Who really uses the phone parts of phones these days? Not us, that's for sure. Give us a Web-enabled device and we're as happy as Larry, emailing, instant messaging and tweeting without all that bothersome speech malarkey. Samsung clearly sees which way the wind is blowing -- the freshly announced Galaxy S WiFi 4.0 is a personal-media-player version of the rampantly successful Samsung Galaxy S smart phone.
The idea's quite simple -- the WiFi 4.0 is essentially a smart phone without the phone part. What you're left with is an Android device that will let you play games, use apps, watch videos and browse the Web, but not make phone calls, unless you use a VoIP service. It's basically an Android version of the iPod touch.
The WiFi 4.0 will hit the UK in late 2011 for a currently undisclosed price. Following our hands-on session at Mobile World Congress, here are our first impressions.
Looks like a phone, smells like a phone...
You'd be forgiven for mistaking the WiFi 4.0 for a smart phone. With a chrome trim, slim profile and lightweight chassis, it bears an astonishing likeness to the Galaxy S or Galaxy S 2. The front of the device is slathered in glossy black, while the back is bright white. On the front, just below the display, there's a big 'home' button, with menu and back buttons stuck on either side.
The 4-inch display has a resolution of 800x480 pixels. While it looks clear and bright, it's not a Super AMOLED screen, as found on the Galaxy S and Galaxy S 2.
Instead it's an LCD display -- a 'Super Clear LCD' to use Samsung's terminology -- so the WiFi 4.0's screen might not look quite as majestic as those of its smart-phone brethren. Still, it looked pretty good to us, and here's hoping that a slightly less eye-melting display will shave a few pounds off the total cost. On the back, there's a 3.2-megapixel camera.
The WiFi 4.0 runs Android 2.2 Froyo. That's not the latest version of Android, but it's still rollicking good fun. For instance, you'll be able to browse thousands of apps in the Android Market, fill your home screen with beautiful widgets, and enjoy Flash video in the browser. Flash support is still lacking on the iPhone. A 1GHz processor keeps everything ticking along cheerfully.
We have some concerns, though. The fact that 'WiFi' is part of the product name indicates that this device will have Wi-Fi connectivity but not 3G. If you're away from a hotspot or your home network, you won't be able to browse, download or update anything. That's not a deal-breaker, though, as a lack of 3G support would help to make this device cheaper than its smart-phone brethren.
A pleasing touch is that Samsung will preload the WiFi 4.0 with Skype and Qik Plus for VoIP calling and video chat respectively.
We're excited about the prospect of Samsung taking a pop at the iPod touch with the Galaxy S WiFi 4.0. We have our fingers crossed that it will be better than the Samsung Galaxy Player 50.
Edited by Charles Kloet