Hey, we get it, not everyone needs a full-featured smartphone complete with a pricey data plan. Samsung gets it too, hence the launch of the Samsung Messager III (SCH-R570).
The Messager III sports a 2.4-inch QVGA TFT display, but the real focus is on text messaging. It comes with a horizontal slide-out QWERTY keyboard, T9 predictive text, and threaded text messaging capabilities.
Other features include a built-in music player, 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth, 1.3MP camera, Widget support, and up to 16GB of expandable memory.
The Messager III is available at MetroPCS stores and online.
It's always a question with new Android devices; will it get updates? This was even more of a concern with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, as it is the first commercially viable Android tablet device. The differences in the hardware had some potential buyers worried Samsung would fail to keep the device up to date. But at a Samsung event in India today, the electronics giant confirmed that the Tab will get both Gingerbread and Honeycomb updates, SamsungHub reports.
The upcoming Android Gingerbread (probably 2.3) is expected to be unveiled soon, and Honeycomb (3.0?) should drop sometime in 2011. This is certainly good news for those planning to pick up a Galaxy Tab. Samsung is running a modified version of the Android UI called TouchWiz. This UI needs to be integrated with any stock updates to the Android platform. This likely means updates will take a bit longer, but at least they will happen.
The Galaxy Tab is set to go on sale in most countries next week. All major US mobile carriers have confirmed they will carry it, with T-Mobile being the first out of the gate. Do you have your eye on the Galaxy Tab?
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has already launched outside the US, and if supplies there are any indication, the US launch could be in trouble according to Business Insider. Carriers are reporting shortages of many of the smartphones, and have taken to offering vouchers to interested customers. Both the HTC Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 are in short supply across Europe.
This wouldn't be the first time we've seen new hardware plagued by shortages. Many of the components used in these handsets have been in short supply for months now. Need we remind you of the AMOLED shortage that brought Droid Incredible sales to a grinding halt last summer? HTC eventually switched the super TFT screen in that case, but the WP7 launch doesn't need any obstacles.
Of course, it is possible that this is an engineered shortage. You know, the OEMs make just slightly too few to drum up interest in the hot new hardware people can't get. Well, that may be a little to conspiratorial a theory to hang our hat on, but you never know.
According to iSuppli's itemized breakdown of parts, Samsung's new Galaxy Tab carries a Bill of Materials (BOM) totaling $205.22. That's a good chunk less than Apple's iPad, which breaks down to a little over $264 for the 16GB 3G version.
"Instead of matching up with the iPad on a feature-by-feature basis, the Galaxy Tab really is a larger version of Samsung's Galaxy smartphone," said Andrew Rassweiler, director, principal analyst and tear down services manager for iSuppli. "While the design approach makes the Galaxy less expensive to produce than the iPad 3G, it also makes for a product that lacks the same usability. The Galaxy Tab's screen resolution, size, and technology are not at the same level as the iPad. This is a critical difference, given the fact that the display is a key differentiating factor for the iPad."
As is typically the case, the most expensive part of Samsung's tablet is the display, which iSuppli pegs at $57. The Flash memory costs $51, and after that there's a steep dropoff in component prices, starting with the mechanical parts (PCBs, metals, plastics, connectors, etc.) that add up to $15.22.
Intel, the world's No. 1 chip maker, is teaming with Samsung and Toshiba, the two biggest players in the NAND-type memory market, to form a consortium tasked with developing technologies that could halve semiconductor line widths to around 10nm by 2016, Reuters reports.
These three best friends that anybody could have will invite about 10 other companies to join in the fun. In addition, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry is planning to infuse the venture with around $61 million of the $120 million in initial funds for R&D. The rest will come from various members of the consortium.
Meanwhile, Intel earlier this month announced plans to spend at least $6 billion and as much as $8 billion upgrading its fabs for 22nm, part of which includes building a new fab in Oregon.
An interesting rumor is coming out of Android and Me today. According to the site, the upcoming Samsung event is going to be the unveiling of the Google Nexus Two. This phone will supposedly be running stock Android Gingerbread (3.0 or 2.3, version number unclear). We've been expecting an announcement regarding the next version of Android, but a new Nexus seemed unlikely.
