Samsung's smartphone bundles multimedia, WLAN

Samsung's smartphone bundles multimedia, WLAN

Samsung's Windows Mobile-based smartphone combines multimedia functions with support for wireless LAN.

The SPH-M4300, which will shortly go on sale in South Korea, is a CDMA handset that runs Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition operating system. At first glance, the handset looks similar to many PDAs. The front panel is dominated by a 2.8-inch TFT, QVGA (240 pixels by 320 pixels) resolution display and a directional keypad and function buttons are placed underneath the screen. There's also a hidden number keypad that is revealed by sliding the top half of the phone body upwards.

Other hardware features include a 1.3-megapixel camera, an infrared port and an SD Card slot with SD I/O support for plug-in peripherals. The phone has 128M bytes of flash memory and an additional 64M bytes of SDRAM.

The SPH-M4300 will be available in South Korea around the end of March or in early April and will be sold through wireless carrier KTF, said Erin Lee, a spokeswoman for Samsung in Seoul.

The phone supports multimedia services offered by KTF and its affiliate, KT Corp. Through KT's NESpot 802.11b wireless LAN service, users of the phone can access streams of major South Korea TV networks and video-on-demand services in addition to conventional Internet services such as Web access, instant messaging and e-mail. Cut-down versions of Word, Excel and Outlook are also installed on the phone, which also supports KTF's 'magicN' wireless Internet service.

The phone measures 114 millimeters by 59 mm by 25 mm and weighs 184 grams.

It will cost around US$700, Lee said, adding there are currently no plans to put it on sale overseas.

The handset is one of several offered by Samsung based on Windows Mobile. At the recent Cebit show in Hanover, Germany, the company unveiled its SGH-I300 handset, a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) based handset based on the Microsoft operating system that includes a 3G-byte hard-disk drive. Samsung plans to sell that phone outside of South Korea but didn't announce a launch schedule at Cebit.

Microsoft recently opened a research and development (R&D) center for mobile software and services in South Korea. The company said it hopes the new center, which will see an investment of $30 million over the next three years, will help it tap into local expertise and also get closer to South Korean handset makers.

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