Ina Fried

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With Latest Galaxy, Samsung Looks to Project Its Android Lead

Taking away yet another potential niche for competitors, Samsung on Sunday offered up a beefed-up version of its projector-packing Galaxy Beam device.

The Android phone uses the built-in projector to turn a blank wall into a giant display — up to 50 inches. It’s an update to a product of the same name introduced back in 2010.

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It’s one of the signs we see from Samsung and rivals like LG. Amid an increasingly competitive Android market, device makers are offering smartphones in every conceivable shape and size in an attempt to stand out. It will be interesting to watch how this strategy plays out this year.

In addition to the new Galaxy Beam, Samsung also introduced an updated version of its 7-inch and 10-inch Galaxy Tabs. The company also updated two existing phones last week, the Galaxy Mini 2 and Galaxy Ace 2.

Unlike past years, Samsung isn’t having a big press conference of its own, but it has unveiled several phones over the last couple of weeks. The company had already said it won’t use Mobile World Congress to show off the successor to its flagship Galaxy S II, though it is expected to debut later in the first half of the year.

As for the Galaxy Beam, Samsung says it has a chance to succeed where past projector phones have failed to catch on, because it is thinner and doesn’t make compromises on phone quality.

“We wanted to stress the fact it’s a projector, but we wanted to stress the fact it is a phone first,” said Will Bin, Samsung’s manager of smartphone product strategy, in a briefing with reporters.

The device is due to ship in the second quarter, though no pricing was announced. The company did pare back the memory a bit and use a lower-end ST Ericsson processor, likely to help compensate for the cost of the projector.

Update: Meanwhile, judging by the giant posters at the Fira Palace hotel, I’m thinking that the rumored 10-inch Galaxy Note is also real.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google