Tag: Samsung Galaxy S3

Serious challenges to Apple from the Windows and Android front


Sony Vaio Pro 13 Ultrabook v Apple MacBook Air For Photographers

My Comments

Previously, Apple had a stronghold on computing for the creative industries with most of their Macintosh computers. This was even since the Macintosh platform was launched where these computers with their graphical-user-interface being run alongside a laser printer brought in the concept of desktop publishing.

Similarly, they had a few years cornering the mobile computing platform with their iPhone and iPad devices. It also included capturing the premium “stylish computing” market with their MacBook Air and, in some cases, the MacBook Pro laptops.

Now a few computing devices and platforms are challenging Apple in a lot of these fronts. Over the last year, Samsung, HTC and Sony have fielded some very impressive highly-capable smartphones that have put the iPhone on notice like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4. These phones also show an impressive “cool” style about them as well as the phones being able to take as good an image as an Apple iPhone.

As for mobile tablets, the 7” coat-pocket tablets like the Google Nexus 7 have created a distinct market niche which Apple couldn’t successfully fill with the right device. Similar, Sony had tendered the XPeria Z which has come close to competing with the iPad as far as 10” tablets are concerned.

HP Envy 15-3000 Series laptop

HP Envy 15-3000 Series Beats Edition multimedia laptop

Over the last few years, there have been a number of laptops and notebooks that have answered the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air in many ways. For example, the HP Envy 15-3000 which I previously reviewed provided a construction look and feel that is very close to the MacBook Pro series of laptops. Lately, Sony fielded the VAIO Pro 13 which is a Windows 8 Ultrabook that has been described in a review by “The Age” as having a photo-grade display and is capable of answering a similar-size MacBook Air as a portable workflow computer for a professional photographer. Here, this one implemented a highly-controllable Full HD display which was able to yield the proper colour temperature for photography.

Toshiba Satellite P870 desktop-replacement laptop Harman-Kardon speakers

Harman-Kardon speakers to give this laptop full sound

As well, companies who have a strong presence in the recording and reproduction of music are becoming involved in the quest for improved sound quality in Windows-based laptops. Examples of these include Beats by Dr Dre working with HP to provide improved sound for HP Envy laptops; premium Toshiba laptops being equipped with Harman-Kardon speakers and ASUS laptops having Bang & Olufsen sound tuning. Who knows what would be happening soon with even the conversion of audio signals between the digital and analogue domains being worked on so as to provide a line-level sound quality equal to or better than the Apple MacBook Pro.

Of course, the Windows and Android equipment have supported an “open-frame” operating environment for both the hardware and software where common standards set by industry groups have been respected. For example, the Android smartphones use MicroUSB as a power / data connection, it is easier for users to gain access to the files held on their Windows or Android devices, and users can integrate an Android or Windows device to a Wi-Fi wireless network at the touch of a button using WPS setup.

What I do see is that regular and mobile computing is swinging from Apple being considered the “cool kid” for both these applications to a situation where they are considered a has-been.

Other manufacturers can yield more cool devices now

Click to view: Samsung’s latest video / TV ad for the Galaxy S 3

My Comments

Just lately, as Apple were launching the iPhone 5 and the fanbois were lininig up outside the Apple Stores or mobile-carrier outlets to be the first to get this phone, Samsung have been running a video campaign about how more advanced their phones are compared to the Apple product.

Previously, I touched on Android’s competitive-environment abilities such as the use of other browsers or ability to shift content to the phone using the computer’s file system. This has also underscored the ability to provide paths to innovation that we are seeing in devices that work to this platform. The commercial that I am referring to, along with other Samsung TV commercials for the Galaxy S3, even emphasised the near-field communication technology as a content-transfer technology rather than just as an authentication technology, thanks to Android Beam.

Similarly, the latest crop of Windows-based computers that appeared over the last few years are showing that this operating environment is still a breeding ground for innovation. One key feature that we will be seeing more of is the touchscreen on these computers, most of which will have this feature work alongside a supplied or standards-compliant optional keyboard. I even reviewed a taste of things to come when I reviewed the Sony VAIO J Series all-in-one desktop. This was also augmented when I heard of a Toshiba Ultrabook that was to come with an NFC, which could support file transfer in the Android Beam manner.

This is showing that there are other companies and IT operating platforms out there who can make and improve the technology that maintains the “cool factor” in its use, rather than only one company with its platforms. It is the sign of healthy competition when this kind of innovation takes place.

