Verizon on Tuesday became the first American carrier to offer the Samsung Omnia. The company's second full touchscreen smartphone in as many weeks, the Americanized edition of the Omnia adds a new, customized version of Samsung's TouchWiz interface to Windows Mobile 6.1 that lets users quickly check informational widgets and change core settings without leaving the home screen. It also brings VZ Navigator as an option for the phone's native GPS and the VZAppZone as a portal for downloading third-party native apps.
The carrier doesn't provide full specifications for its version of the handset but confirms a very close similarity to the original version previously limited to Europe and Korea. While switching to CDMA and EVDO, the Verizon Omnia continues to carry a 3.2-inch, 400x240 touch display with haptic (vibration) feedback and a customized on-screen keyboard; a touchpad at the bottom lets users control normal d-pad functions without losing precision.
It also provides a five-megapixel camera with an LED flash, Wi-Fi and more advanced media playback than Microsoft offers with support for DivX and XviD video along with regular media formats. Storage isn't mentioned, but in foreign versions usually combines at least 4GB of built-in storage with a microSDHC card slot.
The Omnia will be priced aggressively to compete both with the iPhone and Verizon's own BlackBerry Storm, selling for $250 with a two-year contract. Sales start online and through business channels on Wednesday but will expand to retail by December 8th.