Yes, another handset from Samsung's Galaxy range is on the horizon - the Gingerbread-packing TouchWiz-toting Galaxy S Advance. And, yes, it looks almost inseparable from the rest of them.
Its specs aren't to necessarily to be sniffed at: a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 1GHz dual-core processor, 768MB of RAM, and standard issue 5MP rear/1.3MP front camera set up; but equally it's hardly worth sending smoke-signals back to camp about it.
The immediate reaction among the MoDaCo staff, however, was "What the hell is the point?" and I couldn't help but feel this was a very good point in itself. Sure it's better than many handsets out there, but unquestionably far from the current benchmarks of what is expected of new smartphones - in fact it's not a patch on the much older Galaxy S II, which is only a few shekels more and already primed for ICS, not to mention very well supported by the Android developer community.
More after the break...
HTC recently announced a return to manufacturing a lower number of top-notch devices due to their relatively lacklustre 2011, so it begs the question why Samsung are creating upper-mid tier handsets that fill no visible gap in the market that, while perhaps not quite redundant, don't progress their range in terms of aesthetics, horsepower or features in the slightest.
Samsung's MO of flooding the market with similar looking, similar sounding, similar spec phones and tablets - albeit ones of high quality - has obvious drawbacks: it's confusing for everyday consumers, and either wholly uninteresting (particularly handsets like the S Advance) or wildly frustrating for enthusiasts who can never really be assured of having the latest-and-greatest for long.
Picture this (if you haven't suffered it already): the launch day of a long awaited mobile phone is finally upon you, the money you've saved is burning a hole in your pocket, you check MoDaCo before heading out and you read the manufacturer has something with more muscles and bigger claws ready to blow your object of desire into the weeds. Do you buy? Do you wait? Do you wait longer? It's enough to drive you bananas, or at least to point of being rather miffed.
Or maybe I heard those whisperings of a juiced-up Galaxy Nexus and am already saddling up my high horse.
Regardless, I shall keep my fingers crossed that Samsung will narrow down its range, focus its considerable resources and give us a phone or tablet that really throws a stick into the spokes of what we expect and gives us a concentrated selection of truly mind-bending gadgets.