Samsung steals BlackBerry 10’s thunder with water-proof Galaxy Xcover 2 phone

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Korean giant Samsung Electronics, the undisputed leader of the smartphones domain, has stolen the thunder right out of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry 10 launch (scheduled for January 30) by unveiling the Samsung Xcover 2, a water- and dust-resistant rugged smartphone.

Samsung calls it the ideal smartphone for active explorers who are enjoying outdoor lifestyles and seeking a durable mobile device with essential smartphone capabilities.

This smartphone closely follows on the heels of the launch of the Sony Xperia Z .

Of course there are other water-resistant phones in the market, including the Motorola Defy and Defy Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy Xcover, the predecessor to the Galaxy Xcover 2.

But what makes this launch particularly interesting is that Samsung chose to unveil it just days ahead of the scheduled BlackBerry 10 launch on January 30. Analysts were actually expecting the rumoured Xcover 2 to be launch at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain (February 25-28).

The mid-range smartphone is IP67 certified, which means that “the Galaxy Xcover 2 is optimised to endure against the most rugged outdoor conditions, whether you’re at work or play,” says Samsung.

“You can now take photos under water with the direct camera key, hold on tight to your device with the strap holder and not worry about dropping your phone as the battery cover lock gives added protection,” the Korean company said in a statement.

“Protected against the elements, it is dust and sand proof. It’s even water resistant to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes (IP67 Certified),” the company said.

The new smartphone runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) layered with Motion UI and takes over from its younger sibling, Galaxy Xcover.

So it seems that Samsung will go to any length (or waterproof depth) to retain itsleadership status in the smartphones domain. While its Galaxy S3 (and the rumoured Galaxy S4) are pitted right against Apple’s iPhone 5, it is continuing its philosophy of launching numerous models to keep every kind of smartphone enthusiast interested.

The Xcover 2 comes equipped with pre-downloaded Google map data, an enhanced GPS + GLONASS which shortens the satellite signal detection by up to 20 per cent to track your location more accurately, LED Flash next to the camera which can be used like a torch and a battery capacity of 570 hours (1,700mAh), making the GALAXY Xcover 2, in Samsung’s own words, the best possible smartphone partner for outdoor exploration.

The phone also has the Cardio Trainer Pro workout application, which will apparently help us achieve our fitness goals by creating a tailored training program, checking our progress and recording our track and speed. We won’t talk much about that, though.

For everyday rugged use, Samsung says users can expect the powerful performance characteristic of a Samsung smartphone with the robust Galaxy Xcover 2 shell.

In addition, the phone looks cool, but Samsung has not announced its pricing – yet. Perhaps we’ll know at next month’s MWC event in Barcelona.

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