Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on June 16, 2009
Heralding an aggressive push this year in the smartphone market, Samsung Electronics unveiled this week five new models sporting features comparable to Apple’s iPhone. The Korean company, the world’s second largest mobile company after Nokia, also said one of the five, the Omnia II, will be introduced in the U.S. through Verizon Wireless later this year. Three other phones are variations of the Omnia II – the OmniaLITE and two OmniaPRO models offering QWERTY keypads in different form factors. The Omnia range all run on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile software and feature next-generation AM-OLED (active-matrix, organic light-emitting diode) touch screens.
The other is a mass-market phone called the Jet running on an operating system developed in-house by Samsung. In other words, it has smartphone features — including an 800-MHz Samsung 6410 processor —but doesn’t allow outside software vendors to develop new applications for the model. The Jet has a 3D widget-based interface and a newly-developed browser called Dolfin that lets users run five different windows at the same time. Samsung says the internally developed operating system allows it to have greater flexibility in upgrades and lower price by some 30% from an average smartphone running Microsoft’s Window Mobile or other widely used operating systems. The Jet also has a motion sensor to let users choose menu options by tilting or flipping the phone.
The simultaneous release of five smartphones seems to reflect both the strength and weakness of Samsung. It displays the Korean company’s excellent manufacturing capability but also underlines its weakness in meeting various needs with the help of third-party developers, who write creative applications. Samsung phones certainly sport some impressive hardware features, but then the mobile phone industry is already full of clever devices. What makes the iPhone stand out is Apple’s ability to take advantage of outside software writers to meet endless needs of consumers. Samsung still doesn’t have its answer to the iTune App Store or BlackBerry App World.