As promised, Samsung unveiled its next-generation Galaxy S smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2011 today.
Dubbed the Samsung Galaxy S II, the handset improves on its predecessor in a number of ways. First, you've got the addition of a dual-core processor. We were originally told by the company that it was using Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset but were later informed that it was Samsung's own chip; unfortunately, further details were not provided at the event but generally speaking you should see faster performance and graphics.
It also runs the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but unlike the Nexus S, the Galaxy S II will feature Samsung's custom TouchWiz user interface.
Given the delay with updates being pushed out to the current Galaxy S portfolio, we're sure this news will make some groan. However, TouchWiz 4.0 offers added functionality, including the three new hubs — Game, Music and Reader — so users can download more content to their smartphones. In the US the Games hub will be powered by Gameloft, while the Music hub will be run by 7Digital — no word on local publishers yet. The Reader hub will come from different providers and for the US includes access to 2.2 million books, 2000 global and local newspapers, and 2300 magazines. Based off current deals we'd expect to see significantly less content turn up in Australia, but as agreements are still being inked here, it's too early to tell.
You'll still get your social-networking feeds through the Social hub (now Social Hub Premium), but you'll also be able to see your communications history, IM status, and reach your contacts via SMS, email, et cetera all from one place.
Though there's a social and multimedia aspect to the device, Samsung has also worked to make it a more business-friendly smartphone. As a result, the Galaxy S II includes on-device encryption and support for Cisco's mobile solutions for VoIP calls, VPN and virtual desktop.
Design-wise, the Galaxy S II features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen with a WVGA 480x800-pixel resolution. Samsung's Super AMOLED screens already provided one of the richest viewing experiences on a smartphone, but the Super AMOLED Plus adds 50 per cent more sub-pixels, and we certainly noticed a crisper, smoother picture and colours popped off the screen.
The general form factor is like other touchscreen smartphones we've seen, but Samsung loves claiming to have the world's thinnest or smallest products, so we weren't surprised to hear them call the Galaxy S II the "world's thinnest smartphone". Having seen it in person, we can say it is incredibly thin. It measures 125mm tall by 66mm wide by 8.4mm thick and weighs 116 grams.
Like the previous generation, the Galaxy S II has a plastic build, but Samsung has added a textured back, so at least the smartphone doesn't feel as slick this time around. You can get a closer look at the device in our hands-on photo gallery below.
Other notable highlights of the Galaxy S II include an 8-megapixel camera and front-facing 2-megapixel camera, 1080p HD video recording and playback, option for NFC connectivity, HSPA+ support, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Samsung says it currently has no plans for a CDMA version of the phone at this time.
The Galaxy S II is expected in Australia in May to early June. In addition to the Galaxy S II, Samsung also introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which will debut worldwide in the next couple of months.