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14/02/2011 By http://www.nbr.co.nz ( Source: http://www.nbr.co.nz )

Galaxy II supports Telecom, Vodafone's HSPA+ turbocharged 3G

The annual World Mobile Congress in Barcelona has seen some interesting gadgets unveilled today, including Sony-Ericsson's lastest - the PlayStation/Android hybrid that is the Experia Play.

Also demo'd today were two newies from Samsung, again both running on Google's Android software.

One was the Galaxy II, the follow-up to the Galaxy 9000 - one of the highest profile Android phones, pushed here both Telecom and Vodafone NZ.

The Galaxy II (officially, the GT-I9100) is thinner than its predessor (at 0.85cm, Samsung claims it's the thinnest smartphone in the world.

HSPA+ support
More excitingly, for speed-freaks, at least, the Galaxy II features support for HSPA+, a technology that turbocharges 3G (and which so far has only been supported by data sticks).

Telecom and Vodafone have both recently added HSPA+ support to their respective 3G networks, allowing for landline-like theoretical top speeds of 21Mbit/s (although promised real-life speeds are a third that, and as ever depend on network traffic, your proximity to the nearest celltower, lunar cycles and other factors).

The Galaxy II is also notable for its roomy 4.3-inch touchscreen display, which dwarfs that of the iPhone.

The OS is Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread. Check out the full specs on Samsung's official site here.

Overall, it looks like a stunner.

That's the good news.

The bad: there's no New Zealand release date set. Yet.

Tab II takes it to 10.1 inches
Also sneak-previewed in Barclelona was the Samsung Galaxy Tab II - the successor, or sibling, to the Galaxy Tab 1.

The Tab II isn't due until mid-year, and its full feature list is still under wraps, but it does feature a 10.1-inch touchscreen (the Tab 1 has a 7-inch; Apple's iPad 9.7).

And it also boasts Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb which (unlike other versions of Android, which were originally aimed at cellphones) is tooled specifically for tablets.

The first-generation Tab was spotted at Vodafone HQ ahead of Christmas (see photographic evidence here) but little was your correspondent to know that was the last he would see of it as Samsung and Vodafone dragged their heels on a review unit.

The Tab's profile has been subterranean, with many not even realising it's available in New Zealand (though its very availability does put it one-up on the Vodafone Australia-only Dell Streak).

Let's hope a little more oomph goes into the Tab II, and Android tablets from other contenders. iPad needs some competition.

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