Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
Today, large companies, especially corporate giants like Samsung, do not surprise users with extraordinary products...
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Samsung at MWC 2009
It’s an open secret that in 2009 Nokia are going to focus solely on online services. At the same time Samsung have no experience in this field at all – in 2008 they didn’t even support any developer communities. Why? They simply didn’t have an own operating system which they could offer as a development environment to third-party companies, since the way they implemented cross-platform Java engine was extremely quaint. In fact there has never been a real application market for Samsung-branded phones, even these days; and seeing the abundance of apps for Nokia’s and Sony Ericsson’s phones, it really appears that this is the chink in Samsung’s armor. That’s why they have decided to deal with it.
Their new developer support programme is called Samsung Mobile Innovator; effectively, it was launched back in October 2008 for Nokia’s S60 platform and now they are throwing in support for Windows Mobile for good measure. Some time in March they are going to open a Chinese forum (Why Chinese? More developers over there? Cheaper to support?) and start their global campaign, offering the following benefits:
Furthermore, earlier this year they opened a proprietary app store.
For the time being the store doesn’t impress at all, as it offers a variety of free and quasi-free apps for S60, which isn’t all that different from dozens of other stores that exist out there. We’ll see whether it will work out for them.
But let’s move on to the key products they have brought for this Congress. Basically, in the first half of 2009 Samsung will be banking on three phones, one of which is dubbed as “the hero of MWC” - I’m most positive you’re already familiar with the Samsung S8300 UltraTouch from our in-depth review, so we are not going to go through its positioning and functionality all over again here. However, this phone isn't for everyone , especially given that it’s got a touchscreen-less counterpart. All in all, it’s a niche product that will enjoy a massive advertising campaign, though. But that's quite an introduction already – learn more about the S8300 UltraTouch in our review.
The counterpart, that has been in the center of many speculations lately, is the S7350 also known as “Vianden”. I suppose it’s very easy to spot the resemblance between the S7350 and the S8300 UltraTouch, although the former doesn’t have a touch-sensitive display and instead carriers a standard mechanical navigation cluster; luckily its display isn’t much worse at 240x400 pixel resolution. All in all, it’s a breath of fresh air in the Ultra line-up, specifically the segment aimed at the mass-market, and a true successor to the Samsung D900/D900i.
Let’s run through the last update to the Ultra line-up, so that we won’t have to get back to it later. The Samsung S7220 is a candybar-shaped phone and as you probably have already guessed it carries on the heritage of the Samsung U800. In my opinion, the fact that they have decided to keep the 5 MP camera onboard is great news, since they have cut only its video recording department a little (setting the resolution cap to QVGA). All in all, it’s the most conventional phone out of this trio, as it sports a QVGA-resolution display, a standard suite of applications and a metallic plate on the front fascia. On paper, it may seem that it’s a great all-rounder, however in reality the abundance of plastic in its design makes the S7220 look slightly worse and the soft keys aren’t as comfortable as we’d like them to be. But other than that, it’s a likable phone that will definitely appeal to the ordinary consumer plus it’ll be supported by an intensive advertising campaign.
Now that we are done with the Ultra series, although some of these phones won’t be referred to this way, let’s take a closer look at the first phone in the renewed TouchWiz range – the Samsung S5600 that boasts a touch-sensitive screen, plastic casing, and bears some resemblance to HTC’s Windows Mobile products. Its software has been significantly amplified: now it includes widget-laden screen and a wealth of extra utilities. Personally, I’m not crazed about this phone, as it won’t be a wild success, nor will it be a complete failure; although it appears to be a worthy rival to the cheap LG KP500.
Samsung’s music-minded line-up has picked up two newcomers that look different but are totally identical inside. The two phones comprising the new Beat series are DJ (M7600) and Disc (M6710) respectively. Since I really don’t want to bother you with a laundry list of these phones’ specs, I’ll just say that as far as hardware and software go they are exactly the same as the S8300 UltraTouch, coming equipped with touch-sensitive 2.8-inch AMOLED displays showing up to 240x400 pixels. The “DJ” codename stems from the application it carries onboard that allows mixing any music track with your own voice and other sounds. Although I doubt it’ll be widely popular seeing that similar apps implemented by other phone makers didn’t garner any significant following.
The audio department in these phones is handled by Bang&Olufsen hardware and on balance they sound pretty good. I think I’m going to stop right here because these phones aren’t made for the mass-market – unfortunately, that’s the fate all music-playing handsets from Samsung share, and further complicating things is the B&O label on their casings that narrows down their audiences even more. Apart from all that, 350-400 Euro will easily buy you some better phones. So, all things considered, the DJ and Disc aren’t the best ways to go for an ordinary user.
Moving on to the Omnia that has just received a juicy update codenamed "Omnia Reloaded". In a word, seeing how well the original phone had been selling, Samsung decided to offer a slightly revamped version of the phone. They polished the Omnia’s software, added some new widgets, amplified the default feature pack, changed the casing color, refurbished the back panel and threw a memory card into the box.
However the real centerpiece of their whole show is the Samsung i8910, also known as "Omnia HD". It doesn’t fit into any existing line-up and doesn’t have Windows Mobile onboard. In fact it is based on S60 5th edition, being the second phone to adopt this OS after Nokia’s 5800 XpressMusic. Everyone knows that Samsung haven’t been doing great with their S60-powered solutions – not that they haven’t generated any sales, but they have always seemed to lack something; probably charisma, hard to say. The Omnia HD is another attempt to offer a likable phone that will turn things around for Samsung on this front; see for yourself – it's packed in a metal casing, features sold build quality, a huge 3.8-inch AMOLED display with 360x640 pixel resolution (arguably, the best screen we’ve seen in mobile devices to date) that will do both for watching movies and browsing web/pictures. On top of that it houses an 8 MP camera with HD video recording (probably its most touted feat), 16 Gb of bundled memory, stereo-speakers and a standard 3.5 mm audio jack. Long story short, it’s got everything a tech-savvy user might ever need. But to my mind its main selling point is the screen, while everything else is not as important. Learn more about it in our exclusive First look article:
The Blue Eath, whose casing is built from recycled plastic and the back cover is occupied by a solar battery may be considered as Samsung's blatant green PR project. Among all other tihngs, its box is made of "clean" materials, plus its software includes so-called Eco Mode that adjusts the display brightness. Its bundled motion sensor also shows how much CO2 would have been released into the atmosphere had you covered the same distance by car. It's got a variety of other similar feats, such as a screensaver that displays how many trees you have "saved" so far. All in all, it's an amusing product that will generate some chatter, but nothing more.
Ôîòîãðàôèè ñî ñòåíäà Samsung
Published 16 February 2009/p>
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