updated 01:30 pm EDT, Sun August 28, 2011
Samsung makes LTE Galaxy S II, Tab 8.9 official
Samsung tipped its hand early on some of its smartphone plans for this week with an early Korean unveiling of the newly upgraded Galaxy S II. The new Galaxy S II LTE has not just its namesake 4G and a larger 4.5-inch screen but an even faster, dual-core 1.5GHz Exynos processor to keep it out in front for performance. NFC wireless and a larger 1,850mAh battery (up from 1,650mAh) also freshen the design.
The Galaxy Tab 8.9's months-delayed launch is also rewarding buyers for the wait, Samsung claimed. Along with LTE, it should get the same 1.5GHz dual-core chip as the S II and arrive with Android 3.2 out of the box. In spite of the smaller screen, it should still measure 8.6mm (0.34 inches) thick like the Tab 10.1.
Samsung hasn't given out release dates for the new phone or tablet. In the US, the redesigned Galaxy S II will be part of an August 30 launch and is widely presumed to be shipping to the US in September for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile with respective LTE, WiMAX, and 42Mbps HSPA+ connections providing the 4G-equivalent speeds. The Galaxy Tab 8.9 is presumed to be shipping within several weeks.
The revamp is uncharacteristic for Samsung, which often leaves its flagship smartphones untouched all year. Suspicions already exist that the faster Galaxy S II is a defensive measure against the iPhone 5's rumored October release and seeing the S II's feature lead evaporate when Apple has its own dual-core, possibly larger-screened hardware in stores. It might also be an attempt to circumvent Apple's bans on Galaxy phones in Europe, and potentially in the US, by having a new model in shops.