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Samsung i900 Omnia - Future phone

Samsung i900 Omnia

Samsung i900 Omnia

20 June 2008
Written by Albert Malik

The ‘iPhone killers’ continue to stream out, with the latest model coming from South Korea’s Samsung Electronics. It’s no secret – the SGH-i900 Omnia is out to get the iPhone, sporting a similar form factor, user interface and specifications. While bettering the iPhone in some areas, it actually comes out lacking in others.

The main highlight is the Omnia’s use of Windows Mobile 6.1. Windows Mobile has never really been considered an intuitive smartphone operating system, leading some to develop user interface overlays such as HTC’s TouchFLO. Samsung have done the same, coming with the ‘TouchWiz’ user interface. The concept is similar – you can operate the Omnia using your fingers rather than a stylus, tapping, drag and dropping or swiping your finger across the screen to perform operations. There’s also haptic feedback to tell you when you’ve pushed an on-screen key – helpful for use with the on-screen QWERTY keyboard. Handwriting recognition is also included, while a motion sensor lets the Omnia recognise when it’s placed vertically or horizontally, rotating the screen as appropriate.

Then there’s the hardware specifications. The Omnia has support for 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, which it can utilise on 3G 2100 networks. There’s also quad-band GSM with EDGE data support for use in areas other than Europe and Asia, as well as WiFi for hotspot-based internet access. The multimedia player on the Omnia is immensely versatile, supporting the playback of Ogg Vorbis music files and DivX or XviD video files, in addition to the regular crop of MP3, AAC and 3GP files as well as an FM radio. There’s even a 3.5mm headphone jack to plug your favourite headphones directly into the Omnia, or you can make use of the included Bluetooth with A2DP profile to use wireless headphones instead.

A five megapixel CMOS camera with auto-focus is also equipped, coming with useful features such as an image stabiliser, panorama shooting and face detection. There’s also geo-tagging abilities, courtesy of a GPS module with support for A-GPS (GPS assisted by the cellular base stations). The only let-down is the screen – while large at 3.2 inches the widescreen resolution of 240x400 pixels disappoints. More and more competitors are debuting VGA screens (480x800 pixels) while the iPhone still manages half VGA (320x480) resolution, so Samsung could have done better here.

This is the only disappointment though, with the rest of the features making for a powerful handset, despite it only sporting a bulge of 12.5 millimetres. This includes the large 1440mAh battery, so Samsung has done a great job here. The company will offer the Omnia in two versions – one with eight gigabytes of flash memory and the other a generous 16 gigabytes, while both will still come with a microSD card slot to expand memory another eight gigabytes. The Omnia is out now in Asia, to be followed by Europe next month. Australia should follow soon after.

FYI .:. Samsung i900 Omnia
(ETA 2008)

Basic specifications
Network system 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz (quad-band)
3G: UMTS 2100MHz
Form factor PDA
Size 112 x 56.9 x 12.5mm
Weight 122 grams
Display 3.2” 65K TFT colour LCD touch-screen at 240 x 400 pixels
Battery type used Lithium-ion battery @ 1440mAh^
Talk/usage time* Up to 5.8 hours* (GSM)
Up to 4 hours* (UMTS)
Standby time* Up to 500 hours* (GSM)
Up to 400 hours (UMTS)
Accompanying features
Connectivity options Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
Camera support 5 megapixel camera, auto-focus, video recording, geotagging
Data support GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA (7.2Mbps)
Exchangeable covers None
Internet applications Internet Explorer Mobile (HTML), Opera (WAP)
  Internal -
  External -
Yes, 8GB or 16GB
Yes, microSD, no card included
Messaging capabilities SMS, EMS, MMS, email (POP3/IMAP4 push)
Ringing tones Polyphonic MIDI, MP3, AAC
Synchronisation with PC Yes, via PC
System for...
  Add-on applications -
  Gaming -
  Phone -
Windows Mobile 6.1, Java MIDP 2.0
Windows Mobile 6.1, Java MIDP 2.0
Windows Mobile 6.1
Extras supported
(not listed above)
TouchWiz user interface
CPU: Marvell PXA312 (624MHz)
RAM: 128MB
Office Mobile & Outlook Mobile
DivX/XviD, Ogg Vorbis support
FM radio
Built-in AGPS

* As per manufacturer's specifications (with supplied battery)
^ Final specifications to be confirmed

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[Jul 2008]
HTC Touch Pro
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Sony Ericsson W902
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[Jun 2008]
Sony Ericsson F305
Sony Ericsson K330
Sony Ericsson J132
Sony Ericsson C905
Samsung i900 Omnia
Sony Ericsson S302
Nokia E71
Apple iPhone (3G)
[May 2008]
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Nokia 6600 Slide
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