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Samsung at CeBIT 2005

Traditionally, Samsung announces their new array of devices at the CEBit fair in Hanover, Germany. This year, however, the Korean based manufacturer demonstrated their new devices at the 3GSM conference in Cannes, earlier this month. At CEBit, they only showed a few models, mostly in the high-end market.

First up, we have the e720, which although quite the looker, isn't really all that new, being a remake of the D500, albeit in a different body.

Next, we have the successor to the attractive D500, (which, by the way, was called the "best mobile terminal" at 3GSM), the D600. The flagship model of Samsung's 2005 lineup, this knockout matches the D500 outwardly, but introduces an entire host of other features. With a 2MP camera, the whopping 88 MB of included memory, expansion ability via Trans-Flash, and a 262K 240x320 display, this piece has every chance of becoming one of the top devices in 2005. Unfortunately, for some reason Samsung chose not to include 3G with this phone, thereby limiting it's data capabilities severely. As an aside, when Samsung announced their new 2G phone(s) in late 2004, the D500 was the only one announced, since Samsung wished to draw attention to it. (Or perhaps they are simply trying to exit the 2G market gracefully.)

We won't stop at Samsung Z300, Samsung Z130 and Samsung Z500 since they have already been demonstrated at 3GSM Congress this year. The Z700. Wow. This phone is designed in the company's classic clamshell design, with a twist. Literally. The top half of the phone twists around 180 degrees, similar to the A600/A620 models released a couple of years ago for Sprint/Verizon in the U.S. However, the Z600 brings in the muscle, calling in a 3MP camera, IrDA, Bluetooth, a Trans-Flash card, and an extra camera facing the user, to be used for videoconferencing. One more feature is added, and, although intriguing, seems a bit out of place on a standard mobile phone. I am talking about a video graphics accelerator, which posits the idea of Samsung having developers create advanced video games exclusively for this device- and perhaps others like it to come. Alternatively, Samsung might utilize the graphics card for something simpler, like plain video, or maybe even for the videoconferencing. The physical specs aren't too bad for such a feature-laden mobile, with it weighing in at 125 grams, and measuring 96 x 48.5 x 26.5 mm. And again we have to note the product is one of the strongest in its class (memory card, 3-megapixel camera, maximum interfaces and a QVGA screen).

The company represents many concepts and developments for smartphones annually. And many of them really attract professionals. The only failure is only few devices get commercial realization and others remain only projects. Many terminals wander from one exhibition to another getting outdated with time.

Showing conceptual smartphone developments Samsung only demonstrates its potential, like playing its muscles. But now it doesn't see any commercial perspective for the segment and that's why the models do not reach a shop shell. Sometimes it's a pity to see a really perspective development not getting its commercial realization. This year it seems to be different and many models have passed certification in FCC and that means they will soon be sold. The majority of the announced models are run by Windows Mobile, the company gradually switches to this operating system accenting Symbian less and forgetting Palm OS at all.

And now, on to the juicy stuff. Some of you may already be familiar with Samsung i300, previously reported under the code-name "Thor". First off, this smartphone should be running Windows' new OS, codenamed "Magneto", a.k.a. Windows Mobile 2005. Note the softkeys, which are supposedly supported by the WM 2005. The next wowser is the integrated 3GB hard drive. Yup, that said 3 Gigabytes. Until now, the only pda with a built in HDD was Sharp Zaurus that ran some version of Linux, and wasn't even available worldwide. I am very excited to see something like this possibly making it's way to the U.S. The standard IrDa, Bluetooth (possibly even 1.2 for streaming hifi audio) and memory slot (Trans-Flash) are present as well. A few other notables are the rocker wheel (a 'la Ipod), camera (1.3 MP) and the potential of using it as a portable USB drive (without installing any drivers) make it even more appealing. Dimensions are 113 x 48 x 20 mm, and a weight of 130 grams.Unfortunately, this phone does not support any high speed wireless protocols such as EDGE, EV-DO, or UMTS. Furthermore, no mention of wi-fi is made.

Asus and HTC also plan their similar in characteristics devices based on Windows Mobile Magneto for the end of the year (digital keypad, comparatively small QVGA-screen, Windows Mobile Magneto OS but no hard drive). And Samsung i300 looks the strongest model among them. The release date of this Pavlovian reaction causer is uncertain, mainly due the iffy launch date of "Magneto". As of now, the possibility of the i300 actually making it to the market is considered to be 50/50.

In the end, the company showed one model in various segments and didn't care about the number of devices. Potentially these phones are the best offers in their segments. And still the questions about the price and launch time remain.

Lastly, some photos are shown of several CDMA models:

Our readers can acquaint with photos of Samsung's stand in the nearest future as well as with other reports on the exhibition.

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

Published — 10 March 2005

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