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New Samsung Phone: a Real iPhone Killer?

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).

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Reader Comments


November 5, 2008 09:34 AM

This reminds me of the early 'iPod Killers' days...every week there was a new one.

*Anyway, Apple will own 50% of the worldwide mobile market share by 2010.


November 5, 2008 09:58 AM

Good luck dealing with the U.S. carriers Samsung.....


November 5, 2008 10:11 AM

Yawn. The REAL iPhone killer will be the iPhone 3 when Apple releases it, then all these companies will try and play catchup again. It's an endless loop!

bob e

November 5, 2008 10:34 AM

I hope we get the nicer version, then I am buying!


November 5, 2008 10:34 AM

Replace Windows Mobile with Android and you have a real winner.


November 5, 2008 10:37 AM

No, it won't, Mactard.

Cool Smartphone

November 5, 2008 11:39 AM

Who does not have an iPhone killer? More hype and rah rah from the guy who brought Vista to the world. Mac is alive and thriving. And iPhone will continue to thrive too. It's about brand equity. Cool Apple brand versus clunky Samsung and Microsoft brands? Apple wins hands down.


November 5, 2008 12:38 PM

Looks nice but at what price point?


November 5, 2008 12:41 PM

Yup this phone rocks and will put iphone back to drawing board so quick. I seen this phone a friend of mine in Japan has this phone and it totally blows Iphone so easy. I am glad I still use Windows Mobile Smartphones has it makes my personal and business time more easier to juggle. Iphone 3G is a total waste of money. People buy Iphone 3G for it's looks that is all I see that piece of clunker Iphone. The ominia not only looks good but it has all the important features more that lack of Iphone features. The Screen is twice of clearer than the Iphone 3G


November 5, 2008 02:19 PM

LOL Sebhelyesfarku, I suspect your hand is sebhelyes too.


November 5, 2008 02:21 PM

Glad to see this iPhone killer is the "REAL" one, because so far we've seen a bunch of fakes.


November 5, 2008 02:43 PM

What can Samsung do besides imitating?
It was Sony, and it is Apple now.


November 5, 2008 02:52 PM

This hardware is surely the death of the iPhone in Asia. The only reason it won't be great is because it will be using WinMo.

Apple's current iPhone can't possibly compete against this piece of hardware in Asia. It has more features than Apple could ever put in a handset because Apple has already determined that most users don't need lots of features and would just add unnecessary bulk to it's handset.

Only the Koreans and Japanese require lots of features. This Samsung handset would be too expensive to find widespread use in the U.S. I'd like to own a handset with lots of features as long as they don't kill the battery in a few hours. In theory, it sounds like one bad-ass handset to me.

Three things the Koreans excel in are high-tech handsets, kimchi and fine-looking women.


November 5, 2008 03:45 PM

Sure......... try selling a $600 iPhone in China. Chinese carriers don't subsidize phones like US carriers do........ that will be the day when iPhone sells 600 million units a year.......


November 5, 2008 04:20 PM

what is wrong with Steve Ballmer!!!
He seems to be desperate to me!!!


November 5, 2008 04:41 PM

I'm waiting for either a flip phone version of iPhone or somebody else that has a full browser like Safari instead of the WAP almost browser on Windows Mobile and most phones. I would buy another iPhone (my wife has one) except they won't warranty abuse to the display.

geoffrey darby

November 5, 2008 04:49 PM

When will the apple cult admit the iphone is just a blip on the world cel phone market. I mean 10mm copies would be a BIG failure at Nokia. Get some perspective folks. Stop drinking koolaid start living in the real world


November 5, 2008 05:48 PM

Yup, bring it on Samsung. More competition is good for consumers. I want free phone and not paying $200 for an iPhone.


November 5, 2008 07:38 PM

the only thing keep me from this phone is the 2.5 headjack


November 5, 2008 09:22 PM

T*Omnia is ok, the problem will be Windows Mobile 6.1. So T*Omnia will be just crap!


November 5, 2008 10:15 PM

Apple sold 10 million iPhones this year, next year it will be 40 million and Apple is making boatloads of money off each phone.

