Purported press image of the Samsung Galaxy S3 to be launched May 3, 2012 in London.
Purported press image of the Samsung Galaxy S3 to be launched May 3, 2012 in London.

Arguably the biggest Android handset launch of the year will take place tomorrow in London where Samsung will take the wraps off its hugely anticipated Galaxy S3. The sequel to the best-selling S2 (Feb. 2011) is widely believed to be the strongest competitor to the Apple iPhone. With the announcement, Samsung could be in a position to take market-share ahead of the iPhone 5 which should bow this fall.

Much like we’ve seen in advance of Apple reveals, there’s been a non-stop litany of rumors, out-of-focus spy shots, and insider documents.

Here’s what we think we know about the Samsung Galaxy S3:

  • The S3 could have a 4.8-inch 16:9 screen (seems odd to me this one given most of its rivals are around 4.6-inches)
  • Verizon is the likely US carrier
  • Unfortunately, as we’re seeing with the HTC One X, the US variant is likely to be dual-core (Qualcomm MSM8960 S4 Snapdragon processor) – a technical limitation resulting from LTE compatibility
  • Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 (not much of a stretch this one)
  • Expect 1280×720 resolution
  • Tipsters indicate the phone will feature a physical home button, flanked by the usual Android capacitive menu/back buttons (I prefer the virtual softkeys seen on the Galaxy Nexus)
  • Cameras: 12MP rear, 2MP front
  • Ceramic case (could be good!)
  • 2250mAh battery ( how long will it last?)
  • Also: wireless charging? (I’m surprised this is not already mainstream… who knew the Palm Pre would be so far ahead of its time?!)

Any and all of this could be off target. Aside from the final specs, other questions remain, including the date the S3 will  be available in the US.

Also, will this be enough?

Will a slightly upgraded version of the S2 – which the S3 looks to be so far on paper – be enough to (a) woo would-be iPhone buyers who would otherwise hold off for the iPhone 5; (b) keep the Samsung faithful from jumping ship to HTC; and (c) prevent Microsoft from siphoning sales away from Android with its escalating Windows Phone/Nokia push?

If its predecessor is any indicator, the S3 could be another big sales success for Samsung – especially when the uber Android hits Stateside. A new wave of flagship Androids hasn’t landed here since the Nexus and RAZR models we saw late last year and into Q1 2012. Manufacturers have suggested they’d scale back the number of Android handsets they introduce, choosing (wisely) instead to put significant marketing and technical prowess behind each launch (a la Apple). The decidedly bleak period between about February of this year to now — with exactly zero new flagship smartphones landing in T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T stores — could mean significant pent up demand for something like the Galaxy S3 (or HTC One X). Then there’s the hold-off-ers, like me, who are still on OG Droids (Nov. 2009). We passed on Nexus and RAZR, hoped for quad-core at CES and MWC, then begrudgingly waited and waited for the next big thing. Is the S3 the ticket?

Here’s an official teaser video (or, as I see it: an ad for After Effects with a weak climax):