updated 12:35 am EDT, Mon June 9, 2008
Samsung i900 Omnia
Samsung on Monday hoped to preempt Apple's announcements with the launch of the i900 Omnia. The Korean firm's latest touchscreen phone is also its first to use Windows Mobile 6.1 but includes a custom TouchWiz front-end more friendly to home users; like the HTC Touch Pro and Touch Diamond, it uses Opera Mobile in place of Internet Explorer for web browsing. A relatively unique miniature trackpad serves as a fallback for when on-screen buttons are too small to control, while an accelerometer (still rare in Windows Mobile devices) auto-rotates the display when the phone is tilted on its side.
The phone is targeted squarely at the media-centric nature of Apple's device and comes with either 8GB or 16GB of internal flash memory depending on the model, with a microSD slot providing 8GB or more of extra space. A 5-megapixel camera is onboard with software for both face and smile detection using digital autofocusing. Internet access is fast with up to 7.2Mbps HSDPA on supporting 3G networks and Wi-Fi for other areas. An FM tuner and basic GPS reception are equally standard.
Samsung vows a quick launch for the Omnia and plans to make it available in in June, potentially coinciding with an iPhone release. A Europe-specific launch takes place between July and August. The phone is also suited to North America courtesy quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA support that will allow it full access to networks from AT&T and Rogers, although neither has announced plans to carry the handset.