Samsung was not exactly paralyzed by its big loss in the patent lawsuit brought against it by Apple. It is moving forward by, among other things, introducing its first smartphone to run Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system.
At IFA, Germany’s equivalent of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung unveiled the ATIV S, which is expected to be available in late October. News reports say Oct. 29 is the release date for Windows Phone 8, but that Microsoft hasn’t confirmed that.
Ben Rudolph, director of the Windows Phone experiential marketing program at Microsoft, wrote about the ATIV S on the Windows Phone blog. Rudolph made a point of describing new and unique design features of the Samsung smartphone, which may or may not have been intended to discourage Apple patent lawyers who may be scouring the phone’s specifications for signs of infringement.
The ATIV S is “crazy-thin,” Rudolph notes, at 8.7 millimeters, noticeably thinner than other Samsung smartphones pictured side-by-side on his post. Also, he goes into detail about the design of the bezel, the frame around the Gorilla Glass cover over the 4.8-inch AMOLED screen. The design of the bezel on Samsung phones figured prominently in the Apple trial.
“Samsung made the bezel of the ATIV S an oblong hemisphere,” Rudolph wrote. “In English that means that the bezel actually bulges out slightly, then tapers more acutely to the back. This makes the ATIV extremely comfortable to hold and keeps your fingers off the screen when it’s in your hand.” Translation: the ATIV S doesn’t look or feel like an iPhone.
Samsung has been building phones running both the Google Android OS and Windows Phone 7, but the ATIV S is the first Samsung model that will run Windows Phone 8. Unveiling it at the IFA in Germany means Samsung got the jump on Nokia, which has partnered with Microsoft to make Windows Phone the only OS to run on its units, replacing its Symbian operating system.
Other specifications of the ATIV S include a 1.5 gigahertz (GHz) dual-core processor, 1 gigabyte (GB) of onboard random-access memory (RAM), an 8 megapixel (MP) autofocus rear camera and 1.9MP front-facing camera. The phone will offer two choices for memory, 16GB or 32GB, and include a MicroSD slot for additional storage.
On Aug. 24, a jury in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., handed down a series of verdicts against Samsung, finding that it had violated six different Apple patents for the iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer. The jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, but Samsung plans to appeal.
Apple has presented the court with a list of eight Samsung devices still on the market that it says should be banned from sales in the U.S. A hearing on the requested injunctions will be scheduled for sometime this fall in San Jose.
Kevin Restivo, a senior research analyst with IDC, says that depending on how long that part of the case drags on, it may be a moot point whether they should be banned. Many of those phones will likely be withdrawn from the market on their own as new devices, like the ATIV S, are introduced. He said the typical shelf life for a phone model is nine to 12 months.