Samsung Galaxy S II Aims to Raise Bar for Google Android

Samsung's Galaxy S II aims to not only raise the bar for Google Android devices but offer significant competition to the upcoming Apple iPhone 5.

Samsung might find itself in a legal brawl with Apple over alleged patent infringement, but the manufacturer still seems determined to take on the iPhone in the one place that ultimately matters: store shelves. The Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone, due to arrive in the United States on three carriers in September, offers the sort of high-end specs that could make it a significant competitor to not only Apple's upcoming iPhone 5, but also establish it as a standout Google Android device.

The Samsung Galaxy S II smartphone runs Android 2.3, "skinned" with the manufacturer's TouchWiz interface, which distinguishes it from other devices on the market running Google's software. It includes a 4.3-inch "Super AMOLED Plus" screen, fronted with ultra-tough Gorilla Glass, 16GB of onboard memory (expandable via microSD to 32GB), and two cameras-eight megapixels for the rear one, 2-megapixel in the front. A 1.2GHz dual-core processor powers the applications.

The device will make its debut on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile starting in September. Samsung is offering a variety of content hubs, including a Social Hub, Readers Hub, Music Hub and Game Hub.

While Samsung is angling its Galaxy franchise toward the consumer segment, the company also has an eye on the enterprise, entering into a partnership with VMWare to bring virtual desktops to mobile devices. The two companies will work to integrate VMware Horizon Mobile with Samsung smartphones, with could allow enterprise IT pros to manage employees' mobile email, applications, and other data. This has significant security implications for the mobile-enterprise space. The collaboration will extend to VMware View 5 on the manufacturer's devices, giving the latter access to data from a centralized infrastructure.

The announcement of that partnership comes at a time when Android devices, along with the iPhone, are gaining greater traction within the enterprise. The Galaxy S II offers some built-in productivity applications, notably QuickOffice, as well as access to the growing Android Marketplace.

The original Galaxy S supposedly sold some 10 million units in the United States last year, and the Galaxy S II-already on the market in Korea and other countries-seems on track to produce similar numbers even before it debuts on these shores. In the meantime, Samsung continues to push its Galaxy Tab tablet, in an obvious bid to create a device ecosystem that competes with Apple's iOS.

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