One of our favourite GS3 mock-ups. (Credit: BGR)
Samsung may be top of the smartphone heap right now, but this puts it in the unenviable position of needing to deliver "the next big thing" when it unveils the Galaxy S III in a fortnight. Can Samsung surprise its fans with the design and features of its latest flagship model, or is it destined to disappoint?
The Galaxy S II was for many a benchmark for Android handsets last year. Its 4.3-inch AMOLED screen and zippy dual-core processor were the centrepieces in a phone that ticked many boxes. It's great for media playback, has an excellent camera and remains one of the fastest mobile devices for web browsing. It's also one of the thinnest and lightest phones around, even if it lacks a certain aesthetic flair.
There are, obviously, a lot of areas of smartphone design and features that Samsung will have to improve on to satisfy its fans and convince them that this newer model is a worthy upgrade. The Galaxy S III also faces stiff competition from handsets already in stores, especially from a marketing perspective. Will Samsung impress with a quad-core processor, when the HTC One X already sports one? Can Samsung add photography features to outshine HTC's new camera features or Nokia's 41-megapixel 808 PureView?
The question about quad-core processors is particularly interesting. Samsung has prided itself on being the fastest and most powerful, and often advertises the specs of its latest handsets over their other attributes. But will the quad-core story wash with tech lovers this year? We've already published our suspicions that even if quad core is faster than dual core, it is a very difficult thing to demonstrate. This isn't to say that Samsung should avoid the use of quad-core processors, but if it does and we're to pay for them, it'd be nice to know that there is added performance that we are paying for.
Battery life is also one area where Samsung could really put the screws to its closest competitors. The Galaxy S II suffered from average battery life, at best, so for Samsung to really up the ante in the battery capacity department would be a real acknowledgement that it is listening to its customers and responding to their feedback.
To really succeed in wowing the smartphone world, Samsung needs more than specs and speeds. It needs Apple's famous "one more thing". We have heard rumours that Samsung is working on a wireless charger that can charge a portable device from a range of several metres around the charging station. Samsung also has its flexible display in the works, although it's unlikely that this will be commercially available for some time.
There are also a number of lifestyle use cases that Samsung could lead on with this new release. We know that games are always among the top-selling apps for both Android and iOS, and yet no one has really nailed the gaming phone concept. Sony Ericsson gave it a good shot with the Xperia Play, but imagine if Samsung took that concept and went one step further, adding an HDMI port and making your phone a gaming console and controller all in one. Or Motorola's flagging LapDock concept of having your phone as your mobile PC. This concept is brilliant, but it needs a lot of work, and Samsung is exactly the kind of company that can polish this project.
What new features or big ideas would you like to see in the Galaxy S III, or in any new smartphone, for that matter? Let me know in the comments below.