Next-gen Samsung Galaxy S II unveiled

Samsung's next Galaxy S phone will feature a dual-core processor and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Find out more here.

Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II Bonnie Cha/CNET

BARCELONA, Spain--As promised , Samsung unveiled its next-generation Galaxy S smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2011 today.

Dubbed the Samsung Galaxy S II, the handset improves on its predecessor in a number of ways. First, you've got the addition of a dual-core processor. We were originally told by the company that it was using Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset but were later informed that it was Samsung's own chip; unfortunately, further details were not provided at the event but generally speaking you should see faster performance and graphics.

It also runs the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but unlike the Nexus S, the Galaxy S II will feature Samsung's custom TouchWiz user interface.

Given the delay with updates being pushed out to the current Galaxy S portfolio, we're sure this news will make some groan. However, TouchWiz 4.0 offers added functionality, including the three new hubs--Game, Music, and Reader--so users can download more content to their smartphones. The Games hub will be powered by Gameloft, and the Music hub will be run by 7Digital. The Reader hub will come from different providers and includes access to 2.2 million books, 2,000 global and local newspapers, and 2,300 magazines.

You'll still get your social-networking feeds through the Social hub (now Social Hub Premium), but you'll also be able to see your communications history, IM status, and reach your contacts via SMS, e-mail, etc., all from one place.

Though there's a social and multimedia aspect to the device, Samsung has also worked to make it a more business-friendly smartphone. As a result, the Galaxy S II includes on-device encryption and support for Cisco's mobile solutions for VoIP calls, VPN, and virtual desktop.

Design-wise, the Galaxy S II features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touch screen with a WVGA 480x800-pixel resolution. Samsung's Super AMOLED screens already provided one of the richest viewing experiences on a smartphone, but the Super AMOLED Plus adds 50 percent more subpixels, and we certainly noticed a crisper, smoother picture, and colors popped off the screen.

The general design is like other touch-screen smartphones we've seen, but Samsung loves claiming to have the world's thinnest or smallest products, so we weren't surprised to hear it call the Galaxy S II the "world's thinnest smartphone." Having seen it in person, we can say it is incredibly thin. It measures 4.93 inches tall by 2.6 inches wide by 0.33 inch thick and weighs 4.09 ounces.

Like the previous generation, the Galaxy S II has a plastic build, but Samsung added a textured back, so at least the smartphone doesn't feel as slick this time around. You can get a closer look at the device in our hands-on photo gallery below.

Other notable highlights of the Galaxy S II include an 8-megapixel camera and front-facing 2-megapixel camera, 1080p HD video recording and playback, option for NFC connectivity, HSPA+ support, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Samsung says it currently has no plans for a CDMA version of the phone at this time.

The Galaxy S II is expected to ship to Europe and Asia in February, but no word on U.S. availability or pricing at this time. In addition to the Galaxy S II, Samsung also introduced the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which will debut worldwide this spring.

 

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