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2006 Holiday Pre-Preview

Samsung Sony Ericsson Jitterbug Wherifone LG Comments  36  

Sep 22, 2006, 2:17 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

Hands-On with the new Samsung M500, D900, C417, Trace, Sony Ericsson W710, Jitterbug, Wherify Wherifone, and LG LX-150.

This week in New York City, the tech press was given a sneak peek at the new gadgets coming out this holiday season. Phone Scoop was there, and we spotted some neat new phones from Samsung, Sprint Nextel, Sony Ericsson, GreatCall, and Wherify.

The sleeper hit of the show for me was the Samsung M500 for Sprint. It's a phone that's been rumored for a while, but this week was my first chance to try it in person and see official specs.

At first glance, it looks a little like the new C417 for Cingular, and almost exactly like the T619 for T-Mobile. The T619 and M500 are clearly based on the same design, which is also the same as the E380 for Europe. Looks are where the similarities end, however, since the M500 is significantly more feature-laden then its GSM cousins.

Features in common between the T619 and M500 include the same thin, light design, a megapixel camera, and stereo Bluetooth 2.0. Both also have a 176 x 220 main display, capable of 262,000 colors.

Where the M500 starts to look better is the EVDO high-speed data for streaming video and downloading music, and support for location-based services using GPS, both of which are increasingly common on CDMA phones. Where it stands out even further is with its all-important microSD memory card slot and music player. *

Really, the M500 is a more affordable replacement for the popular A900 model, that adds the memory card slot the A900 was so sorely missing. It's almost as thin, and smaller in the other dimensions:

The only downgrades are the lack of external media controls, and a step down in display resolution. But given that it should sell for about half the price of the A900, it seems like a fair trade-off.

The one advantage of the T619 is that you can buy it now. The M500 won't hit shelves until early November.

The M500 will come in both silver and a festive red color for the holidays.

Samsung is taking the same color approach with the somewhat similar - but decidedly lower-end - C417 for Cingular:

Red seems to be the color this season, or at least Samsung thinks so. It's not just a holiday color, though. I can see these red phones being appropriate for Valentine's Day as well.

A stripped-down phone like the C417 is a good example of the kind of phone that Samsung's carrier customers are asking for, even though Samsung would much prefer to show off its technical prowess by bringing us more advanced phones.

Which is exactly why Samsung has decided to take a page from Nokia's playbook and bring a true flagship phone directly to tech-savvy U.S. consumers, bypassing the usual carrier channels. Although they aren't opening up their own stores just yet, Samsung will start selling their impressive D900 flagship phone to US consumers via by the end of the year.

The D900 was recently released in Europe, and is unquestionably their flagship GSM phone for this year. While Nokia and Sony Ericsson currently have flagship phones with 3 megapixel auto-focus cameras, only Samsung's D900 has that feature while also being about the size of a Motorola RAZR. The N73 and K790 don't even come close in size.

The D900 also has just about every other feature you can possibly imagine, and it has a remarkably light, yet high-quality feel to it.

The version specifically for the U.S. will carry the moniker "Black Carbon". Samsung suggested that Black Carbon might have a few tweaks compared to the stock D900 for Europe, although we got the impression it would mostly be the same phone.

Another remarkable engineering feat from Samsung is the T519 Trace, just launched by T-Mobile.

Despite being much, much thinner, it actually feels far more solid than its predecessor, the T509. The T509 had a distinct plastic-y feel.

Like the X820 for Europe upon which it is based, the Trace is just impossibly thin. It's the world's thinnest phone available today, although anyone who holds it in their hand doesn't have to be told that; it's so impossibly thin that it doesn't seem a phone could be any thinner.

While phones for the U.S. based on European models often lose a few features in translation, the Trace actually gained a memory card slot that the X820 lacks. The camera does step down to 1 megapixel from 2, but I imagine most users would rather have the memory card slot. EDGE data and Bluetooth round out the key features.

The Trace feels surprisingly solid for something so thin. Although the keys aren't the best, they are perfectly usable, providing adequate tactile feedback. The display is impressively large, bright, and colorful.

Last but not least, Samsung also has a stylish and unique pair of new stereo Bluetooth headphones to go with its lineup of stereo Bluetooth phones:

The SBH-170 has a wire loop that fits snugly behind the head when worn, and coils up neatly for tucking away when not in use.

* Corrected Sept. 24 in regard to external display type.



This forum is closed.

This forum is closed.


Sep 22, 2006, 9:21 PM

Looking for smartphone compatible with verizon.

