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Samsung unveils Galaxy S III (live blog)

The company says the Galaxy S III is "a human phone that understands you," sporting a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, an 8-megapixel camera, and a plastic display.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
8 min read
Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung is unveiling the Galaxy S III today. Aloysius Low/CNET

Update at 11:30 a.m. PT: Samsung has introduced the Galaxy S III. Check out our first take here. Unveiled at an event in London today, the smartphone sports a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display, an 8-megapixel camera, and a plastic display. Calling the device "a human phone that understands you," the company also said the S III is intelligent enough to recognize your individual voice and face. Samsung will release the device in Europe this month, followed by other regions. An LTE version of the phone is expected to come to the U.S. this summer. Please scroll down for an edited transcript of the live blog.

Samsung will take the wraps off its latest Samsung Galaxy S smartphone today in jolly ol' England.

The new Samsung Galaxy S III is set for launch in London at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. UK time.

The Galaxy S III is expected to be one of the hottest Google Android smartphones of the year. It's the third generation of device in a popular series that started with the Samsung Galaxy S and the Samsung Galaxy S II. And even though little is known about the details of the Samsung Galaxy S III ahead of the launch, it's expected to be a hot seller too.

That said, the rumor mill has been churning, and some blogs report that the new smartphone could have a quad-core processor and a large screen in the 4.7-inch to 4.8-inch range. Fans are also hoping the display will be Super AMOLED or even Super AMOLED Plus.

It's unclear whether Samsung will announce U.S. carriers today for the new phone at the event. If not, it's likely the company will talk about its U.S. debut next week at the CTIA trade show in New Orleans.

CNET will be covering the news of the Samsung Galaxy S III remotely from our offices in New York City and San Francisco via a Webcast set up by Samsung on its Facebook page. You can find the link here. CNET correspondents from the U.K. and Asia are on site at the Samsung event, and they will provide pictures and write news from the event, so follow them as well.

You can follow our live coverage right here, so check back at 10:45 a.m. PT/ 1:45 p.m. ET when we will kick off the live blog with some pre-announcement chatter. Also be sure to follow our CNET mobile team on Twitter:

Kent German, Section Editor, Mobile Devices
Marguerite Reardon, Senior Writer
Roger Cheng, Senior Writer
Brian Bennett, Section Editor, Mobile Devices
Jessica Dolcourt, Senior Editor, Mobile Devices
Lynn La, Associate Editor, Mobile Devices

Edited transcript starts here:

11:08-11:10 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Suzi Perry is now taking the stage. London Metropolitan orchestra was playing. Very nice. Today is about the next big thing, says Suzi.

11:11 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): JK Shin is taking the stage in what sounds like he is going to present the best picture award. But seriously I am hoping he shows off the new phone already. Here we go the Galaxy S III.

11:12 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): The S3 is the best in class smartphone in the world, Shin says. It's got a super AMOLED screen and it's 4.8. He says as leader in display Samsung will keep pushing the envelope here. 8 megapixel camera and some intelligent features.

11:13-11:14 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): And he says no worries about the battery consumption. All best in class hardware features are in a thin package. Inspired by round pebbles. And the sound from real water drop. Ah, it's a spa phone!

11:14 a.m. PT (Jessica Dolcourt): I just want to point out that the 2100mAh battery is pretty darn good. For reference, the Droid Razr Maxx (19 hours video playback in our tests) has a 3300mAh battery.

11:15 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): The phone listens to you and knows what you want. It recognizes your eye movement and stays on when you're looking at it. It understands your intention to call and makes the call for you. It's a human phone that understands you. Mobile operators and biz partners are excited to support the phone. And it will be in more than a 100 countries.

11:16 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): The 3G version will be out at end of May, in middle of May. The 4G version will come to North America and elsewhere this summer. And now we are getting the big reveal. It looks pretty!

11:17 a.m. PT (Jessica Dolcourt): OK, admit it. How many of you love the look? Who's disappointed that it's plastic and not ceramic?

11:19-11:21 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Now we have another exec on stage to go through the features. We are surrounded by smart technology all around us. Smartphones, smart refrigerators, etc. But Samsung is going forward. This phone listens and responds to our intentions. Tech becomes effortless and intuitive and inspired by nature. Made for humans -- I guess as opposed for monkeys or some other animal that might need a cell phone? When you say play music it plays your favorite. Does this thing read your mind too?

