updated 08:55 am EST, Fri February 8, 2008
Preempting the Mobile World Congress show, Samsung on Friday revealed the Soul, its new flagship slider phone. Serving as the final bow for the Ultra Edition, it blends in a split-screen, context-sensitive touch control system similar to that of the LG Venus: rather than rely on fixed buttons or an entire front touch surface, the Soul includes a small touchscreen area whose buttons change depending on the immediate context for the screen above. When playing music, track controls replace normal commands, Samsung says in an example. The Soul is also the first Samsung handset to sport a themed UI where the entire look and sound can be replaced at once.
The handset is both very camera- and data-focused. A 5-megapixel camera is accompanied by a high-power LED flash as well as by face detection and image stabilization -- all features normally reserved for some of the better dedicated cameras, the company says. Transfers are quick with 3G Internet access over HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps downstream; the phone supports North America with quad-band calling over GSM, though whether it also supports 3G in the Western region is unknown. The phone makes heavy use of Google features and supports built-in Gmail and search functions, including a dedicated button at the top level of the interface.
The 12.8mm (0.5in) thick phone is said to be music-savvy with AAC, FM radio, MP3, and WMA support, including protected WMA music stores. Bang & Olufsen's ICEpower audio enhancement technology is also onboard the Soul, which should be available first in Europe by April but is likely to see service in the US through AT&T if left in its current form.