I'm looking to purchase a smartphone or something that is very compatiable with outlook. The best one would be a small flip phone - have a speakerphone and bluetooth. I am currently using verizon and would like to continue but the only thing I see is the cingular star trek phone. Are there any other alternatives coming out?
look at a Samsung i600 on Ebay.
I think this is still coming: »

Wireless Buddy

Sep 22, 2006, 5:13 PM

The Jitterbug phone

The Jitterbug phone looks like a toilet!!
lmao it does i couldnt stop laughing after u mentioned that, i had to take a second look Laughing

Oct 3, 2006, 9:48 PM

No mention of the MOTORAZR V3xx or Max???

I just wonder since they were suppose to come out the fourth quarter of 2006.

Motorola was not even mention other then using the Razr as a comparison.

I think the preview is faulted; in that they did not cover all the manufacturers and to leave out Motorola; the leader it pretty biase review in MHO.
I tried to phrase the headline in a way that would make some sense to consumers, but basically it's a report from Pepcom's "Holiday Spectacular" press event in NYC. Only certain companies choose (pay) to attend such events. Motorola was not one of the...

Sep 25, 2006, 3:12 AM


Boring, lackluster phones with 4hitty 176x220 screens.. YUCK!! Come on, we're going towards the late 00's now people. Most phones should be QVGA by now. Honestly. Rolling Eyes

The only one that caught my attention was the D900. Otherwise the rest is garbage. Even my beloved Sony Ericsson failed to grab my attention. Sad Sad Where the hell was Nokia?
Agreed. When in the hell is Sprint going to come out with a slick slider phone? No more of these fat phones. Damn, Sprint. Always a few steps behind.

Sep 28, 2006, 9:34 PM

Other coming phones... Need info!

Rich, or anyone, I am wondering if anyone has info (specs, features, etc) on any of these handsets possibly coming to sprint:

Samsung M610
Sanyo 7000
Sanyo M1

Also, any better pics of the ICY phones (hybrid cdma/iden phones) would be good too.

Lastly while searching for skus, I found these, listed as current models, wondering if they are anything:

Samsung A500i
Samsung N400i (both blue and silver)
Man if that M610 has a 320x240 screen and can do mp3 thats the phone I want and badly ! Hopefully they can improve on the a900's battery life!

its about as perfect a phone as I could want save one thing. I hate flip phones :-( but I can live with i...

Sep 28, 2006, 11:37 AM


Does anyone know if verizon might get a phone like this... i adore the pink 150 its like the 7000 only better... is that a rotating camera??!!

Sep 22, 2006, 12:08 PM

Pre-Preview? When is the holiday preview?

How can this be a pre-preview, does this mean that there is a Holiday Preview coming before Mid-October?
Just curious.
Mostly I just feel weird talking about the holidays a whole month before Halloween. It seems early to mention holidays, hence the extra "pre". Wink

There is, however, another nearly identical press event coming up in about a month, so yes, there...

Sep 23, 2006, 3:04 PM

LG LX-350

the side view where the headset jack is looks like theres a door below it for a memory card, and the button on the other side looks like its a memory card button. Any info? Seems strange that such a low-end phone would have a card slot... not that its a bad thing just strange...
my bad this thread should read "LG LX-150" not 350... Shocked
I'm not sure, but I think that's just the accessory / data port.

Sep 23, 2006, 2:56 PM

Samsung status LEDs?

It seems that no new Samsung handsets being released from this point on have status LEDs. Is this a cost cutting measure? How expensive can a few LEDs cost...?

Sep 23, 2006, 12:28 PM

woo! one more question Rob

what about the SBH-170 stereo bluetooth headset?? when are they coming out? and how much will it be?? or is it available right now already?
sorry Rich meant to type Rich but i was talking to this guy named Rob... sorry sorry sorry!! but thank you

Sep 22, 2006, 1:45 PM

D900 which carrier?

who's going to carry the D900? t-mobile?
cingular?? or is that going to come out as CDMA? probably GSM right? so t-mobile or
cingular?? wow... i'm trying to buy the t629
but if d900 comes out pretty soon i'm changing my mind!! well you can buy the unlocked ones for about $350 shipping included but too expensive for me... so please if anybody have info on the D900 release date and carrier please reply to this thread please.. THANK YOU
It won't be coming to a carrier. Samsung will be selling it direct, via

That was sort of the point of the whole D900 part of the article. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Sep 22, 2006, 7:12 AM

1st time 1st thread

710 SE looks pretty nice. available yet?
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