11:23 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): It's annoying to constantly touch the screen to keep it awake or to enter password when you're reading. The Galaxy S3 fixes this. And it knows whether you're looking or not. It only sleeps when we sleep.

11:24 a.m. PT (Jessica Dolcourt): Having the front-facing camera eyeball-track you is kind of cool, but also a little creepy.

11:25-11:26 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): To get your Galaxy S3 to wake up say: "Hi Galaxy." The device listens to natural language, including 8 different ones: American English, UK English, French, and a bunch others. But he said them so fast I couldn't type them all.

11:27 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Now they are demonstrating a call. Motion recognition. So if you raise the phone to your ear it recognizes you are making call to person texting. You don't have to even dial.

11:28-11:30 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): And now we are seeing a demo of a personal assistant app. Your assistant lets you know that your boss called and that the message was really important. It also helps in social life and keeps track of people near and dear to you. It recognizes faces of friends in photos and links with their social media from the phone. There are tags that allow you to go your friends streams. FB button takes you to your friend's wall. It really is designed for humans. Why do they keep saying that? So dumb.

11:31 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Now we are talking about NFC (near-field communications) and Wi-Fi direct. You can choose a video and put phone next to friend to share the video. It's the fastest and easiest way to share contact. You can mirror your phone screen onto another screen with the Wi-Fi Direct NFC thing too.

11:33-11:35 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Photoshare that lets you instantly share photos with friends in a particular image. This sounds cool too. When take a picture your phone recognizes their faces and then offers to send the pic to them right away. You can save a video at home and then stream your video to your phone. It's provided from AllShare. And Samsung will offer APIs so that others can develop apps for this.

11:37 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): We are seeing a video about the phone and it's quad core. By the way, just got confirmation from Samsung that HSPA+ and LTE versions of the S3 will be available in North America this summer.

11:38 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Head of marketing for Belgium is now on stage to talk about the design of the Galaxy S 3. They were trying to copy the natural curves of nature. Two unique colors: pebble blue and marble white. Overall it's minimal organic design to relax us and take us back to nature.

11:40 a.m. PT (Jessica Dolcourt): They're talking about the Smart Alarm, which I actually like. It gradually gets louder, so it's not barking at you all at once.

11:41-11:44 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Pop-up play allows you to watch a small video and then search the Web at the same time. Now we are talking about the camera. There is zero shutter lag. It offers 3.3 shots per second. And it has best picture option takes the best picture out of 8 taken. This photo stuff looks a lot like the HTC One phones. Seeing demo of the camera. Sensor is 8 megapixel with bright LED flash and can zoom on faces by double tapping. Can also group tag and sort them that way for you.

11:45 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): The phone is more energy efficient. But not saying exactly how much battery life. 4.8 is big. Screen is 22 percent larger but overall device isn't that much bigger.

11:47 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Now talking connectivity: Super Wi-Fi connectivity and battery efficient Bluetooth. And it will come with LTE. Will announce the details for this in US world tour. Hmm She glossed over the LTE details. Darn!

11:49-11:51 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Now we're talking accessories. Battery charging stand and wireless charging kit. HD TV adapter and lots of other goodies will be sold separately. Talking about services, such as gaming service. And its video hub with leading TV and movies. Will be available in 7 countries. Music hub will also launch with 17 million songs. Drive link connects S3 to head units giving drivers access to apps like entertainment and navigation. And it looks at calendar schedule. There is a personal S-health app that receives health care data, and it will be available in selected countries.

11:52 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): Now we're talking about security. This is serious stuff, the presenter tells us. Want to continue BYOD trend for businesses. And working with Visa to bring NFC devices to London Olympic games.

11:53 a.m. PT (Jessica Dolcourt): No confirmed US carrier announcements, everyone, and no pricing either. I think it'll cost a BILLION DOLLARS! No, it'll probably be closer to the $300 mark.

11:53-11:54 a.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): OS will of course be ICS. That is ice cream sandwich. Internal memory 16, 32 and 64GB with MicroSD for expansion. May 29 GS3 will be on sale in Europe and will take global with 10-city world tour.

12:01-12:02 p.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): That's a wrap for the presentation from Samsung. The people on the ground in London are racing to get their hands on the new device. CNET will have many more follow up stories coming to our site. So please check back for more analysis, photos and discussion.

12:03 p.m. PT (Marguerite Reardon): No word yet on which carriers will be getting it. And no pricing info yet either.

Editors' note: The original, bare-bones version of this story was posted today at 8:19 a.m. PT.