updated 09:15 am EST, Wed January 17, 2007
Samsung W559 Touch Phone
Cellphone giant Samsung today revealed the W559, the first handset to combine a touchscreen with tactile cues. Based on a system made by Immersion, the W559 gives different vibration cues as its owner presses onscreen buttons, customizable with up to five different profiles. The feedback makes touching these controls feel more like physical buttons, Immersion says, and also has the side benefit of confirming actions when a portion of the display is obscured by fingers or lights.
Equally important to the phone's design is its hybrid network support. As the W559 works on both CDMA and GSM networks, it roams across most international cellphone providers. A 1.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and handwriting recognition complete the handset's main features. Samsung says it now offers the phone primarily through China Unicom, whose subscribers regularly need touchscreens for Cantonese and Mandarin text messaging. Other carriers may follow but have not been announced today.