Android Minus Phone – Samsung’s New WiFi Only Devices

This morning Samsung Korea announced the availability of the Galaxy Player 70 Plus, a 5.0-inch Android handheld device that is not a phone. It looks similar to the Galaxy Player 5.0, released here in the U.S. last year. The new Player 70 Plus gets a dual-core processor and 16GB or 32GB.

Given that Samsung just announced a new series of non-phone handsets in the Galaxy S WiFi at Mobile World Congress, I’m surprised that the company is releasing such a similar device with the old branding.

The Galaxy S WiFi series has three models: 3.6, 4.0 and 5.0, each name corresponding to the size. They have similar specs to the Galaxy Player 4.0 and 5.0, though the 1GHz TI OMAP4 processors are a bit faster, according to the company. These aren’t likely to satisfy consumers who want the best of everything packed in. They do make perfectly good iPod touch rivals.

Samsung Galaxy Player 70 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Player 70 Plus

The two 5-inch PMPs have a Galaxy Note vibe, though neither completely matches the phone’s best specs, such as the hi-res display. The Galaxy S WiFi series will get Ice Cream Sandwich, eventually, and ships with Gingerbread.

The 3.6-inch size is a new addition to the team and sports a 480 x 320 resolution. I suspect this model will be for budget-conscious buyers and start at a lower price point.

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Like Sascha Segan of PCMag, I’m surprised that the Galaxy Players didn’t do better in the American market and I agree that it has to do with poor marketing. I never saw a commercial or ad for them, and the only place I ever saw them in a retail environment was the Samsung Experience here in New York.

Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0

Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 5.0

WiFi-only Android PDAs/PMPs do have a place in the market, especially for people who want the advantages of smartphones without the high cost of data plans and wireless contracts. They make good MP3 players with the right apps and EQ settings. Parents can give them to kids instead of a phone — they can still text and even make calls with the right apps, and parents can keep track of where they’re supposed to be with Google Latitude.

The Samsung Galaxy S WiFi line ships later this month. The company hasn’t officially announced pricing, though I expect it to be around the same as the Galaxy Players (starting at $199) or a little less. It remains to be seen how Samsung will market the devices.

Samsung Galaxy WiFi Specs

  

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