Samsung Debuts WiMAX Handset, Updates TouchWiz Interface
Samsung showed off two new touchscreen phones and an update to its slick TouchWiz user interface Wednesday on the eve of CTIA. There weren't a lot of surprises, but the Samsung press conference gave some glimpses into the company's plans for 2009 and beyond.
The Samsung Mondi was definitely the standout with impressive specs such as a 4.3-inch LCD touch display, 4GB of onboard memory, hardware QWERTY keyboard and most importantly, support for WiMax. The Mondi runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 and comes preloaded with Opera 9.5 and Route66 for turn-by-turn GPS. It will also come packaged with a mounting kit for car use. The Mondi will be available in Q2, but price and carrier are still to be determined.
The Mondi will also feature Samsung's second generation of the TouchWiz overlay, which runs over Windows Mobile 6.1. TouchWiz gives users one-touch access to certain apps via moveable and customizable widgets on the homescreen of their phone. (see this YouTube video from PhoneScoop for a look at TouchWiz in action) The next generation of TouchWiz will not only support native applications, but Internet applications as well. Samsung calls these widgets "rich connected mobile applications." The company will be working with third party vendors, like Google, Yahoo and AccuWeather, for example, to develop these widgets.
Samsung also announced that it is releasing a software developer kit on its site next month, expanding the possibilities for new widgets for TouchWiz. Consumers will also be able to get in on the app developing fun as they are also coming out with a Web-enabled version. Further details on these kits are to come in the next month.
Instinct Gets Improved
The Samsung Instinct is getting a facelift and being rechristened as the Instinct S30. And while it was rumored that the new Instinct would be a mini version of the original, the form factor remains identical. The new Instinct will come preloaded with Calendar Sync, IM, and supports up to 32GB in expandable memory. The Instinct S30 will not run the new TouchWiz, however. Samsung explained that the Instinct and Instinct S30's UI is a collaborative effort with Sprint. The Instinct will be available from Sprint on April 19 for $129.99 with a two-year contract.
The Android name was dropped a lot, but no devices were announced. Samsung representatives said the company is committed to working with the Open Handset Alliance (Google's Open Source Business Alliance) and are on target with their Android device roadmap. Expect Samsung Android smartphones in the second half of this year.
Check back for more PC World coverage of CTIA including hands-on reviews and first impressions of these new handsets and more.