Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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Samsung Galaxy Beam: play smartphone games on a 50in screen

The latest Samsung Galaxy model comes with a built in HD projector, allowing you to project photos, video and games on to any surface

Samsung Galaxy Beam. Why play smartphone games on the small screen, when you can play them on your bedroom wall?

The internal project, located at the top of the device, makes use of a 640 x 360 resolution with a 15 lumen brightness and able to project an image that can be up to 50 inches wide. The projector will come in particularly handy for those who wish to share images or videos with friends or family, work based information with colleagues in a meeting or even just play your favorite game in 50 glorious inches instead of the built in 4 inch display. The handset itself is a stunning 12.5mm thick giving it the title of the world’s thinnest projector phone, although to be fair, it doesn’t really have a great deal of competition on that front.

Samsung have done a great job of managing to house the all important projector in a manner which doesn’t detract from the aesthetics of the phone and actually manages to remain attractive in appearance. However, Engadget notes that the project doesn’t feature any recess around it and therefore could be a bit of a fingerprint magnet, so be prepared to wipe it clean before you start to beam those images around the office.

The device will come with a decent 8GB of internal storage which should allow plenty of images and videos to be stored, allowing good use of the projector. It will also come shipped with Android 2.3 but as yet we have no official details of when the Galaxy Beam will be available to the world. From the released images of the Beam, it actually looks like a very accomplished smartphone and we are definitely looking forward to checking this one out in person.

It's the Mobile World Congress this week, which means we'll be innundated with new smartphone annoucements over the next few days. You can check out our live coverage here, but for now my favourite revelation from the pre-show press conferences is the new Samsung Galaxy Beam handset, which can project photos, videos games and other digital content onto any wall, via its built in projector.

According to Samsung, the device will chuck out a crisp HD image up to 50in wide – and is even bright enough to work outside. The 15 lumens projector is accompanies by a special app to make it easier for users to select compatible files from the 8GB of internal memory on the handset.

Watch youtube Video of galaxy beam

Even with the projector built in, the phone is a respectable 12.5mm thick and 145.3 grams. It's a little chunkier than many of its rivals, of course – but can they put Angry Birds on your living room wall? No, they cannot.

Interestingly, Samsung has specifically highlighted the gaming possibilities of its new phone, which runs the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and has a 1.0GHz dual-core processor. It will no doubt be possible to try any Android game via projection, though Samsung has pointed to the "1000s" of titles available via its own Game Hub service.

I'm not sure how practical this will be, given that you'll need the phone to be steadily positioned to project an image, ruling out any accelerometer-based controls. However, simple touch games may well work – or gamers could employ one of the several Bluetooth joypads compatible with Android devices.

"The Samsung Galaxy Beam gives people freedom to share what's important to them instantly with friends and family," said Simon Stanford of Samsung's Telecommunications and Networks division. "With the Galaxy Beam, people can share content from their smartphone with people around them, using it like a pocket projector to create shared experiences – whether that's watching movies, sharing holiday snaps or a spontaneous presentation."

So alongside projected smartphone gaming – an intriguing proposition – it looks like the dreaded era of the holiday snaps slide show might well be making a nightmarish return. Ah well, you have to take the rough with the smooth where technology is concerned.

Do you remember the Samsung Beam? We know you don't. Announced in 2010, it was Samsung's phone with built-in projector. But it was bulky and it launched in just a few countries. So it wasn't really a success.

Fast forward to 2012. Here we have the new Samsung Galaxy Beam. The second generation projector-phone is way more pretty. And better. Although it is not skinny, it is pretty normally sized (it is half inch/12mm thick), considering its 4" screen (480x800 resolution).

The projector (the key feature) is also improved, and now it has 15 lumens output, compared to 9 lumens for the predecessor. To explain the difference, in a dark room, the new model can display decent picture size up to 50 inches - and the quality is absolutely usable. You can of course make it bigger, but at the cost of the image quality (brightness/contrast). So 50" is quite fine. Resolution is not HD though, but nHD - 640x360. So forget about high-definition home theater with the phone used for the projector. Still, it has good results for movies or presentations on the go.

Its phone specs are decent as well. The screen and the 5-megapixel camera with 720p video may be mid-range nowadays, but we can't blame it. It is a projector-phone, not your next high-end phone. It is a quad-band GSM with dual-band European HSDPA device. Samsung noted that this one is expected to launch in many markets, unlike its predecessor. Still, we don't see it going mainstream, at least not at this moment. And there is no information on a U.S. version.

So tell us guys, do you want to have a projector in your phone and will you consider buying such a handset?

Considering that Samsung have been experiencing a little bit of ridicule recently thanks to the release of the monstrous Galaxy Note, which by the way features a stylus, they could do with introducing something publicly appealing at this years Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. The Korean company was widely predicted to be all quiet on the new product front at MWC due to the fact that they don’t have any official press events planned and that they actually pulled out on launching the Galaxy S3 at the event in favor of delaying for a more worldwide universal launch.

However, they have managed to shock us by introducing the Samsung Galaxy Beam smartphone which is a refreshed version of the original projector based handset but with the latest version packing some serious specification upgrades. The Galaxy Beam is able to boast a very decent specification packed into a 4-inch WVGA display. The internals of the phone host a dual-core ST-Ericsson Cortex A9 processor with 768MB of RAM which doesn’t represent a ground breaking device, but at the end of the day the device will be judged on its main feature – the built in projector.


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