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 3GSM Congress – slim solutions
Unlike other vendors, over at Samsung they have been entering exhibitions, year in and year out, only to demonstrate their «showpieces» dubbed as commercial samples, while not intended for making it to the retail. This year will see not so many units of this kind – the emphasis is laid on solutions, pretty good for being marketed and what is more, hitting shelves of stores in the near future. To my mind, quantity and quality of announced Samsung-branded products is very intriguing – in some fields the company breaks through and marks a minor revolution with its newcomers. For convenience’s sake they could be divided into three major lines exhibited at the company’s booth: Ultra Edition II range, Ultra Multimedia, and also Samsung F700 coming from the latter line-up. Significance-wise Samsung F700 may be compared to the release of no less than Windows Mobile 6 – let us examine it under a magnifier.
Samsung F700. Solutions running on Windows Mobile differ from each other by design, availability/absence of thumbboard, touch screen, amount of third-party applications they come pre-installed with, occasionally maker’s brand and price curve. But it is the most simplified way of looking at these devices. What does unite Windows Mobile-powered communicators is the operating system, which dictates copycat interface layouts and core functionality. In a nutshell, if you have gotten the hang of one WM-based smartphone, then rest assured, you will master any other one. However there is no way to overlook a great many of people warded off by “hardships” they are going to encounter while getting used to such devices, therefore they prefer going for ordinary handsets, devices not burdened with quirky user interfaces.
In this regard, it will be really interesting to know the data gathered by Mobile Research Group, saying that about 54 percent of smartphone users are not aware of… being owners of a smartphone. People claim it to be a handset, rather than a communicator or a smartphone. Another thing of note is that consumers with “pureblooded” handsets in their hands prove to be at fault in 10 percent of cases and confuse their devices with smartphones. Overall, the “smartphone” term is permanently linked to Nokia’s solutions alone in the minds of 92 percent of users. I have to mention, that for techi the figures will be different, more consistent. But right here and right now we are talking about the market on the whole, aren’t we? Events take a depressing turn among those who called their smartphones a handset – more than a half of them are planning on purchasing a “less sophisticated device, not so challenging to master and manage”. Without digging deeper into the core of the problem, we can state a fact that existing products are quite complicated for the end-user and addition of new trinkets and features to interfaces only make solutions even worse in terms of ease of use. Over at Nokia, for example, they clearly see this issue and make attempts to simplify the menu, get it to be easier to read and better laid out, they also upload interactive guides to the devices’ features. Every manufacturer pins his hopes on the guess that the user will spend some time on getting to know his gadget and in future will feel at ease with this type of solutions, won’t be put off from purchasing another smartphone. However, in the struggle between the consumer’s laziness and lengthy manuals and tips uploaded on handsets, it is laziness that comes out on top. This means that new ways of communication with buyers should be taken, and over at Samsung they have gotten a very solid insight into that.
Having picked Windows OS as the baseline, the vendor has come up with his own interface as an add-on, which looks almost akin to that found on Samsung’s ordinary phones. A plain, yet beautiful idea – you want to take advantage of everything that Windows Mobile brings to the table, but don’t like the user interface, then go for the standard Samsung’s interface. This approach ensures distinctive character of the product, makes it stand out among other solutions present on the market and meanwhile maintains compatibility with applications, features etc. Hence the manufacturer wins consumers’ loyalty, sways towards the mass market.
Another achievement here is a precise calculation by the company – apart from interface it is essential to offer captivating specifications, and the F700 simply oozes mouth-watering options, below you can find a brief list of what it has to offer.
The first thing catching your eyes is the device’s dimensions. For such a solid selection of features it is very portable and pretty much in line with Sony Ericsson K810i, which measures up at 104õ46õ17 mm. Bluntly speaking, this QWERTY-equipped communicator has shifted into the class of ordinary handsets from the category of “mobile bricks”. The display could not be positioned any more beautifully, 5 Mpix auto-focus armed camera and support for 3G networks – all this looks more like a dream. At the same time Samsung doesn’t present this solution as a pure communicator and prefers referring to it as an Ultra Multimedia flagship. This device is also missing in Smartphones category. Overall, this way of positioning is something new, we will see how it turns out.
