updated 12:00 pm EDT, Thu June 17, 2010
Samsung Captivate ports Galaxy S to US
AT&T signaled a much more serious commitment to Android today by unveiling the Captivate. It serves as a very close port of the Galaxy S and centers on its four-inch Super AMOLED display; by merging the display and touch into one layer, it's not only thinner but is much more visible outdoors than usual AMOLED screens. The screen also provides a better venue for multi-touch as well as the camera's five-megapixel photos and 720p recording.
The phone still runs on a Samsung-created 1GHz Hummingbird processor that gives it both the expected repsonsiveness as well as fast 3D graphics and even some 3D sound. An 802.11n Wi-Fi link and Bluetooth 3.0 are also uncommon. About 16GB of storage is built-in, but a microSDHC slot allows at least double the capacity.
In a tweak to Apple, Samsung noted the phone will have both an accelerometer and a gyroscope to help with gaming that supports it.
Android 2.1 is standard and is customized to add Samsung's own Social Hub, which here not only merges contacts and all forms of messaging but AT&T's web-based Address Book service. DLNA media sharing support is unique as well. The Captivate comes preloaded with Swype's higher-speed touchscreen keyboard and will also have GPS-aware AT&T apps, including its subscription Navigator and child-focused Family Map.
AT&T hasn't said whether it will continue to block non-Market Android apps on the phone.
Launch details are vague for the phone, as AT&T only says that it will have the phone in "coming months" and without a price. In spite of the timing, the Captivate represents AT&T's first truly high-end Android phone and a sign the company is preparing for a time when it may not have the iPhone as a US exclusive; it has been one of the slowest adopters of Android and so far has just the Motorola Backflip and the imminent HTC Aria, neither of which has features comparable to the iPhone 4.