This week saw the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the new flagship phone from the Korean Chaebol and possibly the only real threat to Apple's hegemony in the high end smartphone market. To be honest there was no salient points to the launch. The phone appears to be an update to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which was launched late last year and is set to cost around £500 when it launches later this year.
Beyond the product though, it has been interesting to see how Samsung & Apple's approaches to a major product launch differ. Samsung's press release for the S3 as well as comments from analysts were in our inboxes BEFORE the event started, something that would not happen at Apple. You can check our coverage of the phone, of the launch, the hands-on photos & video as well as a live thread where we list all the best deals, either SIM free or on Pay Monthly contract.
An intriguing rumour emerged this week regarding a possible bundle that Microsoft would sell, via its Microsoft Stores in the US, for $99. Nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fact that it would be a subscription with an initial fee of $99. Microsoft has finally decided to replicate the selling tactics that have been so successfully implemented by mobile phone operators all over the world. Customers generally prefer to stagger payments - even if it entails paying extra - than pay a hefty outlay in one go.
Which is why even if it costs them much cheaper to buy a SIM free phone and a SIM-only contract, people are more comfortable paying a fixed monthly fee. Microsoft's plans may entail extending its reach beyond competing with the Playstation 3, the Apple TV and Google TV and position itself as a media-box rather than just a gaming console. It also paves the way - in my humble opinion - for a converged future where your Xbox will be a Windows 9 or Windows X smartphone.
Another story that surfaced in the past week was about the forthcoming Apple MacBook Pro which may look very different from the current one at least when it comes to the specs sheet. Expect Apple to get rid of the antiquated optical drive, which will give some space for a bigger battery and an additional solid state drive which will be used as a system drive with a traditional hard disk drive as a backup. The bigger battery would be used to power a screen with a much higher resolution (possibly qHD), just like what happened on the New iPad following the four-fold increase in the pixel count compared to the iPad 2.