From all appearances, Samsung is really pulling out the big guns this year in the U.S. Their lineup for just the first half of the year includes a large array of "firsts" that, if they can deliver, could give them a fairly commanding technology lead in this part of the world.
First up is the SGH-P777, Samsung's first EDGE phone for the U.S.. This tri-band GSM slider sports a megapixel camera, video capture, and a whopping 100 MB of memory, allowing it capture and store up to 60 minutes of video.
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The P777 also includes an MP3 player, with a pretty slick interface. It's also a great size and weight. The numeric keypad is slightly cramped. The ridge along the bottom of each key makes them easy enough to feel out, but those with large fingers still might want to give it a test run first.
Samsung's second EDGE phone will be the SGH-P207, a surprisingly small and light clamshell model with unique ebony-and-chrome styling. It's full-featured enough, with a VGA camera and dual TFT color displays, but this phone's claim to fame is its world-first speech dictation feature.
Using technology from VoiceSignal, the P207 lets you "write" text messages by simply speaking the words into the microphone. The phone performs real-time full speech recognition to convert your speech into text, something that previously required more processing power than was available in most phones.
Samsung has an arrangement with VoiceSignal that gives them an exclusive worldwide license to this technology until the end of 2005.
I tried the speech feature briefly. I didn't have much luck with it, but it was a noisy room and a prototype version of the phone, so it's too early to judge how well it really works.