At last week's Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung showcased its latest mobile phones, including several luxury models, but the gem in the lineup was the SGH-F490, an iPhone-like multimedia phone with a full touch screen.
Samsung said the debut of the F490 is timely because of the rising popularity of touch screens. With several iPhone look-alikes already on the market, such as Verizon Wireless' Voyager and the Prada phone by LG Electronics, Samsung may not want to tag its impressive new phone as another iPhone clone. In fact, it bears more similarities to the Prada phone with its black-and-white home screen and buttons.
With its 3.2-inch screen, the F490 offers a panoramic view of pictures or videos. For a better Internet browsing experience, Samsung included Google Search and equipped the phone with a full Web browser that can display pages in vertical and horizontal views.
The phone uses the Croix User Interface, a finger input system that allows users to utilize the phone's function with tapping and dragging. For example, people use their fingers to move the phone's music player controls left and right to rewind and fast-forward, or up and down to adjust the volume, according to Samsung.
Other features include a 5-megapixel camera, video capabilities, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, 130 Mbytes of internal memory, and expandable memory through a microSD card slot.
One advantage the F490 has over the iPhone is its built-in 3G technology, which is necessary for enjoying the phone's multimedia features. The phone works on HSDPA networks, capable of achieving data speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps, Samsung said.
The F490 will be launched initially in select European countries later this month with a price tag of 530 euros (about $786). Samsung didn't disclose future plans to introduce the phone in the United States.
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