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Samsung’s Android phone to launch in Germany

Apr 27, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Samsung Electronics announced its first Android phone, which will be offered by Telefonica's O2 network in Germany, starting as early as June. The Samsung I7500 offers a 3.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a five megapixel camera, says the Korean consumer electronics giant.

(Click for larger view of the Samsung I7500)

Samsung's I7500 should be the first major Android phone to reach market that was not manufactured by HTC. Samsung has provided fairly minimal information on the smartphone, but presumably all will be known, including details on the phone's processor, this summer, when Telefonica's O2 network will make it available in Germany. Although the carrier claims to offer an exclusive on the phone, announced launch details differ slightly, with O2 claiming to launch in Germany starting in “summer 2009,” while Samsung says the phone will launch “in major European countries from June, 2009.”


Samsung I7500
(Click to enlarge)

No details have been offered about a future U.S. launch, but the I7500's HSDPA 3G HSUPA network (900/1700/2100MHz) would appear to match up with T-Mobile's U.S. network. T-Mobile already offers the initial Android phone sold in the U.S. and Europe, the HTC G1, which it claims has sold over a million units. An HTC Magic model, meanwhile, is targeted for a spring release in Europe by Vodafone. (See farther below for more on possible U.S. launch plans.)

Samsung I7500 vs. the HTC G1 and Magic

Comparing the i7500 to the two existing HTC Android smartphones, the Samsung model stands out on three counts: memory, display technology, and camera. While the processor was not stated, it's likely to be a Samsung SoC as opposed to the 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7201a used by the HTC models. We do know, however, that the I7500 offers 8GB of internal memory, which is far more than the 512MB of the HTC Magic and the 256MB of the G1. Like the Magic, but unlike the G1, it offers a microSD slot, and it is said to support up to 32GB flash storage instead of the Magic's 8GB limit.

The I7500's display provides the same 3.2-inch, 480 x 320 specs of the HTC phones, but it also offers OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology, which uses organic dyes to provide a softer light with better contrast. More importantly, OLED typically draws less power than standard LCD technology. Samsung does not make talk-time claims for its 1500mAh battery, but battery life may well be longer than with the HTC models.

OLED is appearing more and more in the smaller external displays of clamshell handsets, such as the Motorola U9, but this appears to be the first Linux-based smartphone to put it to use in the main display. The AMOLED variant used by Samsung stands for active matrix OLED. It was first used in Samsung's Symbian-based Impression smartphone, and is touted for its “independent RGB driving method,” which is said to enable “high density and precision” displays.

The I7500 offers the same dimensions as the Magic, and like that newer HTC model, it lacks a physical keyboard. However, it also appears to lack the HTC phones' accelerometers, or at least Samsung makes no note of the feature. If true, then it would likely lack the automatic portrait to landscape shift when turning the phone sideways. Lacking a keyboard, the phone almost certainly includes a virtual keyboard, as this is now a standard Android 1.5 feature, and it would almost certainly display in landscape mode.

If the I7500 may not be able to take advantage of apps that make use of the accelerometers, it does at least offer a better camera than the HTC models, providing five megapixel capability with auto-focus and an LED flash. Otherwise, the features are similar to that of the Magic, with WiFi, Bluetooth, mini-USB, and of course, 3G cellular capability.

The Samsung I7500 claims to offer access to “the full suite of Google services,” including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar, and Google Talk. And, of course, the company touts one of the main reasons to get an Android phone in the first place: compatibility with over 2,300 Android apps and counting.

Specifications listed for the Samsung I7500 include:

  • Memory — 8GB
  • Flash expansion — Micro SD slot for up to 32GB
  • Display — 3.2-inch HVGA (480 x 320) AMOLED
  • Cellular — HSDPA 7.2Mbps or HSUPA 5.76Mbps (900/1700/2100MHz); EDGE/GPRS (850/ 900/1800/1900MHz)
  • WiFi — 802.11 b/g
  • GPS — GPS receiver
  • Bluetooth — Bluetooth 2.0
  • USB — 1 x Micro-USB
  • Camera — 5 megapixel with autofocus; power LED
  • Audio — 3.5mm earphone jack
  • Video formats — MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV
  • Audio formats — MP3, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+, WMA, RA
  • Battery — 1500 mAh
  • Dimensions — 4.5 x 2.2 x 0.5 inches (115 x 56 x 11.9mm)
  • Operating system — Android (Linux/Java)


Samsung I7500 (left), HTC Magic (middle), and HTC G1 (right)

More Samsung models going stateside?

While it is conceivable that the I7500 will end up stateside, Samsung may have some different Android models in mind for the North American market. A recent Forbes story quotes a Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, EVP of global product strategy in Samsung's mobile communication division as saying that in addition to the phone destined for a June launch in Europe, two more phones will follow by year's end, to be carried in the U.S. by two different mobile operators.

Although Hong did not identify the carriers, it is likely, as the story notes, that Sprint and T-Mobile will each field at least one Android phone, as they are both members of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) Android consortium. The story quotes Hong as saying the two phones will look “totally different” and will offer significant Samsung customization work on top of the basic Google-centric Android apps.

While U.S. customers await the two new Samsung Android phones rumored to be on tap, they may also want to wait for Android phones due from Motorola, Acer, and Huawei.

Stated JK Shin, EVP and Head of Mobile Communication Division, Samsung Electronics, Samsung is among the earliest members of the Open Handset Alliance and has been actively moving forward to introduce the most innovative Android mobile phone.”

Stated Lutz Schuler, Managing Director, Marketing and Sales for Telefonica O2 Germany, “The Samsung I7500 kicks off a series of exciting devices for the mobile web which we will launch in the next couple of months.”

Availability

The Samsung I7500 will be available “in major European countries from June, 2009,” says Samsung. According to Telefonica, the phone will be offered exclusively on its O2 network in Germany starting this “summer.” Pricing was not available.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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