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AT&T gets serious about Android

June 17, 2010: 11:59 AM ET

AT&T announces the Samsung Galaxy Captivate.

Spyshot of Samsung Captivate from Androidguys.com

Until this week, AT&T's Android effort seemed a little, shall we say, paltry? They offered one poorly-rated Android 1.5 device called the Backflip.  It seemed like they were the 'iPhone network'.

This week, things are starting to change.

On Monday, they launched the "pocket-rocket" Aria and today, they have themselves a full-on, hardcore Android device, the Samsung Galaxy Captivate.

Samsung, being the manufacturer of iPhone and iPad A4 processors also includes a similar 1GHz Hummingbird in this phone which should power its Android 2.1 OS (upgradable to Froyo) with plenty of cycles to spare.  Where the Captivate differentiates itself from the iPhone is its half inch bigger Super AMOLED display.  Super AMOLED integrates the touch sensor allowing for a thinner design while offering the following benefits over traditional AMOLED:

  • 20% brighter screen
  • 80% less sunlight reflection
  • 20% reduced power consumption

The debate over displays is a lenghty one with Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs and Samsung trading Jabs over which technology is better.

Steve Jobs at this month's WWDC, said of the iPhone's display, "You can't make an OLED display with this type of resolution right now. Retina display is going to set the standard for displays for the next several years. We don't think anybody's going to come close."

Samsung counters, "The visibility difference [of the Retina display] is only 3 to 5 percent. But raising resolution to that level increases battery consumption by 30 percent.  There are several factors other than resolution that determine a picture quality, and AM-OLED display outdoes Retina LCD in those criteria including contrast ratio, color reproduction, and response time.  Structurally, IPS LCD technology cannot catch up with AM-OLED display technology."

The Captivate also includes 16GB of onboard storage which can be doubled with a Micro SD Card and  a 5.0-megapixel camera/ camcorder with auto-focus and HD video recording (720p).  Gaming should also be something special on the Captivate, with a six-axis sensor on board that combines the smartphone's accelerometer and gyroscope sensors.

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