Counterclockwise: the story of Galaxy S telephones


Earlier than 2010, Samsung had many telephone strains – the Omnia line was the star, a choice of high-powered Symbian or Home windows Telephone units. There was the occasional Pixon digital camera telephone or the low-budget Corby and, after all, the Galaxy telephones.

Then in March 2010, Samsung unveiled the I9000 Galaxy S. It was a well-received telephone, however nobody may have predicted that its descendants will come to dominate not simply the Android panorama however rank as among the best-selling smartphones on the earth.

That is its story and that of its youngsters and grandchildren.

S for Tremendous AMOLED

The Galaxy S wasn’t the primary telephone to be unveiled with a Tremendous AMOLED display screen, that honor goes to the Samsung Wave, operating on the corporate’s in-house Bada OS. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful display screen and it outlined the premium Galaxy line.

Samsung I9000 Galaxy S

Samsung I9000 Galaxy S

Tremendous AMOLED differs from common AMOLED in that the digitizer (the “touch” a part of a touchscreen) is built-in into the display screen. This helped Samsung’s display screen replicate solely a fifth as a lot mild as different AMOLEDs, making for stellar daylight legibility.

It was PenTile display screen, that means that as a substitute of full RGB pixels, the display screen had simply two subpixels per pixel. Nonetheless, this was earlier than the decision wars and it was okay.

The Galaxy S itself was a product of its time. It had a rounded design that does not look too dangerous even immediately and its physique was plastic with a detachable again cowl.

Even this early on, Samsung confirmed its want for dominance. The Galaxy S was the thinnest smartphone on the time – 9.9mm thick – and it was the primary Android to have DivX HD certification.

Galaxy S variants

Earlier than the top of 2010, the telephone was redesigned into the Google Nexus S. It was largely the identical telephone, although it had a “curved display”. The show itself wasn’t curved, it was the protecting glass above it that arched. There was an attention-grabbing limitation – the Nexus S may document solely 480p video, whereas the Galaxy S may do 720p. It was the primary Android with NFC help although.

The Galaxy S was powered by an early Exynos chipset (often known as Hummingbird on the time), which boasted 3x the GPU efficiency of the competing Snapdragon. Even so, in 2011 Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S Plus with a Snapdragon S2. It nonetheless had a single-core processor but it surely ran at a better clock velocity – 1.4GHz vs. 1GHz. The Adreno 205 GPU was barely extra highly effective than the PowerVR SGX540 used within the authentic mannequin.

Samsung Google Nexus S
Samsung Google Nexus S
Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL
Samsung I9070 Galaxy S Advance

Samsung Google Nexus S • Samsung Google Nexus S • Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL • Samsung I9070 Galaxy S Advance

Additionally in 2011 was the Galaxy SL“L” for LCD. Tremendous LCD, however nonetheless. The telephone solely had 4GB of storage and used a weaker TI OMAP chipset. Earlier than the Galaxy A telephones began adopting final 12 months’s Galaxy S options, there have been these variations of the Galaxy S – a repurposed flagship for a premium mid-range line.

Samsung reworked the unique S as soon as once more and in 2012 it launched the Galaxy S Advance. It had a NovaThor chipset with a dual-core processor and barely extra RAM than the opposite two. Nonetheless, it was a funds model – it could not compete with the Galaxy S II, not to mention the S III.

And who can neglect the Giorgio Armani Galaxy S. Nicely, we did. To be honest, so far as style model telephones go, this one is not dangerous trying.

Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani

Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani

Harbinger of issues to come back

The Samsung Galaxy S II was the primary S-phone to be unveiled on the MWC. It went even slimmer than earlier than, eight.49mm, and improved on nearly all the things in comparison with its predecessor. It even received Smartphone of the 12 months at MWC 2012.

We begin with the bigger four.three” Super AMOLED Plus display. “Plus” means it had full RGB pixels as a substitute of PenTile, so regardless that the decision was the identical, the sharpness improved.

Do you know that the Galaxy S II supported stylus enter? No, not an S Pen, however this was Samsung dipping its toes within the water earlier than unveiling the inaugural Galaxy Be aware telephone later that 12 months. Curiously, some even obtained the S II display screen to work with a pencil (the common wooden and lead variety).