The Nexus One, while generally positively regarded, didn't sell very well. Carriers were nervous about supporting the stock Android phone and users could only buy it online. The Nexus One online store was closed, and even the support forums are going read-only soon. The Nexus One was made by long time Google partner HTC, but would Google contract Samsung to create a new Nexus?
This could end up just another situation like the Droid. Google officially backs a handset with a new version of Android, but the phone itself is managed by the manufacturer. What's your take?
US Cellular on Wednesday announced the arrival of the Samsung Mesmerize, the last of the Galaxy S line to ship to wireless carriers. The Mesmerize is a standard Galaxy S device without the front-facing camera -- otherwise, it ships with the same 1GHz hummingbird processor and 4-inch Super AMOLED as other versions of the smartphone do.
It's available now for $200 with a two-year service agreement and after an $80 mail-in-rebate, which comes in the form of a Visa Debit card.
In addition, Samsung today announced plans to ship the Galaxy Tab to US Cellular, which will join T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and Best Buy in carrying the tablet. Unfortunately Samsung was extremely short on details and didn't announce a price point or release date, though did say it would be "available to customers in time for the holiday shopping season."
Several wireless carriers plan to offer Samsung's Galaxy Tab starting in November, but none before T-Mobile, which today announced it will begin selling Samsung's upcoming slate on November 10, 2010.
"Customers want richer, deeper interactions with entertainment and online content through connected, portable mobile broadband devices that are small enough to carry and big enough to share with friends and family," said Jeremy Korst, director of broadband products and services, T-Mobile USA. "T-Mobile’s unique offerings on the Galaxy Tab paired with the power of T-Mobile’s new network allow us to bring a truly differentiated portable entertainment offering to market."
We've covered the Galaxy Tab ad nauseum up to this point so we won't rehash the specs, but will point out that T-Mobile will offer the device starting at $400 with a 2-year service agreement on a qualifying broadband plan. For the sake of comparison, here's how the Galaxy Tab breaks down with other carriers and distributors:
Sprint: $400 with 2-year data plan, available November 14
Verizon: $600 outright (no data plan required), November 11
Best Buy: $500 outright (Wi-Fi only), no announced release date
You can sign up for email alerts for the Galaxy Tab from T-Mobile here.
We received word that Samsung Mobile is planning a big unveiling of a new Android device on November 8, 2010 at 6PM (EST). Short and to the point, we have no idea what it is.
Will it be another smartphone? Perhaps. How about another tablet? For all we know, Samsung is gearing up to launch a sports car that runs on Android and rainbows -- the company simply isn't saying, and so far there haven't been any leaks.
Samsung semi-recently launched its line of Galaxy S smartphones, which are available through every major wireless carrier. In November, wireless carriers will also begin selling Samsung's Galaxy Tab slate. We suppose there's a chance that's what all the hoopla is about with this big unveiling, though if that turns out to be the case, that's pretty weaksauce on Samsung's part.
Samsung isn't playing favorites with its Galaxy Tab, just as the company didn't do with its line of Galaxy S smartphones. The latest wireless carrier to officially announce plans to carry the Galaxy Tab is Sprint, which as previously rumored will start selling the device on November 14.
"Samsung Galaxy Tab is another Android innovation for Sprint, adding a new category of wireless devices to the Sprint portfolio," said Fared Adib, vice president – Product Development, Sprint. "Samsung Galaxy Tab is a powerful entertainment device and business tool that offers our customers high-end features, including a blazing-fast processor, beautiful touchscreen for watching videos and Web browsing, two cameras, video chat capabilities and access to the Sprint 3G network with affordable rate plans that let customers take advantage of the advanced data capabilities their device offers."
November 14 is still over two weeks away, but if you're already itching to get in line, Sprint has begun accepting preorders at any participating Sprint Store, albeit with the purchase of a $50 Sprint gift card.
Sprint is charging $400 for the Galaxy Tab, provided you open a new line or are eligible for an upgrade and agree to stick around for two years with a 3G Tablet Mobile Broadband plan. A 2GB/month plan runs $30, or $60 for 5GB/month.