focus s

While Samsung is evidently taking the summer off from Windows Phone, seeing as that AT&T 4G LTE "Mendel" phone is MIA (we think it was canceled), it only makes sense to start speculating about what will come in the fall.

It's no surprise if you follow tech blogs that Sammy is about to release they're much hyped Galaxy S III  Android phone. Not much is known on the exact specs yet, but it's rumored to be 4.7" Super AMOLED HD (or whatever gimmicky name they have now) with a "micro arc oxidation" back. All you need to know is it will be crazy thin with a large screen and very fast CPUs on board.

Over at WP-Life, they claim to have a reliable source in South Korea noting that ol' Sammy will basically recycle the S III for a Windows Phone 8 device come this fall. While such a device won't be an exact clone, it will rely heavily on what ever is revealed in London on May 3rd.

In fact the working name is Samsung Focus S II. Basically the idea is because Windows Phone 8 steps up the specs so much, Samsung can easily port over WP8 to this almost existing, relatively cutting edge hardware. Here's what we supposedly can expect:

  • Faster dual/quad core processor (depending on region)
  • 4.7-inch HD display
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • NFC capabilities
  • Dedicated camera button
  • Samsung Cloud Support
  • Improved Photo Studio
  • LTE support

Of all the rumors we get, this is certainly very realistic and if anything, a conservative one. After all, the AT&T Focus S is basically a recycled Galaxy S II phone,so having them make a Focus S II based on the S III is almost expected at this point.

How do we feel about this if true? On the one hand, the Galaxy series is a huge hit for Samsung and they have stepped up their game in terms of hardware. On the other, here they are again "recycling" for Windows Phone, not exactly differentiating themselves from the likes of Nokia.

On a related note, we just got word from our AT&T ninja that the Focus S has officially gone End of Life (EOL) on us, meaning we can start to expect stores to phase that phone out, especially with the Lumia 900 getting all the attention. That doesn't rule out future updates for the phone by the way, it simply means AT&T is no longer actively selling that device anymore.

How do you folks feel about a Windows Phone S III variant for Windows Phone 8? Sound off in comments. Read more about the Galaxy S3 at AndroidCentral.

Source: WP-LIfe

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Way back in September we reported on three new Windows Phones -- the HTC Ultimate, the HTC Radar and the Samsung Haden --  all appearing in the logs of the app "I'm a WP7!".

As it turns out, it was very accurate. The HTC Ultimate became the Titan (but for Brazil), the Radar of course is very well known today being on T-Mobile and in international markets but that Samsung Haden never really came forth.

For awhile, we thought maybe this was that rumored Samsung LTE device or perhaps something for Sprint. But as it turns out the 4G LTE Samsung phone is actually the "Mandel" (which we're starting to think has been nixed from AT&T's lineup) and of course there's nada from Sprint (or Verizon and T-Mobile.).

Site reader Bailey S. recently had some problems with his Samsung Focus S so he sent it to Samsung for repairs. Evidently there was something wrong with the motherboard so Sammy replaced it and sent the phone back to Bailey. Case closed.

But upon booting up the device for the 1st time, he was greeted with the traditional welcome screen for Windows Phone but instead of SGH-i937 or Focus S it said "Welcome to your SAMSUNG Haden". Even more curious, it says as much in the About screen of the device as well.

So what are we to make of this? The AT&T "code name" for the Focus S was "Kupua" but we're starting to think Samsung's internal device name was, you guessed, "Haden". At least that's our hunch. But why does his phone say "Haden"? We actually have no idea, though if anyone wants to add anything in comments, we're all ears.

Another interesting side note is this phone is completely unbranded with no AT&T software on board. That lends credence to the idea that "Haden" was in case Samsung released this phone internationally (something which never happened) or that "Haden" was for internal testing.

Just some weekend trivia to chew on if you happen to track device names that pop up every once in awhile. Thanks, Bailey, for the email and photos!

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Another day, another odd OS update. This time we're getting word from reader Justin A. that the Focus S and Focus Flash were seen in an AT&T store sporting OS build 7739.25. We guess AT&T could not afford the 0.75 to get 7740? Oh, we jest.

No word on an OS changes or fixes here, though seeing as how close it is to 7740, we surmise that this could be a US version of that update which features the Exchange 2003 email fix. That's cold comfort though for all of us who have the "disappearing keyboard" bug which is addressed, along with other security fixes, in OS build 8107. That build of the OS, which features LTE support and will be found on the Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC TITAN II, began rolling out last week. No word on any US carriers getting that update.

We just checked our Focus S to see if there was an update pending and alas, nothing. Hopefully we'll find out more soon.

