I’m here just 85 miles north of the equator in steamy Singapore, a brief 24 hour door-to-door hop skip and jump from the United States, for the CommunicAsia conference, and I just had a hands-on with the new Samsung Omnia smartphone. The Omnia has a a 3.2-inch touchscreen display and will be hitting Singapore’s Singtel and StarHub carriers (HSDPA, GPRSH) this week, and the rest of Europe later in July, and China in August.
I can easily say the Omnia is the first full-featured Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional phone that I’ve had hands-on with that actually packs enough power under the hood to keep up with the fancy custom-UI overlay called “TouchWiz UI” that Samsung added.
On the home screen, there are about 14 widgets that run along the left side, and Samsung says more will be available. To activate a widget, like the movie player for example, you just finger-slide the widget from its toolbar out onto the mainscreen, and the program launches. Where phones like the HTC Touch struggled and navigation was a bit clunky, the Omnia, at least for the time being, is fluid and quick. Click the link below for more shots, including a spy-shot of the white version.
Speed is important, too, because the Omnia doubles up as a full blown multimedia device. It’s available in both an 8GB and 16GB model, and users can add up to 16GB of extra memory with a side-loaded microSD card. It also comes with a 5MP camera that sports a flash and facial recognition features. It supports DivX, XviD, H.263, H.264, WMV, and MP4 video playback as well as MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, OGG, and AMR audio. An Indiana Jones trailer looked beautiful and crisp during playback. The phone comes with an adapter for a 3.5mm headset.
Professionals and teens will both appreciate the phone’s preloaded suite of applications that includes ShoZu, Microsoft Office Document Viewer, GPS software for navigation and geotagging photos, and Opera for web browsing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a data connection during our hands-on so we weren’t able to surf the web.
You can also use the handset in either landscape or horizontal mode, and the phone automatically adjusts itself using a built-in accelerometer. To navigate around the device, you can either use your fingers, the included stylus (which oddly can’t be stowed away inside the device), or a touch-sensitive trackpad that’s built into the bottom of the handset. It’s an awesome way to move your mouse around the screen with your finger, much like on a laptop.
Overall I was really impressed by the Omnia, specifically because it packs a ton of features into a sleek and easy-to-use phone. Unfortunately, it won’t be available in the United States for the foreseeable future, but we’ll keep you updated on Asian pricing.
Stay tuned for more details from CommunicAsia. I’ll be up late at night writing and drinking strawberry milkshakes here in the former British East India trading post to bring you the latest and greatest news. Rumor has it that we’ll see new handsets from Sony Ericsson, as well as a glimpse at the Garmin Nuvifone.
Full stats of the Samsung Omnia:
Network: HSDPA 7.2Mbps
EDGE/GPRS (850 / 1900 / 1800 / 1900MHz)
OS: Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
Display: 3.2-inch WQVGA TFT LCD (240 x 400)
autofocus, image stabilizer, geo-tagging, auto-panorama, smile shot
Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), Face detection
Video: DivX, XviD, H.263, H.264, WMV, MP4
Audio: Mp3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, OGG, AMR, FM Radio
WiFi: 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 w/ A2DP
Memory: 8GB/16GB, upgradeable with additional 16GB microSD card
Size: 112 x 56.9 x 12.5mm
Talktime: up to 5.5 hours
[flv:/flvs/omnia.flv 480 360]