updated 02:20 pm EDT, Tue July 24, 2007
Samsung will be releasing a series of new phones in Europe -- one of which will bear more than a passing resemblance to the iPhone, according to the preview site for a French event. The P520 (shown) is dominated almost exclusively by a 2.6-inch touchscreen that will share the same design as the Ultra Smart F700 or its smaller cousin the F520 and includes a distinctly black front with chrome trim similar to the Apple device; the home button is replaced with call and answer buttons. The smaller dimensions will make it thinner at 8.9mm (0.35 inches).
Some features will also be similar but advanced compared to the iPhone, according to Samsung's details. The P520 should support EDGE and Wi-Fi but will add unlicensed mobile access for carriers that want to support seamless bridging between cellular and VoIP calls; the camera will depend on Samsung's most recent 3-megapixel sensor. Built-in storage is only measured at 50MB but is backed by a microSD slot for at least 2GB of extra media and contacts.
The release date and price for the phone are unknown, though a fall launch is probable. Its use of tri-band, 900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz GSM, however, suggests that the device will only be available to carriers in Europe and may extend to Asia.
At least two other, more traditional phones will accompany the P520, Samsung adds. The P260 and L600 switch to simpler 2-megapixel cameras and a keypad interface; either also plays MP3 songs and MP4 videos stored on microSD, including through wireless headphones over Bluetooth. The P260 follows convention with a black shape and physical buttons but adds Wi-Fi access, while the L600 is aimed at fashion-conscious women with a purple shell and touch-sensitive buttons. Either should release near the timeframe for the P520 and are also meant first for Europe.
P260 (left) and L600 (right)