Update: We should also note that the Firmware has a slight change (11.11.1), as does the Radio Hardware (0.0.0.6 versus our 0.0.0.0) and a slightly newer Bootloader (5.11.3 versus our 5.10.2.0) meaning this seems like a genuine pending OS update.

Thanks, Justin, for the pic!

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10

AT&T Samsung Focus S Giveaway Winners!

It wasn't easy but we've look through all the entries in the Samsung Focus S giveaway and have identified the winning entry. The contest called for readers to submit thier WPCentral lockscreen wallpaper in this Forums discussion. We were simply amazed at the quality and number of entries submitted. Over 270 entries were submitted and picking the best was tough.

First, we would like to thank AT&T for providing the Samsung Focus S (they were impressed with the quality and volume of entries as well) and the WPCentral Accessory Store for providing the prizes for the runner-ups.  To find out who won, you're gonna have to head past the break.

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Nothing beats more feel good stories for Windows Phone as we countdown to the big day (should you celebrate Christmas of course). We've witnessed the Nokia Lumia 800 taking top spots around the globe in terms of orders/sales. Now it's Amazon's turn with three Windows Phones taking the top three positions (beating multiple Android handsets) on the top rated, contract-bound mobile phones list. We have the HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S (4G), and the HTC Trophy. Take that Google.

Source: Amazon, thanks kooksta for the tip!

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Resting amongst four Android phones and the iPhone 4S you will find the Samsung Focus S listed as one of the five best AT&T Smartphones. CNET gave the Windows Phone a 4/5 star ratings while the average user rating is half a star higher.

According to CNET, the bottom line on the Samsung Focus S is:

Bolstered by a brilliant display and strong hardware specs, the Samsung Focus S is arguably the best Windows Phone ever released.

While CNET recognizes the large screen (described as gorgeous), a good 8mp camera and HSPA+ speeds they feel the thin form factor lacks durability (can't say that we necessarily agree).  Regardless, it's nice to see another Windows Phone catching the spotlight.

source: CNET Thanks goes out to Jason for the tip!

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Though we were a bit critical of the Samsung Focus S's screen, specifically its auto-brightness setting, we'll admit that since version 1.5 of 'Extra Settings' (see our closer look), things have improved dramatically.

Now the app has hit version 1.6 and of course, there is no changelog to report on. But we can assume that things like screen brightness, how white backgrounds are handled and perhaps even haptic feedback have all been improved and tweaked a tad.

We don't have a direct link here since it is hidden, so just watch your Marketplace app for the update.

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The smooth Samsung Focus S (our review) has found itself joining the giant HTC Titan (our review) with being backordered on Amazon Wireless. Both handsets have proved to be popular along with the Nokia Lumia 800, and this news follows what happened on AT&T not so long ago. The Titan is shipping in 8 or 9 days, whereas the Focus S is 1 to 2 weeks, bad news for those who wished to definitely receive one before Christmas from Amazon. This should be of no surprise with the prices being $99.99 and $19.99 respectively.

Source: Amazon Wireless HTC Titan / Samsung Focus S, thanks pwachleman for the heads up!

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It's only fair that since we mentioned the HTC Radar 4G at T-Mobile getting high reviews, we talk about AT&Ts to flagship Windows Phones, the HTC Titan and Samsung Focus S.

Interestingly, the HTC Titan is at number one with five stars and 27 reviews. The Focus S, meanwhile has 49 reviews and an average of 4.8 stars--not too shabby at all. Not only are both rated highly, but the written reviews speak very highly of both devices in glowing terms.

Now in fairness, while the ratings are high, statistically they are small when compared to the 1,500 reviews of Samsung Captivate--so perhaps they are skewed a bit towards the high. But lets not kid ourselves--the admittedly small amount of people who have bought both phones are extremely happy with them. We're hoping AT&T (and T-Mobile) take notice of these reviews and at least for AT&T, start pushing these devices more.

Source: AT&T; Thanks, konaitor, for the tip

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We're pretty sure if you took a tour of the thousands of AT&T stores across the country, you will find tons of sloppy displays, errors, etc. Anyone who has ever managed retail knows the difficulty in trying to control appearance, which is why chains employ internal checks, secret-shoppers, etc.

In that case, perhaps this AT&T store in Florida is not that different and we're just picking on a single case. But using the original Samsung Focus as the display phone for the brand new, much praised Focus S is a bit much (we're forgetting for a second the lack of display card too). And while mistakes and sloppiness like this are sure to happen on occasion, Windows Phone simply cannot afford to have instances like this occurring.

Update: Reader Justin A. sent us this photo from another AT&T store. Here they are mixing up the Focus S for the Flash. Sigh.

Big thanks to Jack F. for the photo!

