Just over a year ago, I sat at a breakfast meeting in Barcelona, eager to see the latest from Samsung. A few months earlier, the manufacturer had released the Galaxy S series on the four nationwide carriers in the United States, and the demand for Samsung's Android smartphones was increasing. This was their chance to strike it big in the Android game. And strike it big they did. On February 14th, Samsung announced the Galaxy S II, the Android device that catapulted Samsung to the top of the charts and spawned the Galaxy S II Skyrocket and iconic Samsung Galaxy Note.
I just landed in London, slightly sleep deprived (thanks to a busy two weeks of travel) and eager to see what Samsung has up their sleeves for their Unpacked media event, taking place tonight (May 3) at 7:00 PM. For those not keeping count, that's 2:00 PM Eastern, 1:00 PM Central, and 11:00 AM Pacific. You're welcome.
The stakes are high for Samsung, a company that has moved from bottom of the pack to leader of the Android smartphone race in two short years. HTC has regrouped and launched the One series, and they're solid handsets that have a lot of great features. LG's working on the Viper for Sprint, and Motorola's busy making more versions of the DROID RAZR. I kid, I kid. Maybe. I don't know. But seriously, between Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola, Android devices are a dime a dozen, and pack a varying range of features, depending on what's most important to the individual user. Samsung has to step up the game a bit.
To this day, I'll pick up a Samsung Galaxy S II (the Exynos version, that is) before other Android phones, as I've never found any other device to be as fluid. It had some minor issues - a weak battery that took too long to charge, for one - but it provided the user experience that Android so desperately needed. It was what I then coined to myself as another HTC EVO 4G moment; much like HTC's Android powerhouse, it was a game-changing device that seemingly had it all. As I sat in the media pre-briefing that morning, I remember thumbing my way through the phone, amazed at the performance.
But Samsung can take their game to the next level yet again and create the same jaw-dropping phenomenon, if they announce this properly. I'm hoping for a new smartphone, with an Exynos processor (fully acknowledging that the US variant of the device will have a Snapdragon S4), 4G LTE capabilities, and a large battery that'll allow the average user to make it through at least a day without recharging. An ample amount of internal storage would be nice too.
It has to be a flagship unit in every way possible, and it has to come to the US market faster. Announced in February 2011, we didn't see the fruits of Samsung's Galaxy S II labor until September. Seven months was too long then, but it's especially too long now. The product cycle is moving entirely too fast for Samsung to wait, and if we're dealing with a four to six month hold, it'll run the risk of throwing itself into obsolescence.
Whether it's smartphones, tablets, or something else, I'll be live on location, covering it for you as the news breaks. I'll have hands-on coverage, commentary, and more, and I hope you'll join me at 7:00 PM BST/2:00 PM EST/11:00 AM Pacific as I liveblog the Unpacked event itself. It's going to be a wild ride, so stay tuned!