Samsung has added the Grand, a new midrange smartphone, to its Android-running Galaxy lineup. At a glance, it strongly resembles the Galaxy S III, though Grand features a larger, though lower-resolution display—a 5-inch WVGA TFT LCD compared with the 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED on the Galaxy S III—and will be available in a dual Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) version.
The dual SIM model will begin shipping first, Samsung said in a Dec. 18 blog post—though it didn't add when that would be—with the single SIM version arriving later.
The Grand runs Android 4.1.2, the latest version of Jelly Bean, and comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. An 8-megapixel camera on the back offers full HD video recording, and a 2-megapixel HD camera is up front.
At 143.5-by-76.9-by-9.6mm and 162 grams, the Grand is larger, wider, thicker and heavier than the Galaxy S III, which measures 136.6-by-80.6-by-8.6mm and weighs 133 grams. These proportions, along with the dual-SIM capability, suggest Samsung is targeting developing markets. Pricing, which is likely to be lower than for the Galaxy S III, was left out of the announcement.
When it comes to features, however, the smartphones are sure cousins. The Grand, like the GS III, has Direct Call—the ability for the phone to recognize that being lifted to the ear means the user would like to call the person whose information or text message is on the screen.
Smart Alerts quickly point out missed calls or messages as soon as a user picks up the device, shaking the phone can trigger status updates, and S Voice capabilities enable users to control the phone with voice commands. AllShare Play makes it possible to share content with other Samsung devices, and the Popup Video feature lets a user run video in the corner, on top of another application.
Samsung Hubs, which deliver on-demand movies, games and music, are also preloaded.
The dual SIM model will enable users to manage two phone numbers from one device, even receiving calls from one number while talking on the other.
"Dual SIM also offers the flexibility of selecting different billing plans for either SIM," Samsung officials said in the announcement.
It allows users to switch between the SIMs to make the most of cheaper call and data plans, the company reported.
Samsung this year became the world's leading seller of smartphones and mobile phones, and helped to increase the difference between Android's share of the smartphone market and Apple's.
Android's No. 1 global market is now China, where one-third of the world's Android phones were sold in 2012, Informa Telecom & Media announced in a Dec. 18 report. Android powered two-thirds of the phones sold in China this year, it added.
Samsung is the top-selling brand in China, IDC announced Dec. 7. During the third quarter, Samsung's smartphone shipments to China "reached a record high and broke past the 60 million units mark," IDC wrote in report, noting that the figure was more than three times the number of PCs that shipped to the country during the quarter.
Apple, Samsung's main competition in the United States, fell to sixth place in the rankings, which were established before the iPhone 5's Dec. 14 arrival. Lenovo, Coolpad, ZTE and Huawei, respectively, filled out the top-five list for the Chinese market.