablet Brand – Galaxy Mega – Confirms Two Devices: 6.3″ HD, 1.7GHz Dual-Core & 5.8″ QHD, 1.4GHz Dual-Core

GALAXY Mega 6.3 Product Image (4)

Samsung has confirmed the arrival of a new sub-brand within its Galaxy range of mobile devices: the Galaxy Mega expands its mini-tablet-sized-phone (aka phablet) portfolio by firing two new devices into the category, building on the momentum generated by its extant Galaxy Note line.

Samsung said the Mega will be available globally — “beginning May from Europe and Russia”, adding that product availability will vary  by market and roll outs will be gradual. There’s no official word on Mega pricing yet but since both devices pack dual-core chips (vs the Galaxy Note II’s quad-core chipset) it’s possible they will be a slightly more affordable than Samsung’s other phablets.

Here’s how Samsung describes Mega:

The newest addition to the GALAXY family balances an optimal viewing experience on a 6.3-inch HD screen, yet is ultra-thin and portable enough to put into a pocket or hold in one hand. The GALAXY Mega offers a mix of popular smartphone and tablet features such as an effortless user experience, a split screen, multitasking between video and other apps and more.

JK Shin, CEO of Samsung’s mobile business, added in a statement that Mega is about bringing more choice to buyers who want a portable device with a big screen. “We are aware of a great potential in the bigger screen for extensive viewing multimedia, web browsing, and more. We are excited to provide another choice to meet our consumers’ varying lifestyles, all while maintaining the high-quality features of the award-winning GALAXY series,” he said.

Samsung has climbed to a position of dominance in the smartphone market by offering a hugely diverse portfolio of devices, hitting price points from low end budget to high end flagship and everything in between — so little surprise that it’s beefing up its phablet line with Mega.

The company has also fuelled an industry wide trend for smartphone screen size inflation, following the introduction of the original Galaxy Note in 2011. That device had a 5.3 inch screen — which seemed massive at the time. But Samsung’s latest pair of phablets push out even more, adding a full extra inch in the case of the full HD device.

Design wise, Mega does not push the boat out — sharing the same look as fellow Galaxy devices, such as Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S4 (which packs in a 5 inch pane).

Here’s the 6.3 inch Galaxy Mega:

And here’s the 5.8 inch Galaxy Mega:

On the specs side, the 6.3 inch Mega is the clear flagship of the pair — packing in a full HD screen, 4G/LTE connectivity and a 1.7GHz dual-core chip while the 5.8 inch Mega has a QHD display, HSPA+ and a 1.4GHz dual-core chip. There’s also a 1mm difference in thickness, with the flagship being 8mm thick vs 9mm for the Mega 5.8.

Full dimensions for the two devices are 167.6 x 88 x 8.0 mm and 162.6 x 82.4 x 9.0 mm. Weight is 199g and 182g respectively. Both devices have 1.5GB RAM. Memory is 8GB/16GB options for the flagship Mega, and 8GB on board the other. Both support microSD card memory expansion up to 64GB. Battery capacity is 3,200 mAh and 2,600 mAh respectively.

Each device has an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.9 megapixel front-facing lens. They also both run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, skinned with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.

Also on board is a full contingent of Samsung software services — including the likes of Sound & Shot and Drama Shot, introduced at the launch of the Galaxy S4 — plus even more new features, including:

  • ‘S Travel: Provides trip information, local guides and resources and more
  • ‘Story Album: Allows customers to create albums of daily events, keep special moments in one place using a timeline, geo-tag information and publish digital albums in hard copy
  •  ‘Group Play’: Enables easy content sharing for up to 8 devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Samsung WatchON: Transforms into an IR remote controller for a richer TV experience. Connect the device to your home entertainment system, and it will provide program recommendations, schedules, and even remotely control your TV.
  •  Samsung Link: Easily streams photos, videos, notes, or music to your television, tablet or computer.
  •  S Translator: Say or text what you need translated into the GALAXY Mega, and it will provide instant translation, using text or voice translation on applications including email, and ChatON.
  • ChatON: Share what’s on your screen with friends to stay more connected.

Samsung was criticised for larding the S4 with too many software add ons, but it’s clearly not rowing back from this strategy of differentiating its Android devices with scores of its own software extras.

