Welcome to our weekly roundup of the week's mobile and tablet headlines. This week saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the LG Optimus LTE2, Apple's quiet upgrade to the iPad 2, and a newly leaked Windows Phone from Samsung. All this and more after the break!
If you haven't heard, one of the biggest Android smartphones of the year was launched on Thursday: The Samsung Galaxy S III. Featuring specifications that best its nearest competitor, the HTC One X, and a number of unique human-centric, nature-inspired software features, the Galaxy S III looks like an incredibly strong candidate for phone of the year already.
Let's have a quick look at the tech specs: The phone features a 4.8" Super AMOLED display running at 1280 x 720, a quad-core Exynos 4412 processor at 1.4 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, a 2100 mAh battery (with optional wireless charging) and Android 4.0.
Of course, LG weren't about to let Samsung hog the Android spotlight. On the same day as the Galaxy S III's announcement, LG announced their own superphone: The LG Optimus LTE2. The phone will feature a 720p IPS display (no Pentile here!), 2 GB of RAM (a first for a smartphone), wireless charging, Android 4.0 and a 2150 mAh battery. The phone looks surprisingly strong despite the low-key nature of its announcement, making this one definitely one to watch.
If you're looking to buy a low cost Android smartphone, then this next bit of news might interest you. Orange has opened pre-orders on its Orange Santa Clara smartphone - the first Intel powered smartphone to launch in the UK.
Despite costing about as much as an Orange San Francisco, the Santa Clara comes with some fairly beastly specifications - an Intel Atom processor running at 1.6 GHz, a 4" display at 1024 x 600, an 8 megapixel camera and 16 GB of internal memory. That Intel processor is a powerful beast indeed, besting the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in many benchmarks, making the Santa Clara an incredibly fetching proposition.
While the iPad 3 (or 'new iPad') is the big tablet on the block for Apple at the moment, they've also released a quiet update to their iPad 2 line.
Called the iPad 2,4, this wifi-only iPad features a new 32 nanometer system-on-chip that improves battery life and heat performance - you can see the size difference versus other Apple chips in the graphic to the left. In a number of Anandtech benchmarks, we see that the iPad 2,4 runs about 15% - 40% longer than its predecessor - quite impressive!
Unfortunately, it's difficult to know whether you've got a new iPad 2 or not - the only way is to run a utility like Geekbench, Linpack or Battery Life Pro. The units are in short supply at the moment and have only been found in the United States, but should become more prevalent as stock of the existing iPad 2,1 units are exhausted.
There was another interesting titbit of Apple news this week - Apple and Samsung get 99% of the profits from selling handsets worldwide. Apple alone got 73 pence of every pound made in profit through handset sales. That may sound a bit impossible, but it makes sense when given RIM, Motorola, Nokia, Sony and LG have all been losing money on their handset sales.
Finally, good news for Apple fans in the tablet space. Research firm IDC has reported that Apple made up 68% of tablet sales in the first quarter of 2012, up from 54.7% of the market in the last quarter of 2011.
There's not been much Windows Phone news this week - sorry folks.
One of the few bits of noteworthy news was the leak of an alleged Samsung Mandel LTE Windows Phone for AT&T in the US. The Mandel will reportedly come with a white chassis, 8 GB of internal storage and a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash. Presumably it'll launch soon in the US, where it should occupy a similar part of the market to HTC's Radar and Noki'a Lumia 710.
Finally, Microsoft has announced that it will hold a Windows Phone Developer Summit in San Francisco this summer, from June 20th to June 21st. The conference will hope to attract developers to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform, through running workshops and holding keynotes with speakers like bombastic Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Like Apple's rather more famous Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), we can also expect some more general purpose announcements and news from the event, which we'll bring to you in due course.
So that's all folks - in a week dominated by the launch of two massive Android smartphones, there wasn't much to show from Apple and Microsoft. Ah well, you can't have everything - I'm sure we'll resume normal service next week, so be sure to tune in then.
As always, thanks for reading and be sure to let me know what you thought in the comments below - I'd love to hear from you. Until next time, farewell!
This article was written by William Judd. Will is a freelance technology writer, with a Twitter you should follow and a website you should visit. He's also recently had a haircut.