GOOGLE’S ANDROID operating system now powers 5m new mobile phones sold worldwide every month. Most of those come from Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, but Sony Ericsson, Motorola and other Android adopters are starting to make inroads. Samsung has launched its Galaxy S, known as the “Vibrant” in the United States, and it just might be the best Android phone we’ve seen.
The I9000 (product code for the Galaxy S) sports a big, 4-inch screen with Samsung’s new super “amoled” technology – and that’s the most impressive thing about the device. The screen is incredibly bright and clear, with high resolution for crisp images that have to be seen to be believed. It’s a touch-screen phone and compares well to the best of its competition, being highly responsive with a silky feel. Its camera is a 5 megapixel affair that also shoots 720p high definition video and, as with the screen, blew me away with its quality.
The only thing I don’t like about the Galaxy S is Samsung’s user interface for the home screen environment, which doesn’t quite live up to HTC’s Touch Sense. Widgets for the home screen on the Galaxy S are a bit awkward and don’t fit neatly on to the display.
Other than that minor niggle, there’s very little to fault the Galaxy S on. It runs Android 2.1 with all the Google good- ness and applications in the Android marketplace that brings. Unfortunately, paid applications aren’t yet available in South Africa; but we’re told that this will change over time.
Samsung has also added its own application store it’s trying to attract developers to, but that’s sparse currently and Galaxy S users will be better served by the official Android Market Place store.
Given the current impressive range of top touch-screen phones – which includes Apple’s iPhone, the HTC Desire and Sony Ericsson’s X10 – it would be hard to pick a clear winner but I wouldn’t hesitate going for the Galaxy S.