While the IFA show doesn’t officially kick off until tomorrow, there has already been a wave of products being unveiled, and press briefings taking place.
And Samsung has been busier than most, with a number of devices to show off.
Where should we start? Android, perhaps, and the Galaxy Note 2, which is one of the next big handsets from the company, and the successor to the popular Note with its stylus and large display that make it a “phablet” (phone/tablet hybrid).
As expected, the Note 2 pushes the screen size up to 5.5 inches, and also improves the stylus and note taking functionality to make this a more pleasant high-tech jotter all round. The resolution may disappoint some, though, at just 720p.
A quad-core processor is on board, a 1.6GHz affair, a pip faster than the 1.4GHz which was rumoured. The rumoured 8 megapixel camera turned out to be spot on, as did – rather obviously – the presence of Android Jelly Bean 4.1.
There will be 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions of the phone.
Samsung also unveiled something a little different in the form of an Android camera (similar to one Nikon has already pushed out, the Nikon Coolpix S800c, priced at just under the £400 mark).
Samsung’s Galaxy Camera is a 16.3 megapixel affair with a 21x optical zoom, and a sizeable 4.8 inch display on the rear (a 308ppi affair, no less, so very sharp, not to mention “rich” according to a report in the Guardian).
This unit has a 1.4GHz quad-core CPU and runs Jelly Bean, with 8GB of on board storage, and Wi-Fi, 3G and LTE connectivity. It’s certainly an interesting hybrid of phablet and camera, as it were, and it’ll be interesting to see the consumer reaction to such a device. Will it be confusion, or adoption?
Samsung has also given a sneak preview of a new Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) powered portable media player, the Galaxy Player 5.8. As the name suggest, this has a 5.8 inch display, which really is edging up to almost a 7 inch tablet, and it also has a front-facing camera, with 16GB and 32GB flavours in terms of memory.
Samsung is doing just as much with Windows as with Android, with the company announcing its first Windows Phone 8 device (beating Nokia to the punch).
The Samsung Ativ S is billed as a “super-phone that’s equal parts powerhouse and head turner” in a Microsoft blog post.
The handset boasts a 720p, 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display made from Corning Gorilla Glass 2, and has a brushed aluminium chassis with a thickness of 8.7mm.
Other specs include a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, and a 1.9 megapixel front-facer for video chatting. There’s 1GB of RAM on board, and a choice of 16GB or 32GB of storage, with a claimed long battery life via the 2300mAh battery.
Microsoft reckons that despite its near-5-inch screen, the smartphone doesn’t feel that big, thanks to its thin profile, lightweight nature, and also the design of the bezel.
This is the start of Windows Phone’s big push, what with the launch of Windows Phone 8 devices (and indeed the Windows 8 desktop and tablet OS) – and it couldn’t have come at a better time, given that manufacturers may be re-evaluating Android in the light of Samsung’s patent trial loss to Apple over in the US.
Samsung is also launching a slate with the same brand name, the Samsung Ativ Tab. This full-size 10.1 inch tablet runs Windows RT, the tablet version of Windows 8.
It’s powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and the screen has a resolution of 1,366 x 768, specs which look a little behind the times compared to the quad-core Androids and retina-quality iPads of this day and age.
While it isn’t as exciting as the Ativ phone, the hope is that perhaps this will be a budget targeted slate you can pick up pretty cheaply. Fairly soon, the budget tablet market might well be awash with devices… indeed, possibly including the iPad Mini.
The Ativ phone is the one to watch for us, though – and Windows Phone 8 in general. Can the mobile OS finally make its move now that Google’s Android looks to be in some degree of legal hot water with Apple?
It’s now or never, certainly.