Among other unique things about the F700, the foremost is that Samsung’s interface is tuned in a way to be managed single-handedly without drawing the stylus, on tapping the screen VibeTonz technology springs into action, creating sense of touch, tactile feedback.
Such concept of interface customization is realized by many; however only a few companies are developing this field – the other day, SPB Software released its own vision of user interface layout for solutions powered by Windows Mobile – SPB Mobile Shell. In fact this is a scaled-down version of what Samsung has done, but for 30 USD the user gets a wholly different looks for his smartphone. Though, take a look at the application’s interface and then face it off against the default Windows Mobile UI.
Tentative price for the F700 will make 750-800 USD, with its release scheduled for the turn of August – middle of September. Photos from the exhibition, along with some video are arriving shortly, make sure you don’t miss a comprehensive review on the device’s abilities!
As of today, Ultra Multimedia range includes 5 solutions – from the most unsophisticated Samsung F300 Ultra Music to Samsung F700. In order not to repeat the same words said about the F300, we recommend that you read its review that was published at Mobile-Review.com a while ago. It contains both a close-up of its positioning and all of its pros and cons.
Samsung F500 Ultra Video – another slim dual face solution, whose multimedia display measures 2.4 inches diagonally. The best thing about the F500 is the result of struggle for optimal volume of built-in memory that took place within Samsung – as they settled on 400 Mb (add microSD memory expansion slot to that). Unlike the F300, this model is presented as a handset for watching video, whose major trump is DivX support. Its unique swivel design allows the screen to rotate away from the controls to adjust the viewing or form a stand to place the device down on a stationary surface, which is very convenient.
Samsung F510 – a replica of Samsung F500, adding only mobile DVB-H television support to the feature pack. Release of two stand-alone solutions is justified, in light of the fact that the fate of mobile television is still to be decided, and, accordingly, many users are not ready to pay a premium for such functionality on board.
Samsung F520 – a product that grabs our eyes due to being the first Samsung-branded device to ship with dual-slider mechanism inside (the market has seen only Nokia N95 featuring the same concept to day). Its attractions include the fact that it is another smartphone basing off Windows Mobile, coming bundled with a 3 Mpix camera and a 480x272 pixels touch sensitive screen. It is a shame, though, that the handset is due out in September and by then will have already been dated or it might not make it to the market at all. This model is particularly interesting for it is one of the company’s first experiments with innovations for Windows Mobile.
Samsung ULTRA Edition II
The line of “slim” handsets released under Ultra tagline became popular on the market in not time and up until now these handsets are in fairly good demand, which is why the vendor still counts on them. The revamp of the range, however, isn’t just another facelift and deserves a special notice. First, the manufacturer gives Ultra models an appropriate index – now their titles start with “U”. Previously, for the original Ultra line-up, they introduced uTrack, uMenu tags at the last minute, whereas within the present line “Ultra” is played upon in many ways, which is overall a good move.
The handsets utilize Samsung Smart Surface Mounting Technology (SSMT), developed for the first Ultra range. Each of the devices belonging to the second wave comes equiepped with digital audio amplifier by Bang&Olufsen (what is that we are yet to figure out). For PC synchronization purposes there is Quick PC Sync app.
The last characteristic touch of these handsets is Samsung Optimized Power Usage Solution (OPUS), ensuring more effective battery usage – thanks to this technology the talk time grows by 10 percent. Anyhow, this is what the manufacturer claims. Taking into account the fact that power consumption has always been a big issue for Samsung-branded phones, a 10-percent enhancement is not something out of this word and can be easily reached. The same technologies, though, are utilized by Nokia and Sony Ericsson, yet they apply no big words.
