Samsung announced LTE (long-term evolution) editions of its Galaxy S II smartphone and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet computers, claiming potential download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and uploads of 50Mbps. The phone also upgrades to a 4.5 display and eight megapixel camera, while the slate weighs only a pound and is just over a third of inch thick, the company says.
Samsung's Aug. 28 announcement out of Korea did not cite pricing or carrier specifics, and the company's new LTE editions may not be headed to the U.S. right away. That's because Verizon is the country's only major LTE provider — and said last week it won't be offering an LTE-equipped Galaxy S.
Samsung's LTE-equipped Galaxy S II (left) and Galaxy Tab 8.9 (right)
(Click to enlarge)
Thus, the LTE-infused Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet will apparently reach European customers first. Carriers and pricing details are expected to emerge at the IFA Berlin show, which begins Sept. 2.
Samsung says the LTE versions of the Galaxy S II smartphone and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablet computer will be able to download files at speeds of up to 100Mbps, and theoretical upload speeds of 50Mbps. The company said such prime data-shuttling speeds will yield downloads of full films in less than two minutes.
Samsung claims the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 8.9 devices powered by LTE will also provide better experience for games, including 3D video graphics, video chats and other multimedia applications that require the distillation of a lot of data packets.
The Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" Galaxy S II LTE phone offers some other improvements over its 3G predecessor, which sold more than five million units in less than three months in Korea, Japan and Europe.
While the 3G device includes 4.3-inch screens powered by 1.2 GHz processors, the Galaxy S II LTE handset includes a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display and is powered by an (as-yet-unspecified) 1.5 GHz dual-core processor. The smartphone also has an eight megapixel camera, capturing HD photos and video.
The Tab 8.9 LTE version, whose display resolution is 1200 by 800 pixels, offers features that are similar to the existing 8.9 model. The slate features Samsung's TouchWiz user interface and is super-lightweight, weighing only 1 pound and measuring just 0.34 inches thick.
Samsung is set for a busy week. While preparing to further detail its LTE devices at IFA, the company is also set to unveil the much-anticipated U.S versions of the Galaxy S II in New York City Tuesday, Aug. 30.
It is expected Samsung will show off Galaxy S II models from AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The phone maker is counting on these carriers to push the phone ahead of Apple's iPhone 5 gearing up for a launch in September or October.
Samsung's Manhattan event was planned for Monday, but was postponed to Tuesday due to Hurricane Irene, which whacked the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Aug. 28.
J. K. Shin, president and head of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business, stated, "With the introduction of Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE, we will take the capabilities of these devices to a whole new level. LTE redefines the user experience made possible by these devices and opens entirely new possibilities in terms of content viewing, sharing, quality and connectivity."
Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.
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