Nokia is making less than $4 off of each symbian license and soon even that will be open source. Meanwhile, Sony -Ericson, one of Symbian's main partners, has decided to advance their phones by using… Microsoft Mobile! Yikes!

Yes, Nokia sells a gazillion phones, but they are mostly on the cheapo end of the spectrum with little profit and they have a very tough time in the US. Meanwhile Apple is carving out huge chunks of the most profitable segment of the smartphone market, already ahead of MS and RIM in the last quarter.

Inferiority sells!

November 5, 2008 10:31 PM

Apple sells products because they are simpler. As a matter of fact, they are inferior in qualities and designs. So better products from M$ and Samsung may not convince simple people.

Joe Anonymous

November 5, 2008 11:10 PM

Google 'iPhone killer". 8.9 million hits. 'ipod killer' only gets a couple hundred thousand.

And, yet, with millions of articles out there heralding the latest 'iPhone killer', the real iPhone is still the phone to have for anyone who wants the most usable internet phone out there.


November 6, 2008 05:19 AM

Looks nice but Windows Mobile 6 is a hideous, buggy OS. There's always a new 'iPhone killer' except they never actually succeed.


November 6, 2008 06:23 AM

Even if this phone could catch apple iphone in the mobile phone hw and sw, it still wouldn't rock in the U.S due to the lack of eco-system, e.g. Apple Store. You simply can't provides thousands of applications for this phone in a year.


November 6, 2008 08:59 AM

everytime a friend tries to demo their iphone internet capability to me - it never works. -lol

iphone owners are loyal invested dupes.

Peripheral and App Slaves Revolt!!


November 6, 2008 10:00 AM

It´s a copy, it´s a Samsung.

Rajah Bharathi

November 6, 2008 01:16 PM

As I see it, the term "Iphone Killer" brings a great amount of negative advertising for the product "T*Omnia". Samsung should make sure that media projects T*Omnia's image in a far superior manner and never refer Iphone for any cause. Has any killers captured the market? Ipod Killer - Zune? Windows Killer - Mac? Exlporer Killer - Chrome? Google Killer - (many)? Branding should be strategically worked out, not publicly projecting to outrun the current Market leader. It is hard to tell people to change, but it will be easier to attract people for a change!


November 6, 2008 02:07 PM

I see a lot of the Cult-of-Apple posts saying Windows Mobile sucks. How? I've been using Windows Mobile and PocketPC for years now. It always works for me. Syncs to all my calendar and contacts. View my spreadsheets and docs. Read legal in pdf. Play lots of games: CIV, Doom, Poker, Chess, Bubbles, et al. And I store my financial info on it in encrypted formm. Lots of software to download and install. And Microsoft doesn't delete your software for your own good like Apple does. I even use the wifi on it to look at the Apple mactards' web activity in the airports when they transmit in the "clear" - just for amusement and I send them back gibberish. Although, I guess a good retirement plan would be to just use their passwords. Mactards are so stupid.

steven jobs

November 6, 2008 11:15 PM

it won't kill iphone, because i phone is way smarter, it has the functin of copy pasting text, and windows mobile is not hahhaha


November 6, 2008 11:38 PM

That's right, New Technology always kill the old, quality is the best
I hope that someday cell phone can become a pc???????????????


November 7, 2008 07:22 AM

> Dar
> November 5, 2008 09:58 AM
> Good luck dealing with the U.S. carriers Samsung.....

Samsung takes No. 1 spot in U.S. cellphone market


November 11, 2008 09:50 AM

What no one ever touches on is the power of the app store. If any other company wants to succeed in creating a real threat- it'd be an app store killer, not the hardware killer. Specs are easy to trounce. Customization via personally chosen applications and the wild inventiveness the platform encourages are what makes the difference today -not megapixels.


