In a not completely unexpected move Samsung Mobile announced that it would be working with NVIDIA on two different projects. First and foremost is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This 10.1" Honeycomb tablet uses NVIDIA's Tegra 2 SoC (just like LG's Optimus Pad and Motorola's Xoom). The big news isn't the fact that it's a 10-inch Android tablet, but that it's not using a Samsung SoC.

As the reference platform for Honeycomb, NVIDIA's Tegra 2 makes a lot of sense for Samsung. The fact that Samsung went from reference platform for Gingerbread to having to partner with NVIDIA on Honeycomb doesn't bode very well for its SoC team.

I had the opportunity to play around with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 after Samsung's press conference. If you've ever used a Galaxy S phone like the Fascinate you'll know that it feels: 1) plasticky, 2) light and 3) just a little cheap. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is like a giant Fascinate, but it doesn't feel all that cheap to me - just light.

The weight is comfortable, especially coming from an iPad. The OS is responsive however I get the impression that Honeycomb is still a bit early. Despite GPU acceleration everywhere I noticed some choppy scrolling and laggy transitions. The unit I was playing with even managed to reboot in the middle of me messing with the camera. These are all issues you'd expect from pre-release software so I'm not too concerned.

I think it's still too early to tell how well these Honeycomb tablets will do in the market. I need to see final software to get a better idea. Soon enough I hope...

The Galaxy S II

Despite turning to NVIDIA for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (and an unannounced future Samsung superphone), Samsung did introduce the Galaxy S II based on an unnamed SoC (the assumption is that it's Samsung's own Orion SoC).

The Galaxy S II features a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display (full stripe matrix, not PenTile) with what appears to be a 800 x 480 resolution. The phone measures only 8.49mm thick and weighs a meager 116g. That's 85% the thickness and 91% of the weight of a Samsung Fascinate.

Inside the Galaxy S II is a dual-core (Cortex A9) SoC running at 1GHz. A 4-core GPU (Update: we listed a 4-core PowerVR SGX 544 earlier, which is incorrect) and a HSPA+ 21Mbps modem. Powering all of this is a 1650mAh battery, a 10% increase in battery capacity vs. the Samsung Fascinate.

The Galaxy S II supports NFC, 1080p30 recording and playback and features a 8MP rear facing camera with LED flash. On the front you've got a 2MP camera. WiFi Direct is also supported, which will be used to enable wireless syncing to your desktop over WiFi.

Samsung includes the latest version of its TouchWiz UI (4.0), which includes an entire suite of remote location and theft recovery tools. You can remotely locate your phone, lock it and of course track it all on the web. You can also have your phone SMS you if someone swaps out the SIM as well as remotely monitor what calls are made with the phone.

Rounding off the list of supported features are a 3-axis gyroscope and accelerometer. Samsung also boasts hardware encryption on the Galaxy S II but it wasn't clear in what sense (perhaps real time NAND encryption?).

Motorola Atrix 4G (left) vs. Samsung Galaxy S II (right)

I spent some time with the Galaxy S II after Samsung's press conference and I can confirm that it is both very thin and very fast. The Galaxy S II will launch with Gingerbread and as a result scrolling through apps is smoother than even on the Tegra 2 based Atrix 4G.

Overall the Galaxy S II felt like a slightly faster, slightly smoother Atrix 4G. We'll have to get one in house to really pit it up against NVIDIA's flagship. The Gingerbread advantage is undeniable though.

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  • StealthX32 - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    ...but I'll be damned if I ever buy another Samsung phone.

    With so many other options on the market, no way I'm willing to fight Samsung again to get OS updates, a working GPS implementation, etc.
  • abhaxus - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    As an Epic owner, I completely agree with the above statement. Never again Samsung.
  • solinear - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    I couldn't agree more - I'm an Epic owner and the way they have treated their customers, I am seriously considering never getting another Samsung product (phone, monitor, tv, etc...) again. Froyo was out in what, May? Epic came out on August 31st and it's February with no update outside of hacked ROMs from customers? They have done nothing but disappoint me.

    HTC and Motorola are on their game with updates to their phones. Waiting 6 months and rooting my phone to get a GPS that works is unacceptable.
  • nirolf - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I wouldn't put Motorola on that list. The Defy came out in October running Eclair and I'm still waiting for Froyo. It's a lower end product, but still.
  • One43637 - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    I too will think twice about getting another Samsung smartphone. Just for the fact that it took forever to get Froyo on my phone.

    No OTA, but an official TMo post told us that Froyo is an option, although highly recommended, that needed Samsung Mini Kies to update. Froyo was not going to be pushed OTA. You guys might want to check if you Froyo is available on your phone via Mini Kies.

    I was ready to buy a Nexus S, but since I now have Froyo I think this will last me till summer.

    The comment system marked my post as SPAM because I posted the link of the Tmo post. So just google it. It's on Tmo > Vibrant forums under a sticky.
  • DaFox - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Agreed. Up here in Canada their official 2.2 update was bricking a large number of phones too. And rooting voids the warranty with them.
  • mesiah - Sunday, February 13, 2011 - link

    Absolutely. I swore I would never own another Samsung phone, then the wife "had" to have a slide out qwerty so we settled for the Samsung moment. Those phones have been nothing but trouble since we bought them. I am counting down the days until we can both upgrade, and it certainly won't be a Samsung.
  • zorxd - Friday, February 18, 2011 - link

    In Canada Samsung updated the Galaxy S to 2.2 right after HTC's Desire. Motorola Milestone and XT720 are still running 2.1.
    HTC updated to Hero to 2.1 half a year after 2.2 was released. These companies are pretty much all the same. Maybe only SE is worse.
  • sdffds6546 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    I wouldn't put Motorola on that list. The Defy came out in October running Eclair and I'm still waiting for Froyo. It's a lower end product, but still.
  • guoxing - Saturday, June 25, 2011 - link

    i know the Samsung Galaxy S II from !! i

    like it very much but the bad is i don't have money to buy it

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