Posted by: Moon Ihlwan on November 04, 2008
To hear Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer talk about Samsung Electronics’ new upgraded smart phone, T*Omnia, Korean consumers will soon get the mother of all smart phones on the planet. “The T*Omnia is at the forefront of this new generation of mobile devices,” declared Ballmer at a Seoul ceremony unveiling the phone on Nov. 3. “I like the T*Omnia phone because it brings together communications, productivity, multimedia, and entertainment in a way that meets the needs of both consumers and mobile professionals.”
The T*Omnia, an upgraded version of the Samsung Omnia that has been available in Asia and Europe for more than two months, will be introduced only in the Korean market from around Nov. 20 by SK Telecom, Korea’s largest mobile carrier. It certainly offers more features than the iPhone. It includes mobile TV and 5-megapixel camera with auto focus and image stabilizer as well as Microsoft Outlook, Wi-Fi, GPS, fast Internet access through 7.2-megabaud per second HSDPA and Bluetooth support. But the real reason why Ballmer speaks highly of the phone is that it runs on Window Mobile 6.1 to allow users to swap any Window-based files seamlessly with their PCs.
One big attraction of the phone, however, is Samsung’s flexibility to work with the carrier. Any owner of the T*Omnia will have free access to SK Telecom’s music service called Melon that boasts 1.05 million songs and pieces of classical music. Other free services offered by SK include real-time feed of news, prices of five stocks and weather information as well as dozens of TV channels.
Samsung is negotiating with a U.S. carrier with an aim to roll out the phone in America by the end of this month. But it is not clear wether U.S. consumers will have access to the upgraded phone or its old version, which has a slightly smaller touch screen with lower resolution. The new version has a 3.3-inch LCD (versus a 3.2-inch screen) with a much higher 800X480 resolution (versus the earlier 400X200).
BusinessWeek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies. Eye on Asia’s bloggers include Asia regional editor Bruce Einhorn, Tokyo reporter Ian Rowley, Korea bureau chief Moon Ihlwan, Asia News Editor and China Bureau Chief. Dexter Roberts, and Hong Kong-based Asia correspondent Frederik Balfour.