First Windows Phone 8 Hardware Makes Its Debut
Samsung jumped firmly behind Microsoft's next-gen Windows operating system for phones and tablets Wednesday by announcing its ATIV family, which includes the ATIV S, the first announced Windows Phone 8 smartphone.
Besides the new Windows Phone 8 operating system, the ATIV S smartphone has a revised start screen, and also allows smartphones based on the OS to be equipped with HD screens, multi-core processors, near-field-communication (NFC) capability, and microSD card slots.
Samsung's ATIV S smartphone has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display. The phone is 0.34 inches thick with integrated NFC, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and HSPA＋42 connectivity.
More Windows Phone 8-based devices are expected to be announced next week, as Microsoft joins Nokia for an event in New York where the Finnish phone maker is expected to announce its first phones based on the new OS.
At IFA 2012, Samsung also announced a bigger, faster Note tablet, a new Galaxy camera, and the ARM-based ATIV Tab tablet, plus the Intel-based ATIV Smart PC, and the Smart PC Pro.
Windows 8 tablets
Tablets are equally important, and the Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems have been developed with tablets in mind.
The Samsung ATIV Tab uses Windows RT, which means that it is powered by an ARM processor. The device has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs 20.1 ounces and is 0.35 inches thick. The new iPad, by comparison, weighs 22 ounces and is 0.37 inches thick.
Users can attach a keyboard and other peripherals to the ATIV Tab using the included USB and HDMI ports. Just like the ATIV S, the Tab has integrated NFC.
For users who prefer Intel-based processors and Windows 8, the ATIV Smart PC and Smart PC Pro both have keyboards that can be attached magnetically to the screen. They have also inherited the S Pen from the Galaxy Note family, which allows users to write directly on the screen.
The ATIV Smart PC Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and has an 11.6-inch screen. The ATIV Smart PC is the simpler of the two, and has a new Atom processor.
Meanwhile, on the Android side, the Galaxy Note II has a bigger screen and a faster processor than its predecessor, while the Galaxy Camera has 16-megapixel resolution and an optical zoom.
More from Samsung at IFA 2012
For Samsung, the IFA trade show in Berlin seems to have become the place where the company launches new concepts. At last year's show it premiered the first Note, and this year it has launched the Galaxy Camera.
The camera is the first in the world to combine Android 4.1 with 3G and a quad-core processor, according to Samsung. It also has a 4.8-inch HD display and an f2.8/23 millimeter lens with a 21x optical zoom. It is voice-controlled and users can store images on Dropbox; 50GB is included.
Samsung hopes the camera will help create a new product category, as the Note has done for phone/tablet hybrids.
When Samsung launched the original Note, few people thought the product would be a success because of its 5.3-inch screen size, which put it between smartphones and tablets.
But with sales of over 10 million, Samsung has proven that its instincts were right, and it now wants to build on that momentum with the Galaxy Note II, which is based on Android 4.1. Samsung will try to convince consumers to upgrade to the new model or buy one for the first time when it starts shipping in October.
The Galaxy Note II is powered by a quad-core 1.6GHz processor. It has a 5.5-inch widescreen display with a resolution of 1280-pixels-by-720 pixels, all housed in a shell that is 0.37 inches thick. The device weighs 6.3 ounces. That compares to the original version's 5.3-inch display with a 1280-pixel-by-800-pixel resolution in a package that is 0.38 inches thick and weighs 6.2 ounces.
Samsung has also increased the size of the Note's battery from 2,500 mAh to 3,100 mAh. How that will affect battery life when there is a slightly bigger screen and a faster processor remains to be seen.
On the software side, users can hover over an icon with the digital pen and get a preview of what hides beneath it. Also, if the pen is left behind, the Note II will vibrate to warn the user.
The new version of the Note also includes pop-up video and pop-up play, features that allow users to watch videos or surf the web in a window that hovers over the rest of the user interface.
Windows 8 PCs
On Tuesday, Samsung also launched the Series 7 and Series 5 All-In-One (AIO) PCs, which will also have Windows 8 and touch-sensitive displays. Users will also be able to control the computers with hand gestures.
The Series 7 comes in two versions, with either a 27-inch or a 23.6-inch display. The 27-inch version has an Intel Core i7-3770T processor and 8GB of RAM, while smaller version has a Core i5-3470T processor and 6GB of RAM.
The Series 5 has a 21.5-inch display, a Core i3-3220T processor, and 4GB of RAM.
The list prices are between $1100 and $1700 for the Series 7 and $749 for the Series 5, and all three will be available on Oct. 26.