As we’ve seen, the Samsung Galaxy S phones are darned impressive, definitely some of the best phones out on the market today. Then the company announced to do something very similar to Apple and make a strictly media playing device, without telephony. Meet the Galaxy Player.

Of course, this isn’t the American, or even worldwide version. This is the Korean version which will ship later this month only in Korea. It’s big and fat, and feels bigger than the Fascinate. As you can see below, they’re about the same size.

That thickness, which is the exact opposite of what I expected, is for two reasons: first, the Galaxy Player uses an LCD display using Samsung’s SuperClear technology, not SuperAMOLED like the Galaxy S phones. This makes the glass thicker, and thus the device thicker. Secondly, the Korean model supports wireless TV, which is available in South Korea, so they can watch TV anywhere and anytime.

Why not SuperAMOLED? Low supply, one Samsung representative told me, which confirms growing suspicions that OLED in general is in short supply. A marketing person was quick to point out that the current display is significantly brighter than OLED screens, which would make viewing media easier in the sunlight, as good a reason as any if you live in Korea and want to watch TV outside.

I played around with the Galaxy Player, and it’s blazingly fast. It uses the same TouchWiz 3.0 software as the Galaxy S phones, and is essentially identical in every way, except that it doesn’t have the phone. That may be the best thing about the Galaxy Player, especially for iPhone owners, or for someone who wants Android but isn’t necessarily ready or willing to switch phones.

There’s no current set price or release date for the Galaxy Player in the US or worldwide outside of Korea.

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.