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II

The brand new Exynos chip had twice the CPU cores (and quicker Cortex-A9 cores at that) and it switched to an ARM-designed Mali-400MP4 GPU. It doubled the RAM and storage too. This energy did not go to waste both, the MHL output was used for a dock that featured AV output (1080p), years earlier than DeX.

The squarish design was lovely in its personal means, however the textured again cowl made it the grippiest Galaxy S telephone ever.

As earlier than, Samsung additionally produced variations of the Galaxy S II. One with a Tegra 2 chipset (Galaxy R with a Tremendous LCD), one other with Broadcom BC28155 (Galaxy S II Plus). Talking of TI OMAP, this chip was additionally used within the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung would collaborate with Google another time, extra on that later.

Samsung I9103 Galaxy R
Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus
Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250

Samsung I9103 Galaxy R • Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus • Samsung Galaxy Nexus I9250

Bixby’s dad

The Samsung Galaxy S III featured S Voice – a digital assistant after Siri however earlier than Google made one. And earlier than Bixby, after all.

The Galaxy S III offered so nicely that there have been fixed shortages (particularly for the Blue shade model). It received the Greatest Smartphone award at MWC 2013. In Q3 of 2012 it turned the best-selling smartphone, outpacing the iPhone 4S. Maybe unrelated, however Apple filed a lawsuit towards Samsung the S III was within the thick of it.

Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III

Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III

There have been a number of variations of the Galaxy S III as soon as once more, however within the curiosity of time we’ll skip them. We do need to speak concerning the Ativ S.It was primarily based on largely the identical but it surely ran Home windows Telephone eight. We by no means felt like Samsung severely tried to make nice Home windows telephones, however that is in all probability its strongest effort.

Samsung Ativ S I8750

Samsung Ativ S I8750

Function creep

Samsung is known for piling on new options and the Galaxy S4 was accused of characteristic creep. Additionally observe the change in naming – from Roman to Arabic numerals. We hear that subsequent 12 months Samsung would possibly change again – Galaxy SX as a substitute of S10.

Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4

Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4

Anyway, the S4 may observe your head place and scroll an online web page as you tilt your head up and down. After that Samsung type of gave up on this line of growth, however the S9 telephones do hold a detailed eye in your face.

The Tremendous AMOLED display screen may additionally detect your finger hovering above the display screen and there was a sensor for gesture management. A lot of this went unused and was dropped in later fashions.

Once more, we’ll skip the S4 variants, however we do need to point out the Galaxy S4 Google Play Version. It ran inventory Android four.2, similar to a Nexus, there was no TouchWiz in sight. Would not you need a Galaxy S9 Google Play Version?

A face solely a mom may love

The Galaxy S5 launched a slew of recent options – like IP67 water resistance, wi-fi charging (which was non-obligatory on the S4) and a fingerprint reader. Nonetheless, the telephone confronted heavy criticism for its design.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5

For all of the options that Samsung packed into the telephone, the telephone itself was… ugly. Sticking with plastic was a mistake or so many thought. To be honest, the dimpled again cowl wasn’t nice to the notch and never that fairly to have a look at. What it was was sensible.

The S5 did face extra criticism. The swipe fingerprint reader was more durable to make use of than iPhone’s TouchID. The telephone had PayPal integration that used the reader (this was earlier than Samsung Pay), however the expertise wasn’t as easy as Apple Pay.

The Galaxy S5 additionally added a coronary heart price monitor, a characteristic that persists on Galaxy S telephones. Sadly, many discovered it as inconsistent because the fingerprint reader.

Regardless of all this, the S5 went on to grow to be the fastest-selling smartphone in Samsung’s historical past (on the time, anyway).


This Counterclockwise has gotten a bit lengthy and this appears like a great place to hit pause. Be a part of us once more subsequent time to see how Samsung answered the claims of unattractive design and have creep. As you in all probability bear in mind, the Galaxy S6 was not free from controversy both.

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Anatolia Raspatovina


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