Samsung plans to unveil the Galaxy S3, the next version of its flagship phone, on May 3, but while it's better than the iPhone in every way, it isn't a threat to Apple... yet.
"Come and meet the next Galaxy," the invitation to journalists read, all but ensuring the S3's launch event. The South Korean electronics giant has yet to announce details, but circulated specifications hint at more powerful hardware.
For instance, the Galaxy S3 is widely-reported to offer a ceramic shell, rather than plastic, giving it a higher-quality feel -- essential to matching the iPhone's glass casing.
In addition, the Galaxy S3 comes with a higher-quality "Super-HD" AMOLED display, with a 1,280 by 720 pixel resolution at 319 pixels per inch -- a significant boost over the S2's 800 by 480 resolution and 217 pixel density, and noticeably better than the iPhone's 960 by 640 pixel resolution.
Powered by a quad-core A9-based chipset, the S3 also runs at a blazing 1.8-gigahertz, more than twice the speed of the iPhone's 800-megabytes, while Android 4.0 software, dubbed "Ice Cream Sandwich," ensures consumers get the latest Google offerings.
And don't be surprised if Samsung adds a massive 12-megapixel rear camera with a 2-megapixel front-facing lens for video chat. Last year, the company's imaging team hinted that it was working on a 16-megapixel sensor.
On paper, the S3's hardware trumps the iPhone -- benefiting from a later release date. But hardware alone isn't enough to guarantee smartphone success.
The S3 is on track to top Android sales, but as smartphones evolve, software will continue to overtake hardware in importance. Much as PCs transitioned to programs and software, from motherboards and processors, over the last decade, the battle between Google's Android platform and Apple's iOS system, and their respective app ecosystems, will dictate what consumers choose to buy.
Smartphones are getting "fast enough." And the real question of the Galaxy S3's success will hinge on the advances in Android 5.0, dubbed "Jelly Bean," not 4.0. The S3 is the cream of the Android crop due to its hardware. But it won't draw iPhone owners until Google beefs up its software.