The Samsung Galaxy S III event has come and gone. Some say that's true about the phone as well, that it's so disappointing it's done before ever getting off the ground. Of course, many of the people saying that have yet to actually touch or use the Galaxy S III. Not that you shouldn't be able to form some sort of opinion about a phone before getting to experience it — otherwise why the hell did we do 30-something stories on it? But predicting a device's failure should at least require physical contact, no?
Regardless, Samsung will sell a bunch of these things, both in the form we saw at Earl's Court, and in variants to U.S. (and other) carriers. It'll sell 'em because Samsung is Samsung, and it has the clout with carriers — and more important, it has the marketing budget — to sell just about anything, and as much of anything, as it wants. Make no mistake about that. Samsung would never let the Galaxy S III wither and die, no matter what bloggers and analysts thing about it. Probably the more telling line came from Samsung president JK Shin, who all but made fun of the media for all the pre-launch speculation. (I can't say I blame him.) He made it pretty obvious Samsung's going to push this thing hard, never mind the blogs. Hardly a surprise there.
So what do I think? Pretty much what I said in last week's podcast. I rather like the hardware. The HTC One X wins in the display department, thanks to SLCD 2, but the SGSIII's got some nice lines to it, and I'm fairly smitten by the Pebble Blue version. Yeah, the screen's even bigger than the Galaxy Nexus or the SGSII or the One X, but Samsung's done it in a way so that the phone itself hasn't significantly grown in size. And it's thin enough at 8.6mm, with a nicely balanced weight.
It's the software that's left me underwhelmed. Ice Cream Sandwich was a fresh start for Android. HTC took advantage of that (even though many of the UI tweaks on the HTC One line were coming anyway, ICS or no). But hte Galaxy S III still seems stuck in the Gingerbread era, as far as the user interface goes. I'll be using a third-party launcher on it, most likely (and there are some really good ones available these days). Things like S Voice, and the phone being able to anticipate that you're going to make a call, and to go picture-in-picture are fun, but they're gimmicky. And for the most part, they're neither overly intuitive nor integral to the use of the phone, and these things are complicated enough as it stands. Maybe I'll be wrong and we'll hear a chorus of "Hello, Galaxy" rising up from the sidewalks of America.
But that was last week. It's already time for the next show.
CTIA in New Orleans
I'm excited about this one. Maybe not so much for the show itself — by many accounts it's likely to be a snoozer. But for the first time since I've been doing this job, we're working in my neck of the woods — the Gulf Coast. (I don't count CTIA in Orlando last year, even though it's in the same state as me.) I've always had a special place in my heart for New Orleans, a city I've visited I don't know how many times. Pensacola, the city in which I was born, shares a lot of the cultural heritage as NOLA, albeit on a smaller scale.
I haven't been back to New Orleans since Katrina hit in 2005, and I'm kind of ashamed by that. But I'd had enough of hurricanes. I got married on Sept. 18, 2004, just two days after Hurricane Ivan decimated my little slice of the coast. We had nine people in our house that night, and only two of us knew what to expect. "People are going to die," I remember telling my soon-to-be (and still) wife. It was bad.
As bad as Ivan was — and the old folks here say it's the worst they've seen hit Pensacola — Katrina was worse. Much worse. That storm scared the shit out of me from 200 miles away. (Hell, it flooded our waterfront downtown streets in Pensacola.) You've seen what it did in New Orleans. You've seen the inexcusable human response. (Or, more accurately, the lack thereof.) And you've seen the resolve of the folks who lived there, and who still live there. It's a special city. And I'm very much looking forward to being back there this week.
Oh, right. Smartphones and what not. I'm not expecting any huge surprises this week. But there's a better than average chance we'll see the Droid Incredible 4G LTE announced this week, and maybe a version of that Motorola DROID Fighter thing. But is anything going to knock our socks off that's not cold, red and in a tall glass?
I'm not quitting the Internet
It'll be interesting to see what comes of Verge editor Paul Miller quitting the Internet. I think the ol' dub-dub-dub will be just fine.
There are millions of people without Internet access. While the idea here is to make do without the Internet, I think working to get more people online is a more worthwhile endeavor. (Watch Google Chairman Eric Schmidt's keynote address from Mobile World Congress. This is what's really important, folks.)
The headline I should have used: Asking dumb questions of smart phones.
That's it for this week. Catch ya from NOLA!