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There's an interesting discussion going on in the WPCentral Forums concerning HSDPA speeds on the AT&T HTC Titan. Forum Member gtg465x is witnessing faster bandwidth speeds on Android based phone than his HTC Titan. Speeds of 2-3Mbps are being witnessed on the Titan while the Android phones are experiencing 3-4Mbps. In areas where there is advanced backhaul in place the Titan tests at 4Mbps while Android jumps to 8-10Mbps. Likewise, Rob41664 & jawesome are reporting faster speeds with the Focus S over their Titans. According to the discussion, 

After extensive testing, I'm quite positive AT&T is artificially limiting network speed on their version of the Titan by limiting the HSDPA feature set to category 8. The phone hardware of course is able to support HSDPA category 10 features.  

Turns out AT&T has a history of doing this, specifically with the LG Thrill, a "4G" phone set at category 8. People evidently bumped it to 10 and nearly doubled their data throughput. The theoretical maximum throughput for category 10 is 14.1Mbps. The theoretical maximum throughput of category 8 is 7.2Mbps.

So the question is: What is the HSDPA category of AT&T's Windows Phones? We can't actually know, because unlike Anroid, we can't see let alone alter that information. Still, we wanted to see if the Titan was slower than the Focus S.

Dan (NYC) and I (Alabama) both tested out AT&T Titans up against the Samsung Focus S and T-Mobile's HTC Radar (we don't have any Android's here). We both used Bandwidth for the testing and the tests were conducted indoors with the phone untouched during testing. Here's our test results (first number is download speeds, second is upload speeds).

 

  Dan's Titan George's Titan Focus S T-Mobile Radar Test 1 2.29  / .91 2.39 / .57 2.18 / .46 3.73 / 1.01 Test 2 2.06 / .84 2.34 / .54 2.46 / .42 3.86 / 1.10 Test 3 2.23 / .88 2.45 / .78 2.63 / .47 4.33  / .47

From these results, we so no difference between the Focus S and the Titan--the main concern of the original forum thread. It might not have been a fair fight comparing the Radar with the AT&T Windows Phones but it is clear that AT&T's "4G" speeds pale in comparison to T-Mobiles--important if you're considering a new network. Moreover, it is obvious that AT&T "4G" Windows Phones don't really get very fast speeds, whatever their settings may be.

However, if Android devices are testing at 8-10Mbps, or even 4Mbps, could AT&T be dialing back bandwidth on Windows Phone in general with a lower HSDPA category? Or is it something else?

Thanks goes out to Tommy for tipping us on this!

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It looks like the HTC Titan isn't the only AT&T Windows Phone on back order these days. We've received numerous tips in the last thirty minutes from readers who have received emails this afternoon from AT&T with news on their Samsung Focus S order.

Unfortunately the emails weren't shipping confirmations but rather notifications that the Samsung Focus S they ordered is on back order. So far there hasn't been any indication when the Focus S will be back in stock.  Oddly, if you check out AT&T website, the Focus S appears to still be in stock.  

The news comes with mixed blessings.  Nice to see the new Windows Phones flying off the shelves and bad that AT&T wasn't better prepared.  Looking over at Amazon Wireless, they are showing the Focus S as shipping in 1 to 2 weeks. Hopefully, that's a good measure of time and everyone getting the back order emails won't have to wait for long.

Thanks for everyone who tipped us on this and thanks goes out to ninja1043 for the pic!

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The title says it all. If you're one of the lucky folks near a Microsoft Store, you can swing by there on Friday to pick up one of those swanky new second-generation Windows Phones for a super low price of zero dollars (on contract).

Yeah, there's that last bit of being on contract. But if you have even thought about switching to the Death Star aka AT&T even for a aplit second (it's really not that bad), we have to say, picking up the TITAN for nothing? That's a good deal. Heck, we may even pick up a phone or two for family members. Not sure if a store is near you? Here's your store locator.

As a side, who else can't wait to have a Microsoft Store near them? Thanks, Rudy R., for the photo!

Edit: As noted in comments, this may even apply to online orders. Stay tuned on Friday!

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Remember the previous Amazon Wireless penny sale last year? Well, we're having another, and a number of Windows Phones are included from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Amazon is also throwing in a $100 gift card* with each purchase. The handsets that are included are:

Be sure to check out this deal soon should you be interested as the closing date is November 28th.

* Note, you must activate the hot-spot feature/Wifi tethering at time of purchase to get the $100 gift card

Source: Amazon Wireless, thanks atander for the heads up!

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14

Samsung Focus S keyboard oddity

There is a discussion going on in the WPCentral.com's forums on an oddity with the Samsung Focus S's keyboard. Apparently if you get to typing really fast a lag time is created between the tapping of the key and hearing the "tap" sound.

