The Samsung Galaxy S III comes with a huge number of new features. Packed with services like S Voice and S Beam, the guys over at Samsung made sure its most recent flagship phone will keep users interested for a long time. (We should know, they sent us a 50-page print-out guide for us detailing everything).
One of its most interesting set of features is its four sharing services: AllShare Play, Group Cast, Share Shot, and Buddy Photo Share. Together, they allow you to distribute and view media content across different platforms. Here, I'll take a deeper dive into each.
On the Galaxy S III, AllShare has a nice, simple user interface that lets you easily see the devices you can connect to. Though you have to sign in and create an AllShare account initially (this is a real drag when you want to do something simple at first, like share photos among two phones), its a neat service to have. Especially since it's linked intrinsically to Group Cast.
After, choose "Send File" in the pull down menu on the right. Another dialogue box will open up with several sending options. When you choose Group Cast, the handset will prompt you to create a PIN that users will have to enter in order to join on the Group Cast.
Once you create one, your Group Cast will start. If you want to join a session, open AllShare Play, click on the menu key, and select "Join Group Cast." Once in, every member who can see the presentation can control the screen by flipping through file pages, or annotate the file with fading pen strokes.
In the bizarre case that everyone in your boardroom ends up owning a Samsung Galaxy S III (which will never happen unless you're at Samsung HQ), Group Cast is a neat service. However, the presentation can get pretty confusing when there are many active people involved. There should be an option that lets the original creator lock out everyone else's actions.
When all your friends are connected, you can select (or accept, if you're not the one setting up the Share Shot session), the devices you want to connect with. Then voila -- as long as you stay on Share Shot mode (choosing another mode will end the session) and remain 100 yards from each other, you and your friends can simultaneously collect all the photos you guys take individually. Photos you take during Share Shot will be saved to a separate Share Shot album, and received pictures will be saved in an album called RECV.
Share Shot is a great idea, and I think it's fantastic that you can be at the same event, and instantaneously see the many different viewpoints your friends are experiencing from their pictures. However, setting a session up was confusing, and it wasn't intuitively clear how I could get back into a Share Shot session once I left.
Buddy Photo Share
Once a contact is in the database, pictures taken of this person will be tagged automatically. You can then send photos to the person with just a few clicks on the screen.
During my experience with the service, Buddy Photo Share's recognition software worked most of the time, though not every time (it failed to recognize numerous pictures of fellow CNET editor Eric Franklin as the same person). Also, the tags are a bit obtrusive. Sometimes, you just want to view some nice photo of your friends without a bright square around their faces and a grey label imposed on their bodies. Given the tagging/Facebook online world we live in, however, tagging friends through your camera phone is nifty.