November 19, 2008 11:46 PM

Yea well take the new samsung and throw so android on it and then lets see what kind of phone we will have. I know there is android haters but i feel that this open source thing is really gonna overtake alot of the cellphones. if you are truely into computers and cellphones as i notice most of us are as we all mostly have smart phones. you know what os you are getting when you buy the phone. If you dont like the os dont buy the phone. What would you do if all phones only had win mobile and thats how it stayed.fortunatly new things are being done everyday to improve cellphones. I phone is over rated and outdated. Its like an old fad. Soon it will be gone and everyone can look back and tell stories of how the i phone started a new era for cellphones. Now in the new age you wont be stuck downloading and buying things from one place and not having to use i-tunes. try android. Dont hate. Anyone with the smarts cant sit there and tell me they wouldnt like to build their own application and put it on their phone and make it available to others. If you say you dont care your a liar.


November 28, 2008 08:11 AM

I hope it will be also released to Asia to increase the demand for Omnia. Some always see the resolution that affects their interest in buying Omnia. That's why they prefer other brands in choosing the ultimate phone.


November 28, 2008 08:12 AM

I hope it will be also released to Asia to increase the demand for Omnia. Some always see the resolution that affects their interest in buying Omnia. That's why they prefer other brands in choosing the ultimate phone.


December 10, 2008 05:08 AM

I hope is gonna come to Africa sooner!


January 12, 2009 06:37 PM

Why won't Samsung give the T*Omnia a phone with so much potential tri-band UMTS 850/1900/2100?

Then they will have a smartphone with world potential. (Particularly useful for those who travel.)


January 13, 2009 03:40 PM

As far as I know, the iPhone will live a long life before a real, truthful "killer" comes around. Don't get me wrong, I am not your typical "Fanboy", but instead a fustrated consumer that was waiting desperately for more than 8 months for "the killer", but it never arrived. I consider myself a Microsoft "fanboy", I never bought a apple product before, it was always "anything else but...". At the end I will say that you should choose your next phone base on your needs and not believe the hype. I was waiting for HTC G1 and it turn out to be a good phone, but small screen and a bit bulky with the slide out keyboard (I'm not a big texting guy). Also waiting for the HTC HD which for me it was "it" but HTC desided that there were "no interest" in the US market for phones like that. And finally the BB Storm, I don't get me started.
I ended up buying the iPhone 3G 16gb and I will say it is (almost) the best phone available (for what I want to do) out there, and if people don't like it it's because they don't need the capabilities of it or need features that the iPhone doesn't have (Keyboard, video recording, A2DP, cut & paste, etc). I wanted to be able to watch movies and listen to music wirelessly with A2DP which the iPhone doesn't have, but I bought a really small A2DP adapter and problem fixed. I rather put up with the adapter and have the biggest screen size available to watch movies, videos, etc. All the potential "killers" had smaller screens and for me that was a huge desapointment, except for the HTC HD that if it were released in the US I wouldn't have bought the iPhone, but they desided not to, their bad. The iPhone with all it's limitations by the big guys, still a great piece of machine and it certainly push the limits for every single phone manufacturer and no one has come even close... yet!


January 25, 2009 11:59 AM

I went out to the Verizon store to check out the Omnia - I fell in love. So many things to do with it, and what a kick ass interface. I was going to buy it today (now that I have the money), and now I start reading about the T*Omnia. Bah. That annoys me.

Mathematically, it has 4x the resolution as the i900. I feel like I'm throwing my money away with the i90x. But, seeing as the U.S. pretty much just got the i90x, it really doesn't seem like we'll be seeing a version the 480x800 rez any time soon. Anyone else agree?


January 25, 2009 12:01 PM

I went out to the Verizon store to check out the Omnia - I fell in love. So many things to do with it, and what a kick ass interface. I was going to buy it today (now that I have the money), and now I start reading about the T*Omnia. Bah. That annoys me.

Mathematically, it has 4x the resolution as the i900. I feel like I'm throwing my money away with the i90x. But, seeing as the U.S. pretty much just got the i90x, it really doesn't seem like we'll be seeing a version the 480x800 rez any time soon. Anyone else agree?


December 27, 2009 03:09 PM

Been bashing Samsung Tomnia using different names... now I gotta go see my galfriend. I got apple's best job - browsing the web and bad-mouthing the competition.

Cheers; and keep it iphone ;o

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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.

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