Earlier last week, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S3 and put to rest months of speculations as to what hardware upgrades the Korean giant would be incorporating into their flagship device.
The launch was met with mixed reactions as not all the rumors came to fruition (12-megapixel camera, 2GB RAM) and also because it stuck with using plastic for its exterior instead of swapping for the rumored ceramic case.
Samsung Galaxy S3 to take on iPhone 5 from a software standpoint
However if you were at the Samsung Mobile Unpacked event in London last week for the unveiling, you would have seen that Samsung didn’t drop the ball with the Galaxy S3. The event was bombarded with words like “intelligence,” “natural interactions”. The organic sound effects and almost zen-like atmosphere resonated the “designed for humans” slogan which Samsung has been shouting so much about with the Galaxy S3. What in fact had happened was Samsung playing an entirely new game. To explain what I mean, let’s take a look at Samsung’s biggest rival, Apple’s iPhone.
As both an iPhone and Android user over the past 4 years, as well as working in the tech journalism industry for 9, I’ve asked hundreds of iPhone users why they love their Apple device so much. While there are some oddball responses in there, the general population points towards simplicity and how “it just works.” We can always argue that Android phones can do more than an iPhone but there’s no avoiding the fact that just about every capability of the iPhone and iOS is more simple and intuitive when it comes to usability.
And that is what the Samsung Galaxy S3 is actually targeting. It is no coincidence that Samsung’s S Voice and AllShare Cast are deadringers forApple’s Siri and AirPlay. Samsung even went so far as to retain the physical home button on the Galaxy S3 despite running Android 4.0 ICS which supports on-screen keys. Samsung Galaxy S3 features like Smart Stay, Direct Call, and Buddy Photo Share, in my opinion actually end up making the Samsung Galaxy S3 more user-friendly than the iPhone 4S, which is a big change when it comes to Android smartphones.
Now don’t get me wrong, the Samsung Galaxy S3 does boast exceptional hardware that may currently only be rivaled by the likes of the HTC One X. However just like how the Samsung Galaxy S2 trumped the iPhone 4S in terms of hardware, it was the better simplicity and usability which made sure the iPhone’s top dog position remained unfaltered.
To see just how far the Samsung Galaxy S3 has come, we will need to wait until they begin to arrive at customer’s doorsteps and real-world usage shows just how much more intuitive and simple to use this Android phone is. Coincidentally, the iPhone 5 is rumored to be announced at WWDC 2012 in June where we can expect some major hardware upgrades.
Check out some of the software touches Samsung has made to Android 4.0 ICS below and tell us if you think it was a step in the right direction by Samsung to take on Apple’s iPhone from the software side instead of focusing heavily on just coming up with the best hardware.
Samsung Galaxy S3 “human centric” features:
- Buddy Photo Share: uses face detection to automatically share pictures of your friends with your friends
- AllShare Play: AirPlay clone that lets you share your screen with any other S3 users or DLNA-enabled devices on local WiFi
- Smart Stay: Uses the front-facing camera to keep the screen on while you’re looking at it.
- Direct Call: If you’re texting someone but decide to suddenly hold the Samsung Galaxy S3 up to your ear, it will automatically initiate the a call.
- Smart Alert: If you have any missed messages or calls, Smart Alert will vibrate your handset when you pick it up off the table.
- S Voice: Siri clone that employs natural language for searching weather, browsing music tracks, configuring alarms and more.