Samsung Updates Smartphone Lineup

The company introduced four new smartphones in its Omnia lineup, as well as a "Jet" handset with strong technical specs.
Samsung is putting a lot of weight behind its Omnia lineup, and it introduced Monday four new versions aimed at various market segments.

The original Omnia was released for Verizon Wireless last December, and its direct successor will also be released by the largest U.S. carrier later this year. The Omnia II has a 3.7-inch AMOLED display with a 3-D user interface for multitasking.

The handset will be powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition, but it will be upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6.5 when it is released by Microsoft later this year. The Omnia II comes with Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, and it will come pre-loaded with Opera Mobile for Web browsing. The handset will also be capable of receiving corporate e-mails and calendars over the air.

For users who cannot operate with only touch screens, Samsung has also introduced two Omnia smartphones with full QWERTY keyboards. The Omnia Pro B7320 has a candy bar shape with a QWERTY keyboard on the face, and it somewhat resembles a BlackBerry. The handset is designed to be a portable messaging center, and it supports corporate e-mail, as well as access to Facebook, MySpace, and various instant messaging services.

The Omnia Pro B7610 has many of the features of the Pro 7320, but it sports a large touch-screen display with a slide-out horizontal keyboard. The handset will have a mobile version of Microsoft's Office Suite for viewing and editing documents on the smartphone, and it will also have a 5-megapixel camera.

For the budget-conscious user, Samsung has also introduced the Omnia Lite. The handset has a smaller screen than the Omnia II, and it will have the company's TouchWiz 2.0 interface to make Windows Mobile 6.1 easier to use. The smartphone also has Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS, and a 3-megapixel camera.

Samsung also introduced a device that has the hardware of a smartphone, but will use a proprietary operating system with the TouchWiz user interface. The S8000 Jet has an 800-MHz processor, a 3.1-inch AMOLED display, a WebKit-based browser called "Dolfin," GPS, Microsoft Exchange support, a 5-megapixel camera, and strong multimedia capabilities.

Samsung and Verizon didn't give expected prices for any of the Omnia handsets or the Jet, but the devices will likely be out by the end of the year.

As smartphones become equipped with more desktop-like capabilities, road warriors may soon be able to ditch their laptops. InformationWeek looked at how smartphones could potentially become replacements for laptops, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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