Highly-capable Android devices are dethroning the iPhone and iPad


After several generations of loyalty to my mobile phone, the worm has turned on Apple | The Age (Australia)

My Comments

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet with stylus

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet – fit for business

I have observed over the past year that the Android platform has yielded a run of highly-capable mobile-computing devices that are placing the Apple iPhone and iPad on notice. These devices in the form of the HTC One X smartphone; the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note smartphones; the Google Nexus 7 tablet and the ASUS EeePad Transformer Prime tablet are yielding what high-performance and high-value are about. The devices that I have mentioned in this list implement highly-strung CPUs and graphics subsystems that can allow them to do advanced tasks like action-rich games or smooth video playback.

This has also been augmented by various features that the Android ecosystem offers over the iOS ecosystem. For example, most of these devices offer a user-replaceable battery. This was demonstrable with my Samsung Galaxy S smartphone where the battery failed to hold its charge and I had to use an external battery pack all the time to gain real use out of it. Then I just went to a mobile phone dealer and paid AUD$40 for an original battery for the phone on Thursday. iPhone users would have had to pony up more than this and be without their phone for a significant amount of time to replace the battery under this circumstance.

Another example is the fact that most Android devices use a user-replaceable microSD or similar memory card as well as onboard storage. This means that you could use effectively an infinite amount of memory with your device by purchasing extra memory cards. Infact I use different microSD cards in a similar manner to those cassette tapes or MiniDiscs that we remember where I have one card carrying music of one kind and another carrying music of another kind.

Speaking of music, you can add your media content to your Android device using your computer’s file manager or media management program if you have your microSD card in your laptop’s SD card slot or a USB card reader; or your Android device tethered to your computer via its USB cable. These scenarios present the device to the computer effectively as a floppy disk or USB memory stick. This is also a similar path for offloading images you took with your Android device. Similarly, if you run TwonkyMobile on your Android phone, you may be able to have the ability to add music to your phone’s collection by picking the tracks you want from your DLNA-hosted music collection and selecting “Copy to your device”.

The user interface can be easily customised by the manufacturer or the user through the use of animated live wallpapers, display and control widgets or similar items. This yields a sense of flexibility to the operating environment that the typical Android device presents, such as a “dashboard” view of battery status, operating modes and social-network activity.

There is even competition on the app and media storefront for these devices where competing app-store providers such as manufacturer-hosted or carrier-hosted stores can exist on the device’s app list. But there isn’t an online newsstand for the Android platform that can rival what Apple offers and this may limit the distribution of digital newspapers and magazines to these tablets.

But what the Android platform offers in value, capability and performance is making Apple and their fanbois worried so much that Apple have been litigating against Samsung and other Android device manufacturers on clams of patent infringement. Some cases such as the UK legal activity have been struck down due to legal assessment that the devices didn’t copy Apple designs.

But I have also observed commentary, including an Age article about the Samsung Galaxy S3, about people who have jumped from the iPhone to the Android platform due to the liberating characteristics that this platform offers.

Samsung Galaxy S 3 intending to compete against the next iPhone


Samsung Galaxy S III | Samsung Galaxy S 3 | The Age Technology

Samsung Galaxy S III signup page goes live | Engadget

Samsung launches new services for the Galaxy S III: Music Hub, S Health and more |  Engadget

Samsung Galaxy S III vs Galaxy S II and Galaxy S: meet the family | Engadget

My Comments

There was a sense of hype being built up around Samsung’s latest Galaxy smartphone that was to be launched in London today (5 May 2012) but I was wondering whether it really had a lot more to look forward to.

It is an Android Ice Cream-Sandwich phone that works with the user in a natural manner such as supporting “Smart Stay” which works with eye-tracking to keep the display on while you are looking at it; as well as a “direct call” option which starts dialing the number on the screen if you pick it up to your ear; as well as voice-recognition that is intended to answer Apple’s Siri in its capabilities.

Oh yeah, it is still with an AMOLED screen but larger and with high resolution, but not as large as the Galaxy Note “PDA-size phone”. It also has the expectations of a desirable smartphone such as an LTE variant; Bluetooth 4.0 “Smart Ready”, near-field communication.

What is in my favour for the Galaxy S II is that it has inherent support for MirrorLink so that it can use the display and control surface of a compatible automotive infotainment system as its display and control surface. The 8Mp rear camera also impresses me due to implementation of auto-focus.

Samsung are also running a comprehensive accessory suit including a wireless charger and an AllShare wireless link to video display equipment.

The press reckons that the Android-based answer is the HTC One X but they see this also as Samsung coming up with a phone that beats the Apple iPhone and has cause for Apple to work harder on the next iPhone iteration. It certainly is an example of the way mobile-computing has come of age, in a similar way to how GUI-driven desktop computing has come of age in the late 1980s when GUI operating environments appeared for computer platforms other than the Apple Macintosh.