Samsung launches two lower-priced Android-based smartphones

The Galaxy 3 and Galaxy 5 will cost below US$300 before subsidies

Samsung has added the Galaxy 3 and Galaxy 5 to its portfolio of Android-based smartphones, it said on Tuesday at CommunicAsia2010 in Singapore. Both phones are on the low-end of the scale when it comes to price and features.

The Galaxy 3 and Galaxy 5 will start shipping in July, and cost about 2,300 Swedish kronor (US$290) and 2,000 Swedish kronor before taxes and subsidies, respectively. For users, that means the phones will be free with pretty basic price plans, according to Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

Both phones use Samsung's own TouchWiz 3.0 interface on top of Android 2.1, and collects messages from different social networking sites in one place using Social Hub. They also come with Layar's augmented reality software preinstalled.

The Galaxy 3 has a 3.2-inch touchscreen and a 3-megapixel camera. Users can surf the net using 802.11n, which, so far, has been seen on high-end smartphones, or HSDPA (High-Speed Download Packet Access) at 3.6M bps (bits per second).

The Galaxy 5 has a 2.8-inch touchscreen and a 2-megapixel camera. It too can surf the net using 802.11n and HSDPA, but at 7.2M bps.

Both phones have an FM-radio and can navigate using A-GPS (Assisted GPS), as well.

At CommunicAsia, Samsung also showed the Galaxy Beam, which is the first Android-based smartphone that comes with a pico projector. It can show movies and images at 640 x 480 pixel resolution, according to Samsung.

The addition of a projector is an interesting feature for professional and entertainment use, because you don't have to use a separate projector, according to Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, who thinks that smartphones with built-in projectors will remain a niche. The big concern is how it affects battery life, she said.

The Galaxy Beam is based on version 2.1 of Android, has a 3.7-inch Super-AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode), an 8-megapixel camera and can be used as a wireless access point.

Samsung has always had a multiplatform strategy, and on Tuesday it also announced two smartphones based on Windows Mobile 6.5 -- Omnia Pro 4 and Omnia Pro 5 -- and two based on its own Bada platform -- Wave 2 and Wave 2 Pro.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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