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Samsung Launches 4in Super AMOLED Android Handset

Gordon Kelly

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Samsung Launches 4in Super AMOLED Android Handset

Now this is what we always wanted... almost.

Samsung has added to its Android-based Galaxy range with the 'Galaxy S', a spec-tacular smartphone which uses Google's latest Android 2.1 OS and yet still manages to kinda balls things up.

What Samsung does well first: the Galaxy S is a hardware monster. It packs in a whopping 4in 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touchscreen display with Super AMOLED, throws in a five megapixel camera (seems the industry has realised this is the sane size - good), adds 720p HD video recording, a choice of 8GB or 16GB of native storage and bundles a 1GHz CPU, GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP. Sounds awesome right? Sorta.

Proving once and for all it knows as much about making an intuitive mobile operating system as I do about building igloos, Samsung has done its level best to completely ruin Android. As I feared having seen the equally hardware-tastic Samsung Beam at Mobile World Congress in February, Samsung has gone ahead with its mind numblingly dumb idea of making all its mobile platforms exactly look the same. This means whether the OS be Symbian, Windows Mobile or Android, Samsung has made them all adopt its TouchWiz UI and icons in an attempt to try and unite its handsets.

The problem with this is TouchWiz is about the single worst user interface on the market and Samsung's icons look like they were drawn by an apathetic teenager doing his homework in Paint. Thanks Samsung, that's helpful in a way that's well... not. All of which makes the fact the Galaxy S is just 9.9mm thick, weighs a dainty 118g and will be available "soon" even harder to take.

It is time for an intervention...

'Dear Samsung, let's cut to the chase. For the last five years you have been the breakout company in the technology industry. You've been bold and successful in almost every sector, yet you know it and I know it: Bada is a bad idea. Bad bad bad bad bad. What is more TouchWiz has always been a bad idea - poorly laid out and horribly implemented. Basing Bada around TouchWiz, that really is a doozy of epic proportions. Yes, I know you want to be the new Sony - your micro four thirds NX10 is incompatible with industry lenses, your 3D TVs only have full functionality if used with other Samsung kit - including Bada - and even the 1GHz CPU here is your own. But let's get one thing clear: dressing up a jolly decent mobile operating system like Android just to make it look as ugly as Bada and as ill thought out as TouchWiz won't do your OS any favours. So quit messing around (being Sony didn't even work out for Sony), buy Palm, treat Android kindly and we'll forget any of this nonsense ever happened. Deal?

Binesh

March 24, 2010, 1:06 pm

Just as a thought, would it be possible to remove the TouchWiz UI so that you only had the default Android UI available, sort of like reflashing it? Just like jail breaking the iPhone.





If that is the case then problem solved. I suspect that much like Sony do, there ain't no way they would let you do this.

PGrGr

March 24, 2010, 1:10 pm

Ha ha! I love it when you get angry, Gordon!

DavidDB

March 24, 2010, 1:40 pm

Classic - say it like it is, Im a huge Samsung fan on so many products but when it comes to phones they are no HTC, its time they take a break and look around at what HTC / Moto are getting right then better it. We are waiting ... but not forever

Hallainzil

March 24, 2010, 1:53 pm

@Binesh: Yes, you could "Root" your phone, and to be honest, I would imagine that anyone who would be able to WILL, given that god-awful UI.

Hans Gruber

March 24, 2010, 2:14 pm

@Binesh, you'd have to install a customised ROM (firmware). This would be a hybrid between whatever version of Android should be installed on that particular device (you still need device specific drivers etc) and whatever system changes to allow use for unbranded Android use. So, you either have a more vanilla Android experience or something someone has adapted/tweaked to provide better functionality. Visit http://android.modaco.com/cate... and check out their posts on custom ROMs etc. Personally I'm hesitant about installing anything other than the stock/manufacturer's updated ROM as life's simpler that way (living with the limitations but without all the bugs). It requires a bit of technical learning to install anything else (plenty of good guides exist) but you will likely encounter many technical difficulties you'll need to overcome, so for me, it's not worth it.





I second Gordon's petition to Samsung to see sense and stop crippling an otherwise very desirable hardware and phone operating system combination in Android 2.1. Just man up and bin the in house crippleware, you'll not only save costs but will sell more phones with software people actually want. Or, they could copy HTC (very very closely) but could possibly implement an option for running the phone without an overlaid UI at all (dual booting style?).

Ohmz

March 24, 2010, 3:12 pm

I would love to see WebOS on a phone like this.

ChaosDefinesOrder

March 24, 2010, 3:44 pm

woa, holy crap Gordon, don't suggest Samsung buys Palm, can you imagine the Pre with TouchWiz on top of WebOS? You know that's what would happen!

Robert

March 24, 2010, 3:50 pm

@Binesh: I would imagine it is lie the Hero, in that you can choose to use the original UI through the menus, I know a couple of people did this when the Hero was first released, as the Sense UI was so slow until it was updated. If this is the case, you don't need to root or change the rom. Another route is to use one of the many alternative homescreens available on the Android market, I am using one called Slidescreen Pro http://slidescreenhome.com which is pretty revoloutionary, but for me makes the device even more usable, highly recommended!

Gordon394

March 24, 2010, 3:54 pm

@ChaosDefinesOrder - a VERY good point!

David1997

March 24, 2010, 4:20 pm

Spot on again, Gordon. OK Samsung? Simples.

Alvin

March 24, 2010, 6:06 pm

Sorry but the HTC EVO which was recently announced is on top of all android phones on my list or all smartphones for that fac.

rav

March 24, 2010, 6:59 pm

@Robert


I don't think it's that simple for the Hero. You can go back to the normal (3 screen) homescreen instead of (TouchFlo) but you can't just turn off Sense. It's too integrated into everything. It covers things like the dialler, contacts, menus, GUI... To get back to totally stock Android you would have to flash another ROM. I'd recommend Vanillain.

Chris

March 24, 2010, 7:31 pm

@Alvin. The Evo looks very nice, but it's basically an improved HD2 running Android. 4.3" phones are an acquired taste, and personally not my cup of tea.


It's also sporting WiMAX (optimistically labelled '4G'), which is useless on this side of the pond. As such, it'll never make it over here in that form, but maybe HTC have something else up their sleeves for us Europeans.

Pat Emmison

March 25, 2010, 12:39 am

Will not touch another Samsung product again after the i8510 carry on, £500 phone abandoned after less than a year. HTC for my new phone, Panny for TV, anything but Samsung

m bayley

July 23, 2010, 1:49 pm

One of the worst scores in the review was value (just 7). This is simply not true from my experience when you look at the handset in conjunction with a contract and also avalilability in the UK. The cheapest equivalent iphone 4 handset + contract would have cost 75% more over the same period, The equivalently cheap deals on HTC desires were not available till the end of august (a two month wait) with more expensive deals available imediatly (yeah right!). I dought the evo will be around in the UK till the build up to christmas and then will cost a premium. Perhaps this value figure is correct for for comparison to the US market, or just for the handset price - interesting to know.... anyone? What I do know is that in the UK, for contract users, the galaxy s is cheap and available.....

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