In the mobile industry, we are always looking ahead, trying to predict what might happen next or what a new device will entail before it ever even becomes official. In most cases, rumors don't fully pan out. The new iPad, for instance, is a great example of this. While it didn't really miss on any major marks, the new iPad doesn't have every feature we thought it would. And, most importantly, Apple didn't follow the naming convention we expected they would. Instead of the iPad 3 like everyone just knew it would be, Apple simply called it "The new iPad."
A better example may be the iPhone 5, which we knew had to be an iPhone with a larger display, new design, faster processor, etc. The iPhone 5, as we should have seen coming from a mile away, turned out to be the lowly iPhone 4S, a small, evolutionary bump to the iPhone 4.
Just because some rumors are wrong and devices don't make it to market as we had hoped or as rumors had us believe, though, doesn't mean we (as consumers, not news reporters) will – or should, for that matter – stop. It's still fun to look ahead and to sift through piles of rumors to beat official announcements and press releases to the punch.
But the ever-increasing number of rumors of future devices has some serious side effects. Often, specifications get exaggerated, expectations soar and when the device is finally made official and the cat is out of the bag, disappointment sets in. Device after device becomes a victim of its own hype.
Right now, the mystery device that is frequenting headlines more than any other is the Galaxy S III. Just over the past week, there have been more leaks and rumors that I care to count. But what's worse are how outlandish the rumored specifications are becoming.
First is the display. Several rumors from multiple sources are pointing to a 4.8-inch 1080p display on the Galaxy S III. Being Samsung's next flagship line, I highly doubt they would release it without Super AMOLED on board. Their displays alone have gathered a huge following, despite using the love-or-hate PenTile Matrix subpixel layout in their most recent HD displays. But we have just recently started seeing Samsung use 720p and WXGA Super AMOLED panels. Looking at this from a realistic standpoint, it could be a long time before we see a jump to 1080p in any phone ... if ever. Devices with 720p resolution displays, even at 4.8-inches, offer a pixels per inch count of over 300. Bump that to 1080p and you're looking at over 450 pixels per inch. Not only is that absurd, it's unnecessary and far beyond what the eye can even distinguish. It would only make for larger application downloads, place more strain on the CPU and GPU and raise costs. In short, 1080p just doesn't seem very likely. Or necessary, for that matter, until you jump to a much larger display size.
The other bit that has been circling recently is the possibility of a quad-core Exynos SoC. By no means am I saying it isn't possible; the Exynos 4412 chip exists. But when I was at CES in January, I went to a private Exynos showcase. There, we were given a few demos and upcoming information on Exynos SoCs, and we were allowed to ask some questions. The subject of a quad-core Exynos in phones was mentioned and quickly shot down by the person giving the demo. He said their focus was not yet on quad-core phones. I'm aware that things change or that the guy could have been avoiding the real answer to throw us off of their trail for a while. But I won't believe word of a quad-core Exynos with built-in LTE in the Galaxy S III until I hear it come directly from Samsung. I have a feeling they will debut it in a tablet first. But hey, I've been wrong before.
And, lastly, the latest rumor to surface comes by way of Reddit, where the friend of a Samsung employee in a "respectable position" was sent a blurrycam picture of the Galaxy S III. Aside from the picture of what appears to be a photoshopped image of a Galaxy S II on a computer monitor, the friend of the Samsung employee claims the device will come with two launchers: vanilla ICS and TouchWiz. In more detail:
"It will possibly have two optional launchers, ICS with touchwiz [sic] overlay and vanilla ICS. They [Samsung] aren’t 100 percent sure if they will stick with touchwiz [sic] or have the dual launcher option. If they go dual, you will have the option of picking which one to use at startup, and you can change any time."
Sounds familiar, no? This is exactly what I have been saying should be possible for nearly a year now – and I've been thinking it for a lot longer. While I would love nothing more than this to come to fruition, I have a hard time believing it actually will.
Everything I have heard or read about the Galaxy S III to date seems too good to be true. And what I've learned from just a few short years in this business, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But what's more important that debunking a few rumors on what we believe is or isn't possible, is looking at how all smartphone manufacturers have dealt new devices in the past. This Galaxy S III would be a major upgrade over the Galaxy S II, in almost every respect – a bigger upgrade than most successors ever are.
The problem with all of this is that, like I said before, expectations will soar. People will – and already do – expect the Galaxy S III to be some sort of super device, with mind-blowing specifications and a super slim chassis. I hate to sound so negative about the whole thing, but I have a feeling a lot of people will be disappointed when the S III only comes with a faster clock speed on the latest Exynos chip or a 720p Super AMOLED display. I really hope it touts some monster specs, but I'm definitely not holding my breath.
What say you, ladies and gents? Will the Galaxy S III be a revolutionary device from Samsung? Will it feature all of the rumored specifications, like a dual-launcher, quad-core Exynos and a 1080p display? Or will it simply be an evolutionary update to the super popular S II line? My vote goes to the latter.
Image via Redmond Pie