Samsung unveils Galaxy S III smartphone with face, voice recognition

Samsung unveils Galaxy S III smartphone with face, voice recognition
Tech Corner

POSTED: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 6:45pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 6:49pm

Samsung has launched its Galaxy S III smartphone, which it hopes will help solidify the company as the leading challenger to Apple and its iPhone 4S.

The new handset, with a whopping 4.8-inch screen and an 8-megapixel camera, was unveiled at a slick launch party in London on Thursday, complete with a backing orchestra.

Billed by Samsung as having been "designed for humans," the phone features voice and eye-recognition technology that the company hopes will set the handset ahead of its rivals in the crowded smartphone market.

Samsung has overtaken Nokia as the world's best-selling mobile phone maker, and Juniper Research reported Tuesday that Samsung also overtook Apple in smartphone sales in the first quarter, in what it described as "increasingly a two-horse race."

The new Galaxy handset, which runs the most up-to-date version of Google's mobile operating system -- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich -- recognizes when a user is looking at it, and ensures the screen doesn't go dark while it has eye contact.

S Voice technology -- Samsung's equivalent of Apple's Siri -- enables users to wake up their phone with a simple voice command. And voice recognition goes further -- saying: "Hi Galaxy ... picture," for example, opens the phone's camera app, and saying "cheese" takes a picture. Face-recognition software then identifies Facebook friends within images, and prompts the user to share them.

Samsung -- a sponsor of the Olympics -- revealed it will be sending devices enabled with mobile payment technology to the 2012 games in London.

Chris Hall, editor of technology website Pocket-lint, said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the new phone.

"When you compare it to the nearest rival it feels like they have pulled off a bit of a trick," he said. "They have put some effort into software innovations, particularly the eye recognition. The voice recognition feels like a reaction to Siri on the iPhone, but I don't know many people who actually talk to their phones."

"I think the success of the Galaxy S II proves people want something different that isn't an iPhone, and I think the S III is a valid successor to the S II." Samsung said the phone will be available in Europe on May 29, followed by launches in Asia, Africa and Latin America. A 4G version will go on sale in North America, Japan and South Korea in the summer.

Samsung did not announce what prices on the phone are expected to be.

Comments News Comments

Post new Comment