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Samsung Galaxy S3 to launch in early 2012, 4G tablet coming sooner

A top Samsung executive reveals the Galaxy S3 will launch in the first half of next year, following the runaway success of the first two models. He also hints at a 4G tablet by the end of the year.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 will be available in the first half of 2012, according to the president of Samsung's mobile division, JK Shin, speaking to Dow Jones Newswires.

The original Galaxy S and recently launched Galaxy S2 have been wildly popular phones for Samsung, thanks to the unbeatable combination of top-notch hardware and the app-happy Android platform. Though we can't give Samsung maximum points for originality on the naming front, we're already expecting great things from the third-generation model.

Who will get to see the Galaxy S3 first? Why, Apple of course. Thanks to an ongoing legal battle between the two tech giants, Apple's lawyers may well get a sneak peek at the Android-y goodness before we do. That is, if blurry spy-cam shots don't surface in the meantime.

What goodies will the S3 pack in? One year ahead of launch, that's hard to say, but we'll be expecting nothing less than a quad-core processor, a super-bright AMOLED 3D screen, a 12-megapixel dual camera, some augmented reality shenanigans, and of course NFC. It should certainly have the next version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, on board.

We've also got an inkling as to which Samsung handset those London 2012 athletes will be getting -- not the S3, but all the leftover S2s no-one wants any more. We think they'll manage.

Just to further whet your appetite for Samsung goodness, Shin alluded to a 4G tablet coming later this year. "The race for 4G has already started," he said, adding that it was "inevitable particularly for tablets because it requires faster download speeds than smart phones to handle bigger volume content." Aha, so that's why Samsung wants to see Apple's iPad 3. Allegedly. Just kidding.

In fact, the tablet will be an evolution of the current Galaxy Tab models, available in 7-inch, 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch versions. Now that will be seriously tasty, though we could do with some widespread 4G infrastructure to use it on. Someone get right on that.