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25 Temmuz 2008 Cuma

Samsung i900 Omnia exclusive in-depth preview

We get an exclusive sneak peak at Samsung's most advanced all-touch phone, the Windows Mobile Samsung i900 Omnia.
At an event in New York City tonight we met with our favorite Samsung rep, who happened to have a brand new Samsung i900 Omnia fresh from headquarters. With the Omnia, Samsung has jumped on HTC's bandwagon, tweaking Windows Mobile with a custom interface that hides and improves much of the business smartphone OS. The interface closely resembles the Samsung SGH-F480, with its TouchWiz UI and desktop gadgets (check out our hands-on video of the Samsung SGH-F480 here). The interface uses a sidebar to store widgets, and the user drags widgets onto the desktop to activate them. The front screen was highly customizable, though there wasn't much room for a bunch of widgets at once.

Our favorite improvement that we saw in our brief hands-on period was definitely the enhanced media player. We've been crying for HTC (and now Sony Ericsson, with their upcoming Sony Ericsson Xperia X1) to sweep away the aging Windows Media Player and replace it with something more touch friendly, and Samsung has done just that. As you can see in our hands-on video, the player looks great, and it worked very well, responding quickly to our touch and expanding nicely to full screen mode. The few movie trailers pre-loaded on the device looked sharp on the large, wide screen.

It wasn't all so fantastic. The Samsung i900 Omnia copies the Apple iPhone's address book almost directly, which is usually a mistake since no manufacturer has come close to the iPhone's responsiveness, so the similarity only highlights the distance between the phones. The list didn't move nearly as smoothly as we would like, and the alphabet running down the side didn't help us to jump to contacts on the list. Hopefully these responsiveness issues will be resolved before the phone hits the European market.

Otherwise, the phone is feature-packed. Around back we found a 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus and face detection. The phone also features super-fast 7.2Mbps HSDPA networking for those lucky Europeans who fall under such coverage, and will come with a beefy 8GB or 16GB of internal memory, bringing it well in line with the iPhone's storage capacity. For Web browsing, we saw the Opera browser pre-loaded, which is a great addition, but the phone wasn't running on local networks, so we couldn't test network speeds.

Expect the phone in Europe later this summer, according to Samsung's original announcement. Samsung reps didn't have any comment about a possible U.S. model, but that only makes us believe that it could make its way here, and other sites have found phones in the Samsung i900 family on the FCC database, which is always the first step to U.S. availability.

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