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Samsung smartphones at CeBIT 2005

Samsung has announced only one smartphone at CeBIT 2005 and other developments in this field were available on the company's stand. Many of the products will finally reach the market since the company considers this direction attractive.

Let's start with a product relating smartphones indirectly. It is run by Windows CE 5.0, but has no wireless connection module integrated. That is Nexio XP40 extending the NEXIO line, the company positions the device as a Wireless Hand PC. Central processor unit is Intel PXA270 520 MHz, 2D accelerator (you can gain more detailed information about the accelerator on the manufacturer's site), 128 MB RAM. The screen manufactured by the company has the resolution of 800x480 pixels. That is pointed in the screen's specifications and the company stand told 1024x768 pixels were also supported (a user may choose one of four resolutions). Interface set is close to the maximum. There is a USB-host (a possibility to attach USB-peripherals), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Compact Flash slot, a cable for transmitting images onto an external screen (VGA and XVGA resolutions). Only SD/MMC slot is lacking. The battery is capacious of 2000 mAh (and the previous one - 1500 mAh) and optionally a 8800 mAh battery will be available. The device is 155x91x13.1 mm in size weighting 240 grams. The product seems interesting and no rivals technically surpassing XP40 come to mind.

Specification Samsung i300

As for me the i300 is one of the best products in its class, so, let's have a closer look at it. At the exhibition we managed to have a word with Samsung's product manager Lee Ryan being responsible for this product and the whole GSM smartphone line. Thus we gained extra details on the device.

Really the device happened to be smaller than it seemed. It lies comfortably in a hand and the assembly quality is rather good - that is a black qualitative plastic (another colour solution will also be available) with no backlash. The first thing to tell about is the wheel. First, it may be pressed in four directions and an acting button is in the center of the circle. The joystick is lighted with violet, as it's seen in the picture:

Second, it is rolled both clockwise and anticlockwise having a soft comfortable motion. It helps regulating volume level while reproducing music or fast scrolling a list of available compositions. We were ensured that in other applications a user will be able to set actions for it by his wish. In general the wheel seemed comfortable and functional; moreover we won't see similar solutions for smartphones in the nearest future.

The following elements are placed on the left side - a headset connector, volume level buttons, calling a musical player button, a voice control button. Also one of two loudspeakers for volumetrical sound is placed here (honestly, however hard I tried I didn't manage to hear that stereo sound, short distance between the gaps may tell upon).

A T-Flash connector (hot change is supported), the second stereo loudspeaker, a camera button, a Hold button and one else button with an unknown purpose (with a phone pictured on it) are on the right side. There is IrDA on the top end and a USB connector with a microphone on the bottom. The i300 may work as a USB drive, the function demands no drivers and the operating speed corresponds with the USB 2.0 standard.

Bluetooth version is 1.2 and it supports reproducing music via Bluetooth with CD quality. We have tested Samsung Bluetooth earphones, and the quality happened very high. They are available as an accessory not included into the kit. The company representative at the stand couldn't answer my question about the battery life since that was the first day of earphones work (about 6 hours from the start of the exhibition). He asked to come tomorrow when the batteries would finally discharge. The earphones are equipped with all the possible control elements and may be used as a usual Bluetooth headset.

An integrated hard drive turned into one of the unique functions. The idea of an integrated hard drive gets its development on the PDA market (a Sharp model, still not announced palmOne device) but that is the first example for smartphones and the model will have no rivals for long time (Samsung's development). The problem Samsung engineers faced was short battery life (due to power-consuming mechanic part of the hard drive). According to Lee Ryan's words now the charge lasts for 4-5 hours in case of non-stop mp3 reproduction. The company keeps on developing energy consumption scheme (in particular, caching optimization, when the drive works not permanently). Also Lee Ryan promised this smartphone would certainly appear on the market, in the 3 Q of 2005 and one should better account on September. The device is run by the next Window Mobile version called Magneto. The screen is 2" in diagonal with the resolution of 320x240 pixels. A dispute about the number of reflected colours roused. 262K are announced and the matrix supports them physically. But really due to the software limitations Window Mobile allows showing only 65K. Our interlocutor agreed but added the picture was still better and more contrast.

Other new smartphones by the company not announced officially also presented on the stand.

Samsung i750 is one of Pocket PC sliders by the company (also there is a CDMA model i730 having a QWERTY-keypad instead of a digital one in the i750). The model is run by Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC in GSM standard, GPRS and EDGE are supported. Besides there are such attributes of a modern Pocket PC as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The 65K touchscreen is 2.8" in diagonal has the resolution of 320x240 pixels. Hot change of T-Flash card is possible. The dimensions are 104x51x24 mm, while the weight is 150 grams. By the launch moment the device will have direct rivals by Asus and HTC (not announced still), all the devices are to appear approximately at the same time in the end of 2005.

There are few clamshell smartphones and the situation will remain for some time. One of those few devices is a Symbian smartphone Samsung D730 being a functional copy of Samsung D720. The device is small in size with a pleasant design without an external antenna. An obligatory element for modern smartphones that is a megapixel camera is also present. A used type of flash memory that is a company development MMC-micro attracts attention (for some time the cards will be hard to find in shops if possible at all). The main TFT display is 176x208 pixels, 262K. A square external screen is also TFT with the resolution of 96x96 pixels showing 65K colors. The dimensions are 95x47x21 mm and the device weights 95 grams. A Bluetooth module is integrated.

Several photos of Samsung D720 that was shown under the glass at 3GSM and here we saw a working version.

The last thing we'll mention is a prototype of a Linux communicator supporting Direct Sequence Ultra-Wideband (UWB standard of wideband data transmission having its roots in 1962).

Anton Kotov (anton.kotov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Mitina (maria.mitina@mobile-review.com)

Published — 12 March 2005

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