Samsung Showcase 2004
Samsung this week also revealed the i730, the successor to the i700 Windows Mobile Pocket PC device.
This feature-packed PDA-phone will compete head-to-head with the Audiovox 6600 (AKA the HTC Harrier). Both devices include EV-DO high-speed data, camera, Bluetooth, a sliding QWERTY keyboard, and an SDIO slot. Both devices will also run Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC 2nd Edition, which supports landscape display mode.
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The Samsung gains an edge by including a megapixel camera with a sliding lens cover, compared to the lower-resolution VGA camera of the 6600. The Samsung also includes built-in stereo speakers. The Audiovox, however, has the advantage of an internal antenna. I believe the Samsung is also smaller, although I don't have exact size measurements, and haven't held them side-by-side.
Unfortunately, Samsung wasn't allowing photos of the i730's slide-out keyboard, so you'll just have to settle for my description of the keyboard for now. The keyboard is kind of like a cross between a Blackberry and the Treo 600, except squished to be narrower. The pill-shaped keys are "domed" exactly like a Treo 600, so they are very easy to feel and tell apart. They are also very narrow and close together side-to-side.
The keys are narrow and cramped enough that - at first glance - the keyboard looks unusable. But after spending a few minutes taking it for a test drive, I found it to work surprisingly well. Unfortunately, Samsung intentionally put a dead battery in the demo unit, so I couldn't verify it, but it certainly felt like I was hitting all the right keys with no problem, tapping away at a good clip. Those with larger fingers will want to make their own judgment, however.
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