New Samsung Galaxy S II Takes On HTC & Motorola

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Samsung Australia has launched a new more powerful and faster version of its successful Galaxy S smartphone, now featuring an even brighter and slightly bigger Super AMOLED screen and – among a bundle of pre-installed apps – a free full-scale version of Navigon’s GPS turn-by-turn navigation software.

All three major mobile carriers – Optus, Telstra and VHA – will offer the new model, with Optus set to be first with an early June launch, followed by Telstra in July.The pricey now phone will compete head on with the HTC Desire and the Motorola Atrix which has similar speed to the Galaxy S II  which lacks the latest Android OS.

Outright purchase price is a recommended $899. Optus plans will start at zero upfront and $79 a month. Telstra and VHA have yet to reveal pricing.

The new model had its first airing at an all-night media event at the Sydney Hilton, beginning at 4.30pm yesterday, and ending for some after breakfast today.

The new model is – at 8.49mm – stunningly thin and light: more so even than the Apple iPhone 4 which it closely rivals – closely enough that it is the subject of a US court case in which Apple is claiming Samsung “slavishly copied” the iPhone design (CDN, yesterday).

It’s powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor which Samsung Oz’s communications VP Tyler McGee promises delivers blisteringly fast responses – and Telstra says will be even faster on its HSPA+ network in capital cities and “selected” areas.

The new mobile has a super-bright and colourful 4.3-inch screen, and an 8MP camera capable of recording full HD video as well as a 2MP front-facing camer. It runs under the Gingerbread version 2.3 of Android.

The pre-installed Navigon app displays parking options as a driver nears a destination; free map updates for Australia and NZ are promised every three months.

Also pre-installed is a trial version of Fairfax’s Sydney and Melbourne Good Food Guides. – David Frith

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