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MWC 2009

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Sony Ericsson Memoir  

Samsung USA and T-Mobile USA executives flew all the way to Barcelona to announce the Memoir, a phone that will be exclusive to T-Mobile USA. It goes to show how truly global of event MWC has become.

The Memoir is essentially a US version of the Pixon for the rest of the world, but clad in a different body design. I happen to think the Memoir body looks and feels much nicer. It has a good size, weight and feel to it. It's not the thinnest out there, but for such a high-res camera, it's not as thick as you might expect.

Memoir Body  

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The Memoir's key feature and reason for existing is its 8-megapixel camera, which Samsung expects will be the first in the US. The camera is auto-focus, and focuses relatively quickly. It has a xenon flash, which is better than the more-common LED type, although it's still small and not nearly as powerful as a standalone camera flash. The camera lens has an automatic lens cover.

The camera UI takes full advantage of the large touch screen, putting a large array of controls around the edge of the display in the viewfinder. They go away after a second so you can see the full frame, but come back with a quick touch anywhere on the display. These controls make it easy to adjust key things like digital zoom, brightness and scene mode with just a touch or two.

Memoir Camera UI  

The Memoir seemed about average at shutter lag. After pressing the shutter button, it took a second or two to capture the shot. That's expected on an auto-focus camera phone, but the lag wasn't as long as some other phones we've seen. In general, the overall performance of the phone was about average. No huge slowdowns, but not impressively speedy, either.

The phone appears to have built-in support for Flickr, Photobucket and other photo-sharing sites. However, when we tried the "upload to web" feature, it seemed to resize the photo to something small and try to upload it to T-Mobile's online photo album service. Data service wasn't active on the demo phones, so we didn't have a chance to see the full process, but what we saw didn't seem very tightly integrated with any photo service other than T-Mobile's. The photo widget on the home page does link to those sites, but they appear to be nothing more than web bookmarks. We look forward to reviewing the Memoir to see exactly how the photo uploading experience works.

Memoir Menus  

The rest of the OS is fairly standard for a Samsung TouchWiz phone. On the home screen, they have added the ability to launch widgets directly from the widget dock, so you can use it as a kind of slide-out menu for your less-frequently-used widgets.

Other major features include GPS, which can be used to geo-tag photos and for serious navigation (Telenav is included.) It also supports T-Mobile's unique 1700 MHz 3G network.

Look for the Memoir to launch next week.

Here is our video tour of the Memoir:

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