Samsung Galaxy Preview

Yesterday at 7pm the Samsung Galaxy campaign was launched, with Nitzan Brumer and myself as the first 2 participants. The goal is simple: updating twitter/facebook/both status for 48 hours, at intervals of 30min tops, using the #samsungalaxy tag. The prize: We get to keep the Samsung Galaxy, first Android based phone in Israel. The ‘X-Factor’: various treats to keep us awake and updating. Which means I can sleep, but only for 25min at a time. OR, build a Rubi program that will twit for me…

Either way, I need to find some ‘time-fillers’, so instead of sharing with you how I feel about ‘The 2009 Fall Season‘ or ‘the situation‘, I decided to give a short preview of Samsung’s latest device, that at a first glance has a very good chance of becoming my ‘iPhone Killer‘, unlike Nokia’s N97, which I reviewed only 2 weeks ago.

The good

  • Android is more like iPhone than anything else I’ve seen. It starts with the homepage (3 of them actually), drag-and-drop and device speed (Qualcomm CPU @ 528MHz). There’s definitely a ‘cool-ness effect’ to this phone.
  • Cellcom and Samsung Israel did a great work on the Hebrew interface of the Galaxy. Menus appear as they should, no Bidi mistakes, keyboard layout is also great, very similar to you laptop/pc.
  • Google integration is super – as one should expect from a device running Google OS. Enter your username and password and every piece of data you stored at the G-cloud comes to your phone: Calendar, Contacts, Emails, GTalk, YouTube (you can define the Auto-Sync options). On the other hand – I feel a bit exposed knowing all that data is just ‘sitting’ there…
  • Android Market cannot match Apple’s 65,000 apps, but it’s getting there. Easy to search and navigate, includes ‘My Downloads’ to keep track of your installs and some very cool apps!

The bad

  • The chassis of the Galaxy doesn’t match the iPhone or even N97 standards. It looks cheaper, not as ‘flashy’. The 6 keys at the bottom have no back-light, which makes it somewhat difficult to operate in the dark.
  • I haven’t found a way to ‘Close’ an app. Clicking on ‘Back’ takes you one step back, but the app stays open in the background – consuming battery and 3G/Wi-Fi/GPS.
  • Battery life. Although the device is not small (115x56x11.9mm), and packs an impressive specification, the battery is small. And coupled with the last bullet, working on 3G (wifi is less consuming for some reason) results in about 5 hours – not enough, and quite disappointing.
  • Single ‘notification’ alarm – for anything other than an incoming call. When you enable Twitter/Email/SMS notifications there’s no way of telling the difference – you must check.
  • No front camera for Video-Calls.
  • Camera is ok (5MP, Auto Focus, LED flash), but doesn’t match the N95/97 – in both picture and video quality. Also, I couldn’t find any ‘Zoom’ option when capturing, which is a bit annoying. There’s ‘Crop’ in ‘Gallery’, but why disable ‘Zoom’ to begin with?

The Samsung Galaxy seems like an excellent answer for people looking for a non-iPhone Touchscreen device, that has roughly the same specs, in a less-expensive-Google-packaging. My fiancee liked it better than the N97, not to mention the various apps. The Android Market is definitely the ‘wild-card’ of this phone, and is the ultimate testiment to the power of the community – the variety is huge, and you can find applications to satisfy (almost) any wish.

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9 Responses to “Samsung Galaxy Preview”

  1. 1 yochai August 25, 2009 at 16:30

    There is no native way to "close" an app in android, as it's all java. Memory is handled by garbage collector— when it needs to close an application, it happens automatically. There are a few task manager applications in the market, the best being Advanced Task Manager by arron la. These allow you to close whatever you like.
    I wonder, where did they get the hebrew support? In the US we have to root our phones to replace fonts in order to get hebrew support. Does the galaxy use some part of the "donut" build, or something?

  2. 2 yochai August 25, 2009 at 16:31

    One more thing — there are multiple alarms in android, you simply must set them per app. For example, on the G1 my gmail and sms apps have different notification sounds, each set by the apps themselves.

  3. 3 Dvir Reznik August 25, 2009 at 23:41

    Thanks for the elaborate comment Yochai! I heard there are apps for everything that isn't 'built-in' (much like the iPhone), now I know which app to search for.. 😉
    And thanks for the Alarm thing as well..

    As for the Hebrew, I have no idea. I guess Cellcom did the Hebrew, since they are the sole provider of the Galaxy in Israel. Can try hooking you up with someone from Samsung Israel (or Cellcom, though a bit harder), if you'd like.

    As for the build, don't know what 'donut' is, but that's the info I got from Settings menu:
    Model Number Galaxy
    Firmware Version 1.5
    Baseband Version I7500JIIGC
    Kernel Version 2.6.27
    Build Number 76XXCSDCBALUM6375
    Is that helpful?

  4. 4 yochai August 26, 2009 at 17:31

    Donut is the next iteration of android from google. I am using bits of it on my modified HTC Dream (G1) via the CyanogenMod ROM.
    Regardless, your firmware version is 1.5 "cupcake" edition. Expect an update from google in october or so.
    As per your comment that that iphone has apps to replace built-in applications I'd have to disagree… have you heard what happened with Google Voice? I love the fact that I can completely replace everything, home screen, dialer, etc!
    Thanks for your quick response…

  5. 5 Dvir Reznik August 28, 2009 at 22:23

    Thanks for clarifying Yochai.
    Now that I actually own the Galaxy, will add some Android sites to my RSS list.. 😉 Will keep my eyes open come October.

    My comment about 3rd party apps relates to both iPhone and Galaxy, that help the user feel more comfortable with the device, customizing it by replacing built-on stuff or adding new (like a new dialer/phonebook).

  6. 6 Anonymous September 20, 2009 at 19:17

    so, any news about Hebrew support for thous of us who live outside of israel? and i mean a simple one, without having to dig into the root – it shouldn't be that hard to do, right? this is the only annoying thing in an otherwise great phone(i only need it to be able to read Hebrew websites and mail, writing would be also nice, but not a must for me)

  7. 7 Dvir Reznik September 29, 2009 at 00:02

    I contacted the local Ad agency that run the campaign with your question. Still waiting to hear from Samsung Israel on that matter.

    Will ping them again, it's been a while..

  8. 8 Oleksander October 16, 2009 at 15:37

    Do you know something Sumsung Galaxy updates (patches)


  9. 9 Dvir Reznik October 16, 2009 at 21:50

    No, I haven't.
    Still need to read more about the new OS, 1.6 Donut, and its availability to Galaxy. It will wait for the weekend…

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Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.