Phil Nickinson at Samsung Mobile Unpacked in London

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.)

Missed opportunity

The headline I should have used: Asking dumb questions of smart phones.


That's it for this week. Catch ya from NOLA!

 

Reader comments

From the Editor's Desk: A look back at London, a look ahead to New Orleans

34 Comments

I am personally looking forward to CTIA. I just want to hear what new phones will be coming out this summer, so i can figure out what to buy, and how soon i can buy it. Considering the Galaxy S3, but want to see whats going to happen with the moto razr HD.

Would be pretty cool to see something announced to Verizon...... that isn't the new Incredible... Something more, you know.... "HIGH-END" without a qHD screen

Thinking about driving over for the day on Monday. New Orleans is an awesome town. And its crawfish season so they are fresh. Hmmm. Tempting

Is there something in CTIA for non-industry people to do? Is it worth the drive down. I live about 90 minutes away.

"inexcusable human response. (Or, more accurately, the lack thereof)"

Would that also include prior to the storm?

Great comments from a fellow Gulf Coast resident (Biloxi here). I am still a huge Samsung fan and I'm hoping that Verizon will carry a version of the Galaxy S3. I'm feeling confident that they will, just a matter of when. My contract is up in a couple of weeks, but I'm going to wait a while for the S3 to be added to their lineup. Definitely not a fan of the Apple hype here. Hopefully we will hear something good out of NOLA. If nothing else, you are going to get some great food!

Will only US based phones be announced at CTIA? I'm curious to see what everyone else is going to do to their International lines now that the SIII has been announced, most importantly to me, Sony.

What about an in-depth look at HTC EVO 4G LTE vs Samsung Galaxy S III? That seems to be the going question.

It's not just you. I look forward to anything Phil writes. And I think he could have a nice career in broadcasting, if he felt like it.

JEEeZ Y DUNT YOO AlL juzT git 0n ya neEz wile yoo aT et!!! lol00ll-l0olo0-ol0l BERNED!!1

Edit: Had a troll moment, my apologies.

Out of all (and I mean ALL) of the tech-bloggers out there, you are my absolute favorite. You and Jerry actually. You guys are so cool and level-headed compared to a lot of the fireballs out there. Now don't get me wrong. I'm quite a fan of some of the fireballs in the blog-o-sphere. Myriam of Engadget and Josh Topolsky of The Verge come to mind. Love listening to them, but my problem with that is that they get me all fired up and that's my problem. But sometimes I like to listen to cool-headed reason and that's where you and Jerry come in. Love you guys. Love your site. Love your show. Keep up the great work. Cheers.

Must say I don't think much of the new Galaxy and would take a One X for sure
But it may very well sell from momentum. I too think the stuff they done is kinda gimmicky and disconnected. The features will probably show up in some form in Android itself. Then they will really seem like gimmicks.

Now when I make my below statement, keep in mind the Gnex is my first REAL smartphone. My previous one (ancient BB 8130) is barely better then current feature phones).

Now that I'm spoiled by stock ICS, I don't know if I'd like a skinned OS. Maybe, maybe not. If I could, I'd take the HTC screen and camera, stuff it in the SIII body (with a flush lens please), flash a stock ICS ROM to it, and be good to go. As it stands... the only thing I don't like about my Gnex (and I'm assuming the SIII is similar, because the Galaxy S was the same) is the plastic-y feel. Get rid of the cheaper-feeling plastic build and do something like HTC's aluminum bodies. Then we'd have a winner

That being said, My Gnex has to last me a minimum of 3 years (love the Canadian 3yr contract) so chances are good I won't be using one of these devices. Can't stop reading about the newest phones though, I like knowing what is out there :)

Keep up the great work Phil (and the rest of the AC team). I'd never have gotten into Android if it were not for this awesome site!

I'm also dissapointed that the GSIII didn't take on the ICS look and instead left it as is how it was with Gingy. Alot of people aren't even going to tell it's running ICS unless you show them from the settings. I've had my Vibrant since it came out and around July my contract will finally end, so that way I can start anew with a phone that's maybe triple the capabilities of my Vibrant. It's funny how when it first released, it was the most advanced phone yet, now it's performance is dwindling and there's only so much I can do with this Vibe, I definitely need and upgrade to the GSIII, I don't care about the looks it's a damn powerhouse.

I live in New Orleans! Where is it at? Is it open to the public? I might go even though it does seem some what dry this year. And also bring lots of cool clothes. Its hot as hell down here!

I just want the galaxy note on Sprint, I mean come on! This is the only phone I will give up my EVO 3D for! Samsung and Sprint are u listening?

So far, the SGSIII is the only next-level phone announced with a removable battery *and* mSD slot. So its at the top of the list.

I'd love to be shown a better option from another vendor prior to VZW offering it.

-Suntan

I agree with a lot of this. Rather the s voice and other stuff i would have liked to see a whole new look for samsungs TWz.... or no TWz.... whatever.. What i mean is that i never really liked sense but after playing with the OneX and sense 4.0 my opinion has changed. I like it. But now as i get ready for the S3 i realize how much i dont care for TWz.

the S3 would have been a bigger deal to me if it came with a whole new form of TWz or something. I mean between the OneX im still gonna get it because 10gigs simply wont cut it.

Either way though the beauty of android shines on as i immediately prepare to throw a different launcher on this.

i hope they announce the note for tmo soon. There have been good leaks out there about the existence of the phone but they need to release it soon

Well, I have to say that I lived in Houston when the storm hit and we pretty much became a sanctuary city for the survivors. What a friggin nightmare that turned out to be!!! I have no respect for New Orleans it's a Godless, lawless town and the influx in criminal population (I worked in law enforcment so I saw it first hand) had a deveastating impact on the city of Houston. Of course you can say i'm being stereotypical or that not everybody is like that but the increase in crime rate and it being perpetrated by those displaced was and is factual. There was no lack of human response from Houston and what did it get us... over crowded jails and a lot more heartache and death...

So for those of you who just visit as "tourists", there's a lot more to a city than just bars and beads...

I don't really get why everyone keeps saying Sense 4.0 is more ICS-like when less of it resembles ICS. The app drawer/widget selector on Touchwiz UX is very similar to ICS where in Sense, the widget selector is a ripoff of Touchwiz from the GSII and the app drawer is basically the gingerbread drawer. The multitask window is the more ICS-like in Touchwiz UX than Sense.

Phil,

1) Welcome in advance to New Orleans. Thanks for what you said about Hurricane Katrina. It's so rare to hear any outside of our area talk about it now. There's the 1 day of news stories every year on the anniversary, but it seems like no one outside of New Orleans remembers it at any other time. Although I guess I can't fault them. I had forgotten how devastating Ivan was to your area.

2) I'd love to say, if you want to grab a beer or something while you're in New Orleans, let me know, but between family, work, and everything else, I probably wouldn't be able to find the time. I hope you have a great time while you're here.

3) Did you intend to give everyone a link to your personal Viddler account? Maybe I'm wearing my foil beanie, but it looks like there are some personal videos on there.