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Hands on: Samsung Continuum

updated 08:00 pm EST, Mon November 8, 2010

Dual AMOLED displays with ticker

As the Android market continues to expand with a variety of handsets offering similar specs and capabilities, Samsung has introduced a device with a truly unique display configuration. Electronista has taken a closer look at the Continuum, a dual-display smartphone which was detailed in several leaks approaching the formal unveiling.

We were eager to try out the new "ticker" display, a 1.8-inch AMOLED panel placed below the primary display and soft buttons. The leaks provided a quick overlook at the feature, but it was difficult to judge its usefulness without hands-on time. As expected, users can quickly view notifications, weather information, and the clock, without turning on the primary display or unlocking the interface.

While the primary display requires a button press and a finger slide to unlock, users can simply place a finger on the bottom right side of the handset to bring up the ticker display. This is not much different than a button, but it is a slight improvement. Once the display is turned on, the clock and weather icon are the first items to be presented. Swiping the ticker display quickly moves to the notifications bar. RSS feeds, finance information, social networking updates, or sports statistics.

Unfortunately, we were surprised to learn that the Continuum ships with Android 2.1 rather than the latest version of Google's mobile OS. The company suggests v2.2 is on the way "soon," but we are left to wonder if the dual-display configuration requires additional development that will continue to keep the device one step behind.

The ticker display is easy to use, however the placement below the soft keys might be difficult to get used to for Android veterans. If a user is moving from almost any other Android device, they would have a tendency to reach for the bottom of the facade to hit the soft keys. With the Continuum, users will have to relearn the positioning to navigate through the interface.

Overall, we were impressed by Samsung's latest Galaxy S offering. Like the rest of the lineup, the Continuum's AMOLED panels are arguably the most attractive displays among mobile devices. The ticker's black background seamlessly transitions to the black bezel. Although the placement of the small display will take familiarization time, it is a welcome addition that provides quick access to essential information.

The continuum will soon be available from Verizon for $199 with a two-year contract.

by MacNN Staff





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