I don't doubt that such a lag time is happening but my typing skills aren't fast enough to notice any lag time at all. The keystrokes register as you type so I'm left to ask, does such a lag time matter?

Most will be concentrating on what is being typed instead of whether or not the "tapping" sound is in sync with the keyboard strokes.  I can't say that this is a major issue or even a bug because not everyone will type fast enough to notice.  So... is this a bug the will slow down your typing or just an oddity with the Samsung Focus S?

If you've experienced this lag time or simply want to chime in on the discussion, head on over to this Forums discussion and let us know what you think?

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A question many have asked and we are now seeing indications that the new Windows Phones from Samsung, the Focus S and Focus Flash, have Gorilla Glass.

For those not familiar, Gorilla Glass is super strong, scratch resistance, super glass from Corning. Here's Corning's demo of the glass at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

Gsmarena and Infotech are both reporting that the Samsung Focus Flash is fitted with Gorilla Glass. The Samsung Focus S is being reported as having Gorilla Glass via Samsung's Online Support. Granted online support reps have been known to be misunderstood, but with the Samsung Focus S being patterned after the Galaxy II (which has Gorilla Glass) this isn't too far a stretch.

We have inquiries out to Samsung and if we hear different, we'll pass it on. Samsung has strong ties with Gorilla Glass and Corning using the damage resistant glass in Windows Phones, tablets, and Android devices. It shouldn't be any surprise if Samsung's latest Windows Phones aren't following suit.

via: XDADevelopers  Thanks goes out to @AndreHBuss for the Twitter tip!

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63

AT&T Samsung Focus S - Review

On November 6th AT&T released the Samsung Focus Flash and Focus S to their Windows Phone line up. We've already taken a look at the Focus Flash and now turn our attention to Focus S.

Similar in design to the Samsung Galaxy Android devices, the Focus S sports a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen. While the surface area of the S is large, it's size is diminished by being only .33" thin. The Focus S feels comfortable in the hand, has a very nice screen and comes with all the bells and whistles Windows Phone Mango has to offer.

The Focus S's pricing point and features will make it a high-end Windows Phone when compared to the Samsung Focus Flash or HTC Radar. The S is a solid performer and if you're a fan of large screen, well built Windows Phones the Focus S a very good option to pursue. To find out all the details on the Samsung Focus S, just make the jump past the break.

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For those you bought a Samsung Focus S, you'll of course know it's SIM locked to the AT&T network. For those who travel abroad and don't want to rely on AT&T's roaming plans or maybe for those who want to just permanently use it overseas, you can now pay for a SIM unlock.

The service comes by way of 'Samsung IMEI Unlock' which takes payment via Paypal and SWReg and sends the code "nearly instantly". While prices for Samsung devices start at $20, the Focus S will hit your wallet for $29.75.

That's not exactly cheap but for the freedom of not being tied to AT&T, we suppose it's not a bad option. Of course you can always try and haggle with AT&T to do this for free, but last we check they like to have a six-month wait policy before conceding the code. So, options are nice to have.

Source: SamsungIMEIUnlock.com; Thanks, @djdurance, for the tip!

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Looking for a good deal on the new Samsung Focus Flash or Focus S? Got a penny? If so, head on over to AmazonWireless where not only can you find the Focus S for $149.99 and the Flash for $0.01.

The prices do require the two year service contract and the out of contract price for the Flash will run you $339.99 (not too shabby) or $589.99 for the Focus S. The not-so-good news about all this is that according to the listing, the Samsung Focus S is on back order but Amazon expects it to ship 8 to 9 days.

You can find the Samsung Focus S here at AmazonWireless and the Focus Flash here.

We're still working on full reviews of both new Windows Phones but in the mean time you can check out our first impressions videos on the Samsung Focus S and Samsung Focus Flash to give you a feel for these new phone.

Thanks goes out to everyone who tipped us on this!

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9

Extra Settings setting updated

The Extra Settings setting is a new feature on the Samsung Focus S and Flash. As we mentioned earlier it covers Auto Display Intensity, Key Vibration Feedback and Echo Cancellation. It is also apparently being treated as an application instead of a firmware feature in that it was updated this morning via the Marketplace.

Along with the Extra Settings, the High Fidelity Positioning settings were updated as well. So far the updates have only come through on the Samsung Focus S and not the Focus Flash. As to what the update covered, no clue. With the settings not changing it was likely a bug fix or a test to see if it could be done.

We have heard one report that the Focus S's screen seems brighter when set to automatic and I have to admit mine does look a little better after updating. More than likely it's coincidence in that our eyes are getting used to the screen.

If you've received the updates and have noticed a difference, feel free to chime in over in this Forums discussion or in the comments below.

Thanks goes out to pinbak and Dave for the tip!

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