Samsung is the master of creating an infinite amount of product variants based off of one sole hardware platform. Take the Galaxy S for example. It’s available from all four of America’s largest operators, each of them tweaking it slightly in attempt to show some form of differentiation. Their strategy is paying off too since the South Korean firm claims to have sold over 10 million of these devices in just 7 months. Today Samsung is adding yet another Galaxy S variant, and this one is radically different in terms of components. It’s called the Galaxy SL. The famous OLED screen is now gone, most likely due to capacity constraints, and is now replaced by a “Super Clear LCD”, luckily with the same 800 x 480 pixel resolution. The Samsung Hummingbird processor, which packed a 1 GHz Cortex A8 next to a PowerVR SGX540, a combination that proved itself as one of the fastest system on chip designs currently on the market, has been swapped for a Texas Instruments OMAP 3630. On the aesthetic side the Galaxy SL is also slightly thicker, closer to 11 mm rather than the svelte 10 mm of the Galaxy S, and it’s also 12 grams heavier. This is due to a new 1650 mAh battery. Best thing about the SL? Android 2.2 is on board.
The question of whether or not you should pick one up isn’t terribly important. If you were going to pick up a Galaxy S, you may as well get the SL if it’s cheaper. What’s interesting is why Samsung even bothered to create this thing in the first place? Rumor has it that Samsung is going to supply Apple with half the processors they make in 2011, so there’s one possible explanation for the OMAP swap, but the screen … that’s the kicker. You want your customers to be impressed when they first light up your device, so why sell your best asset?
Hopefully this will all make sense at Mobile World Congress. Samsung is probably going to allocate all their OLED screens for the dual core packing Galaxy S 2.
[Photo above from GSM Arena, who managed to snag a Galaxy SL and are comparing it to the original. Check out their site for more images.]