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Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look

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Samsung at MWC 2009

Its 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 didnt even support any developer communities. Why? They simply didnt 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 Nokias and Sony Ericssons phones, it really appears that this is the chink in Samsungs armor. Thats 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 Nokias 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:

  • Lab.Dev provides access to emulators of various phones;
  • Market.Dev marketing assistance;
  • Ask.dev exclusive and confidential help in application development, individual Q&A sessions with developers (free of charge, but only for key developers);

Furthermore, earlier this year they opened a proprietary app store.

For the time being the store doesnt impress at all, as it offers a variety of free and quasi-free apps for S60, which isnt all that different from dozens of other stores that exist out there. Well see whether it will work out for them.

But lets 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 - Im most positive youre 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 its got a touchscreen-less counterpart. All in all, its 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.

Review of GSM/UMTS-handset Samsung S8300 Ultra Touch

The counterpart, that has been in the center of many speculations lately, is the S7350 also known as Vianden. I suppose its very easy to spot the resemblance between the S7350 and the S8300 UltraTouch, although the former doesnt have a touch-sensitive display and instead carriers a standard mechanical navigation cluster; luckily its display isnt much worse at 240x400 pixel resolution. All in all, its 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.

Lets run through the last update to the Ultra line-up, so that we wont 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, its 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 its a great all-rounder, however in reality the abundance of plastic in its design makes the S7220 look slightly worse and the soft keys arent as comfortable as wed like them to be. But other than that, its a likable phone that will definitely appeal to the ordinary consumer plus itll be supported by an intensive advertising campaign.

Now that we are done with the Ultra series, although some of these phones wont be referred to this way, lets 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 HTCs Windows Mobile products. Its software has been significantly amplified: now it includes widget-laden screen and a wealth of extra utilities. Personally, Im not crazed about this phone, as it wont be a wild success, nor will it be a complete failure; although it appears to be a worthy rival to the cheap LG KP500.

Samsungs 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 dont want to bother you with a laundry list of these phones specs, Ill 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 itll be widely popular seeing that similar apps implemented by other phone makers didnt 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 Im going to stop right here because these phones arent made for the mass-market unfortunately, thats 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 arent 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 Omnias 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 doesnt fit into any existing line-up and doesnt have Windows Mobile onboard. In fact it is based on S60 5th edition, being the second phone to adopt this OS after Nokias 5800 XpressMusic. Everyone knows that Samsung havent been doing great with their S60-powered solutions not that they havent 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 weve 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, its 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:

First look at Samsung Omnia HD (i8910)

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.

Samsung

Samsung B5702:

Samsung B2100:

Samsung C5212:

Samsung C3110:

Samsung C3010:

Samsung C3050:

Samsung E2210:

Samsung E2100:

Samsung S6700:

Samsung S7220:

Samsung S7350:

Samsung S3110:

Samsung i7410:

Related links

First look at Samsung Omnia HD (i8910)

 

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 16 February 2009/p>

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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