As with the Galaxy Note II, the new Mega devices support split screen viewing for applications including email, messages, ‘MyFiles,’ ‘S Memo’ and ‘S Planner’ — which, beyond their larger screen size, is one way Samsung differentiates its phablets from its flagship smartphones.

Back in January, analyst house IHS iSuppli predicted  smartphones with 5 inch+ screens would more than double in number this year — rising from 25.6 million in 2012, to 60.4 million in 2013, up “a notable” 136 per cent year on year.

Last fall, Samsung said channel shipments of its Galaxy Note II had pushed past five million two months after the device launched. Samsung does not break out actual sales of the Note.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Google Announces The Nexus 10, A 10.1-Inch Tablet With Dual-Core 1.7GHz Processor


As we previously suspected, the Nexus 10 just launched on Google’s blog, confirming what we knew about this 10.1-inch AMOLED device made by Samsung to Google’s specifications. The new device runs a 1.7GHz processor with 2GB RAM. It has a screen density of 2560×1600 pixels which is a bit higher than Apple’s 2048×1536 iPad display.

Google’s official PR didn’t note much about the new devices but a recent leak told us more than enough about the new device.

Dubbed the “the ultimate tablet for watching movies or reading magazines,” the Nexus 10 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and front and rear-facing cameras. It will come in 16GB ($ 399) and 32GB ($ 499) configurations and is available on 11/13.

TechCrunch » android

iPad (4th Gen) Outruns The iPhone 5 In An Early Benchmark, Listed With 1.4GHz Dual-Core CPU, 1GB Of RAM


The new new iPad hits stores Friday, but an early Geekbench benchmark reveals some interesting details. Apparently, at least per this one-off report, the 4th generation iPad uses a dual-core ARMv7 CPU with 1GB of RAM. Not surprisingly, this results in benchmark scores better than those earned by the iPhone 5.

The iPad (4th gen) and iPhone 5 seem to share the same amount of RAM; the CPU configuration is slightly different between Apple’s two flagship devices. The iPhone 5 uses an ARMv6 CPU running at 1.3GHz, which is better suited for a smartphone-type device. Although it’s not clear at this point which ARMv7 is inside the iPad (4th gen), the benchmarks speak for themselves: it’s more powerful.

The latest iPad thoroughly trumps the previously called New iPad, which runs a dual-core A5X running at 1GHz. The 3rd generation iPad scored 791 in Geekbench where the 4th generation earned a 1757, besting the iPhone 5′s 1571 score. Since the iPad mini uses a dual-core A5 of unknown clock speed, its score will likely be around that of the 3rd generation iPad.

[via SlashGear]

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Samsung ATIV S Revealed: Windows Phone 8, 4.8″ HD Display, 1.5GHz Dual-Core Processor


Sorry Nokia, consider your thunder stolen. It hasn’t yet made an appearance at Samsung’s big IFA press conference inside the Berlin Tempodrom, but Samsung’s first Windows Phone 8 device has just been made official thanks to a post on Microsoft’s Windows Phone Blog.

That device in question is the ATIV (Ah-TEEV, not EYY-tiv) S, a rather handsome new handset that sports a (sadly unspecified) 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing counterpart to boot.

Update (5:02PM ET): Neither Samsung nor Microsoft dug into what kind of processor the ATIV S has under the hood, but Qualcomm confirmed to PC Magazine that it’s an MSM8260A. That’s the same chipset seen in the U.S. variants of the HTC One X and Galaxy S III so the ATIV won’t leave you wanting for horsepower, but it means LTE is definitely off the table.

The spec sheet may not be the most riveting you’ll ever see — Windows Phone has never really required bleeding edge hardware — but the move puts the pressure on Nokia to unveil something tremendous next week.

The ATIV S features a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display swathed in Gorilla Glass, which may make it a bit of a handful (its size puts it right up there in Galaxy S III territory) — but there’s little question that Samsung knows how to make a big device feel smaller than it actually is. The fact that the ATIV S squeezes all that into a brushed aluminum 8.7mm thick chassis (the Galaxy S III is only just a hair thinner at 8.6mm) certainly doesn’t hurt. What really lends the ATIV some star power is that it’s the world’s first Windows Phone 8 device, though it may be a while before the rest of us get to see how well the software complements the hardware.

Users will be able to pick up a 16 or 32GB model at some point in the near future — no one has mentioned availability yet — but they can rest easy knowing that at long last they’ll be able to throw a microSD card into their Windows Phone.

TechCrunch » Gadgets