Samsung Galaxy S III: Is it really an iPhone killer?

It's been hailed an 'iPhone killer' and the 'best smartphone ever made' - so can the Samsung Galaxy S III live up to the hype?

The keenly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S III


The S III boasts a whopping 4.8 inch high definition screen and runs the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

The screen itself is designed to dwarf the iPhone's 3.5 inch high quality Retina display and opts for rival Super AMOLED technology to create the sharpest and most crisp images and colours.

But within hours of it being launched, the S III screen size had already split opinions, with some pundits arguing it was way too big for a phone. Others disagree, believing it will boost the quality of portable entertainment apps in the future.

The Galaxy doesn't have it all its own way either. Other notable iPhone rivals like the newly-released HTC One X has had decent reviews and acclaim, something that alongside the S III means Apple's handset and iOS software could be about to see its biggest challenge to date.

According to analysts Ovum, smartphones are the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market, with ownership set to reach 1.7 billion handsets worldwide by 2017.

It is unsurprising, but none-the-less significant that Ovum's predictions show Android will become the dominant operating system over the next five years. Given that the iPhone is the only mobile to run iOS, it was never going to sustain the No1 position.



However, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry suffering hard times, Android does looks set to reap the benefits.

Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, said: "Android will dominate the smartphone market over the next five years.

"While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we’re now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signalling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers."

In 2010, Android handsets represented just 17% of smartphones but last year that had risen to 44% with its share set to hit 48% in 2017. In 2017, it is said iOS will account for 27%, up from 23% in 2011.

This duopoloy could spell bad news for the other players in the market but Mr Leach does predict Windows Phone will grow and establish itself firmly over the next five year cycle.

The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III - due to hit the streets on May 30 - is though a massive boost for Android, whether people choose to own that phone, or are simply encouraged to explore the software on another manufacturer's handset or one of Samsung's large Android range.

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, isn't sure the Galaxy S III will be enough on its own to hit Apple too hard.

He said: "The S3 has some commendable new features but despite its Apple-esque, near-global launch I don't think this phone is set to be an iPhone killer. An iPhone maimer maybe, but not a killer. "

The Galaxy range has in the past showed Samsung is able to produce the kind of forward-thinking smartphones that leave Apple playing catch-up.




But with both companies releasing their devices months apart, it simply creates months of rumour and spin until ultimately, the newer handset has just enough up its sleeve to trump the other and steal the headlines and plaudits back.

For example, while the Galaxy has an 8 megapixel camera like the iPhone 4S, and the HTC One X, much is being said of its intelligent front-facing lens and voice controls.

Samsung say its  "main USP" is to "enhance the interaction between the device and its owner".

In short that means using the front camera to recognise a person's eyes are looking at the screen. This stops it from turning off. It's clever, but is it a killer feature?

The 'S Voice' system also aims to surpass Apple's Siri speech controls. You'll be able to tell it to snooze the alarm. But only a full-on test of the device in the coming weeks will prove just how good the voice recognition is for every day life.

Apple's Siri suffered from negative feedback over how useful it really is, despite a much-hyped launch.

Andy Griffiths, Managing Director of Samsung UK and Ireland, said: "Our aim with the Galaxy S III was to develop the best smartphone ever made, and by focusing on creating a unique user experience through superior hardware and enhanced usability we believe we have done just that.

"The Galaxy S III is packed with smart features that enable it to understand and respond to our actions providing the most seamless, natural and human-centric mobile experience."
 
Other features include the 'S Beam' to share files fast simply by touching another S III phone, HD video recording from the front camera and NFC technology, potentially for mobile payments, to future-proof it for when this takes off in Britain.

The Samsung Galaxy S III will be sold by all the major UK mobile phone networks with many already taking pre-orders.

Andrew Harrison, CEO of Carphone Warehouse, said: "Anticipation surrounding the Samsung Galaxy SIII launch has been huge, it’s one of the biggest launches of the year and marks an exciting and innovative new stage in the smartphone market."

Stuart Miles, of Pocket-Lint.com, added: "Samsung has achieved so much over the last couple of years going from a relativity small mobile phone player to the only one powerful enough to challenge Apple.

"The Samsung Galaxy S III has the ability to control the top end of the market, but Apple still hold all the chips when it comes to delivering what the everyday man needs.

"But the battle is far from over with plenty more handsets still set to challenge Samsung and the S III."
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