Weekend Roundup: Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini & Kindle Paperwhite get UK launches

S3 by name, disappointment by nature

This week saw Samsung officially announce its new Galaxy S3 Mini handset, but in stark contrast to the original S3’s unveiling, the Mini looks like a massive missed opportunity for Samsung.

For many, myself included, the Galaxy S3 is just too big, and I wouldn’t want to carry such a large handset around in my pocket all day. The iPhone 5 by comparison, is still small and slim enough to be relatively unobtrusive – yes the screen is bigger than on previous iPhones, but only in one dimension. So, when I heard that Samsung was going to be making a version of the Galaxy S3 with a smaller, 4in screen, I was very interested.

Unfortunately though, rather than shrinking down the undoubtedly powerful and feature packed S3 into a more manageable size and pitching it head to head with the iPhone 5, Samsung has decided to just bring a new mid-range handset to the market. Sadly, the only real connection that the S3 Mini has with its bigger brother is its name.

The question remains whether the Galaxy S3 name will have consumers blindly buying the Mini anyway, focusing on its smaller dimensions and price, rather than its pared back feature set and components.

Kindle Paperwhite hits they UK

Last month when Amazon unveiled its new line of Kindles, there was the usual disappointment for UK customers as they realised that some of the models wouldn’t be available outside the US. In this case, it was the Kindle Paperwhite that was being dangled just out of the reach of UK eBook buyers, in much the same way as the Kindle Touch last year.

Thankfully, this time Amazon hasn’t made us wait months to get our paws on the latest Kindle, with the mega-retailer officially launching the Paperwhite in the UK this week. The big news with the Paperwhite is an improved touch-screen with better contrast, which also has a light for reading in any environment. The Paperwhite will be available in both Wi-Fi and 3G variants costing £109 and £169 respectively.

On top of the Paperwhite launch, Amazon also announced that the Kindle Lending Library would arrive in the UK this month, allowing Amazon Prime members to borrow one book every month at no cost, although the library is limited to 200,000 titles.

There’s no doubt that the Lending Library is a great idea, but Amazon needs to make more titles available, while also relaxing the frequency of borrowing – if you’re commuting on the train every day, one book a month is unlikely to keep you going.

RSA throws spotlight on security in London

ITProPortal’s ever vigilant security expert, Will Dalton, spent much of the week at the RSA Conference Europe 2012, listening to some of the foremost figures in cyber security discussing the ever evolving landscape.

Art Coviello, Executive Chairman RSA, kicked off proceedings by floating the idea that our obsession with privacy could be hampering our online security, and that instead of trying to fence ourselves off from the world, we should be taking a “more intelligent” look at security strategy.

Coviello also claimed that there was a worrying global lack of security experts, and in his estimation we need around 4.25 million security professionals by 2015, so if you're thinking of a career path, it looks like becoming a security expert could well be a smart move.

A closer look at ARM chips

This week also saw ITProPortal Editor, Desire Athow, lift the lid on ARM and its processors. While many think of ARM as a chip maker in a similar vein to Intel, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact ARM doesn’t manufacturer any hardware whatsoever, instead simply licensing out its designs for others to fabricate.

Desire also helped to explain all the different terms and names given to modern mobile processors, which, in reality, all fall under the System-on-Chip or SoC moniker.

Once you fully understand how ARM works, and how successful it has become without the need for capital investment into manufacturing facilities, it’s hard not to admire the British company.

It may not be able to take a design idea and run with it all the way to the retail channel like Intel, but that also reduces operating costs exponentially. Whether ARM’s lack of fabrication facilities will eventually become a problem remains to be seen, but as things stand ARM is sitting pretty.