updated 10:35 am EST, Thu February 8, 2007
Samsung takes on iPhone
Samsung today unveiled the Ultra Smart F700, which it claims is one of the world's most advanced smartphones. The device closely resembles the minimalist design of Apple's iPhone, and is targeted at the "recent trend" in touchscreens. The phone features a 2.8-inch 440x240 screen to control calling, internet access, and music functions. Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 also includes VibeTonz, a vibration system introduced in the recent W559 that simulates tactile feedback to touchscreen presses. A single navigation button near the bottom of the phone resembles the single button on Apple's iPhone, while rounded corners and a rectangular shape give the Ultra Smart F700 an iPhone-like appearance. The device includes a slide-out keyboard to accommodate typing and Web browsing, according to Electronista.
Other technical aspects are also superior based on the company's specifications, with a 5-megapixel camera offering auto-focus that bests the iPhone's 2-megapixel unit. The new Ultra is also touted as one of the fastest internet-capable phones anywhere: support is provided for HSDPA as well as the new, 7.2Mbps download rates of the 3G wireless standard. The speed combined with the large screen enables the phone to receive a 4MB MP3 file in 4.4 seconds. Media playback support includes multiple AAC audio formats, Real, and variants of MPEG-4 including H.264.
The phone will make its public debut next week at 3GSM and should be available internationally later this year. A U.S. release is currently unlikely, however, as the phone uses only a tri-band GSM radio -- effectively shutting it out from most if not all North American carriers. The Ultra Smart joins the company's previously announced Ultra Music and Ultra Video models.
In related news, Microsoft today debuted Windows Mobile 6, the latest version of its operating system for cellular phones with several features designed to plug the holes that Apple claims to have addressed with its iPhone. Optimizations with the Device Center in Windows Vista enable Windows Mobile 6 to automatically sync music, photos, and other media without requiring separate software. The update also addresses a core problem with Web rendering, with a 30 percent improvement in speed for Internet Explorer alongside integrated mail software that supports HTML for virtually every mail format.
The company will release three editions of Windows Mobile 6 which include Classic for PDAs, Standard for intermediate smartphones, and Professional for advanced communicators. The new software offers tighter integration with the internet, and offers built-in integration with Windows Live. Microsoft says the new software offers Mail, Messenger, Search, and Spaces built-in.