Mobile World Congress will be host to the announcement of the Galaxy Beam, Samsung’s second iteration of the first Android phone that packs a projector.
Beaming content from your smartphone onto walls isn’t a new idea — nor a particularly good one. Although it can be useful on occasion, it’s capabilities are often overshadowed by dedicated hand-held projectors. But that hasn’t stopped Samsung from featuring the Beam as its latest for-entertainment device. YouTube clips of cats for a midnight laugh with your friends? The Beam has you covered. No TV screen? Don’t fret; the Beam can display a 50-inch wide projection in high-definition.
“Galaxy Beam provides mobile freedom, enabling a unique shared experience around digital content for everyone—anywhere and instantly,” said JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics, in a statement.
The first Beam was released back in July 2010 to the Asian and European. As the first Android phone to sport a Droid 2.1 OS, packed with a pico-projector, the Beam finally made it to North America about a year and a half ago.
The new Galaxy Beam is a slightly upgraded version of its predecessor, with changes to its OS, screen size and exterior design. Its OS has been upgraded to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and its screen size has been expanded from 3.7-inches to a full 4 inches, though the resolution remains at 480×800 pixels. Despite the brick-like design of Samsung’s first iteration, the latest Beam sports a sleek, albeit thick, exterior at 12.5 mm — 2.4 mm thinner than the original Beam.
The device is fitted with a 15-Lumen LED-powered, nHD projector. Unfortunately, Samsung has surprisingly skimped out on the camera: the device comes with a 5MP rear-facing lens, a strange downgrade from the 8MP camera on the first Beam. Overall, the Galaxy Beam is fairly middle-of-the-road in today’s mobile phone market. From what we can discern, the incentive to purchase this phone lies solely in its projection capability for the purpose of entertaining guests ,or using it as a backup projector for meetings.
With the first Beam’s retail price at nearly $600, we’re expecting a similar price point for the Galaxy Beam. But for that price, you may as well invest in a hand-held projector, and save yourself $400. As far as straight phone specs go, the Beam’s 1.0GHz dual-core processor is greatly overshadowed by the debut of LG’s Optimus 4X HD, a powerhouse revealed at Mobile World Congress 2012, which boasts the first ever quad-core processor in a smartphone.
While the smartphone is essentially a better-looking and slightly healthier image of its former self, the allure of purchasing a smartphone for the purpose of displaying, “a full photo slideshow to family members on a dining room wall while playing accompanying music straight from the device,” as Samsung suggests, may not necessarily be an incentive to most consumers any time soon. For gamers, projecting “games to co-players or observers to turn gaming into an unbeatably interactive, shared experience,” we find rather impractical. (There’s a reason that most projectors, for stability and preventing motion-sickness, are grounded.)
The Samsung Galaxy Beam’s price and has yet to be announced, and should begin selling first in the UK in April.
You can read the latest specs and browse images below:
- Network: HSPA 14.4/5.76 Mbps 850/900/1900/2100; EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
- OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
- Display: 4.0” 480×800 (WVGA) TFT
- Processor: 1.0GHz Dual-Core Processor
- Camera: 5MP AF (rear)＋ 1.3MP / Flash (front)
- Video: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX
- Recording/Playback: 720p@30fps
- Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC＋, eAAC＋, WMA0fps
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, MicroUSB, USB 2.0, 3.5mm Ear Jack
- PC Applications: Samsung Kies 2.0
- Internal Memory: 8GB, MicroSD slot (up to 32GB)
- RAM: 6GB
- Dimension: 64.2 x 124 x 12.5mm, 145.3 g
- Battery: 2000 mAh