Interesting Hardware Announcements from IFA 2012: Samsung Galaxy Camera, Galaxy Note II, Archos GamePad

Interesting Hardware Announcements from IFA 2012: Samsung Galaxy Camera, Galaxy Note II, Archos GamePad

Aug 29, 2012

The annual Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin – better known as IFA – electronics show has kicked off, and there’s some interesting new hardware announcements to go along with it. Samsung held an Unpacked event to reveal a pair of new devices, and even Archos had an interesting new device to show off.

Okay, remember that Nikon Android camera we posted about last week? Well, Samsung might have killed it already. The Samsung Galaxy Camera is essentially a Galaxy S III with a heavy-duty point-and-shoot camera built in to it. The camera has a 16 megapixel sensor with a 21x optical zoom, and F2.8 aperture. On the Android side of things, there’s a 4.8“ screen (the same size as the Galaxy S III), a quad-core processor, and interestingly, no Android hardware buttons, so it will use software menu keys. It will run Jelly Bean, and Samsung is adding in a voice control function to allow for zooming by saying ”Zoom in!" While stock Android may be the best option for phones and tablets, having customizations for this new kind of device are necessary.

Interestingly, it’s going to come with data connectivity, not just wifi, with 3G and 4G variants available. The Galaxy Camera releases this October, and given the powerful hardware under the hood and very capable camera – don’t expect it to be cheap.

Also making the rounds at IFA 2012 is the Galaxy Note II. This followup to the pioneering phablet will follow the same path as its predecessor: giant screen, bigger-than-normal battery, and the S Pen. Hardware wise, the screen is bigger at 5.5“ diagonal compared to 5.2” before, but now the resolution has dropped to 1280×720, so there’s a lower PPI than the original, but it otherwise matches the Galaxy S III in resolution. As well, the hardware has been redesigned to more closely resemble the Galaxy S III – Samsung appears to be trying to use this form factor in order to further differentiate themselves from Apple. The phone will run Jelly Bean, boast a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor (no details given yet – it could change for international versions), and 2 GB of RAM. Software-wise, there’s new S Pen tools to allow for the creation of notes from anywhere in the OS, and Quick Command to launch apps from anywhere using the S Pen. There’s also a Screen Recorder function, that if capable enough, could be a useful tool for recording video.

Finally, Archos has announced the GamePad tablet, which is a 7" tablet with physical controls on each side. The controls will support more than just specific titles, as Archos claims that over 1000 titles with virtual controls will be supported by the GamePad’s…gamepad. That name is just awkward. The price isn’t, as it’s planned to be less than 150 euros, or less than $200. There’s a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor under the hood, so it could be a capable gaming machine.