Ultra Edition 10.9 (U600) and Ultra Edition 12.1 (U700)
Being a successor to the flagship model known as Samsung D900, the U700 gets to be the current Samsung’s top-of-the-line offering. The only things that set the U700 and the U600 apart is slight different casing size and 3G support. Some distictions no doubt lie in software field as well, since these two models make use of different platforms, yet these are not worth of a special notice. All in all the changes log here counts for something : 3.2 Mpix camera, added namecards recognition, enhanced media player. Samsung Ultra Edition 10.9 (U600) comes in a couple of color schemes, including sapphire blue, garnet red and pure gold. I should stress it, that over at Samsung they bet on the U600 more than on the U600 – hence this model will be produced in larger amounts and will be hitting the market prior to the senior solution. The sales commencement is already at hand – the U600 is slated to start shipping in March at a price of about 400 Euro, while its elder sibling will cost you 50 Euro more. Take a look at the devices’ specs for yourself.
Ultra Edition 10.9 (U600) specifications
Ultra Edition 12.1 (U700) specifications
Ultra Edition 9.6 (U300) — all-metal folder
Continuing the Samsung D830, the U300 packs a 3 Mpix camera and huge internal display in a casing that has kept barely-there dimensions, however they didn’t take care of memory expansion, thus you are down to deal with the 70 Mb of built-in storage. The model turns out to be fetching owing to being this skinny, and of course the metal face plate adds to the overall positive impression. The U300 arrives in the market in March at a price of 320-330 Euro.
Ultra Edition 5.9 (U100) — most malnourished
Samsung Ultra Edition 5.9 (U100) is officially dubbed as the world’s thinnest phone, adopting this title from the X820 that belong to the original Ultra Edition line. Ultra Edition 5.9 (U100) comes included with a 3 Mpix camera and 1,93-inch big color TFT display, while its music player provides 11 hours of playback time.
This is what the manufacturer has to say about his offspring. A thing of note is that this time the X820 got steamrollered one more time, so that the U100 is a little on the wide side, and not particularly convenient, to my mind. Lack of memory expansion slot, as well as the volume of bundled memory, with such a camera onboard frustrates a bit. To put it simply, “slimness” is what everything is about in the case with the U100, which not always brings about benefits in my opinion. Slotted for March the U100 will cost about 260-280 Euro.
No hype here – two new products, specifically Samsung I600 and Samsung I520v (the latter is a slider based on S60 3rd edition FP1) are known as Samsung’s smartphones. The review of Samsung I600 will be available at our portal in the next few days, as well as an article on the other gadget. Without running a few steps forward, we give you a snippet taken out of the press-release, featuring specs and overview of the solutions.
Samsung i520 smartphone – an ultra-slim slider measuring 17,9 mm and weighting 99g, powered by Symbian OS version 9.2 (S60 3rd Edition Feature Package1) with support for HSDPA allowing for up to 1,8 Mbit/s data transfer speeds. Apart from that, the i520 is armed with a touch sensitive keyboard.
Samsung i520 comes included with a 2 Mpix camera, Bluetooth, 2,3-inch wide-screen display, capable of showing a web-page as a desktop PC. The device’s interface is built on a reworked Vodafone UI (TPP VCP), acclimatized to Symbian/S60 operating system. Being a powerhouse in an ultra-thin casing, this smartphone is a perfect tool for users willing to chat, read and handle e-mail with their mobile devices.
Samsung Ultra Messaging i600 powered by Microsoft ® Windows Mobile ® 5.0, the first 3G smartphone with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) support. Measuring only 11.8mm and weighing a mere 99g, the Samsung Ultra Messaging i600 is the world's thinnest 3G smartphone with a full QWERTY key board .
The Samsung Ultra Messaging i600 is the first smartphone in Asia Pacific and Europe that supports the HSDPA network for faster data transfer speeds, as well as seamless communications through high-speed connectivity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR. It is also the first smartphone to support web applications such as podcasting and RSS Feeder.
A key feature of the Ultra Messaging i600 is its QWERTY keyboard with wheel key, perfectly designed for composing messages or e-mails.
A bit more on WiMAX
Samsung has also demonstrated two WiMAX-enabled products – the SPH-P9000 and the SPH-M8100, meant for the US market in the first place.
Published 12 February 2007
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