Samsung bests the iPhone? (and Oscar-torrents)

Yeongeo hal jul aseyo? It's Monday's IT Blogwatch, in which Samsung jumps on the touchscreen smartphone bandwagon with its Ultra Smart F700. Not to mention a torrent of Oscars...

David Haskin reports:

Samsung unveiled a new media-centric phone clearly designed to be an iPhone killer and said it will show off the device at next week's 3GSM World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Like Apple's iPhone, Samsung said its Ultra Smart F700 will have touch-screen capabilities and play audio and video files. The 2.78-in. display will support resolution of 440 by 240 pixels, the company said in a statement yesterday. Also like the iPhone, Samsung's device will be small -- roughly 4 in. long by 2 in. wide and about 0.66 in. thick.

And he adds in his blog:

It's not just that Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 out-specs iPhone. The Samsung device has 3G support, a slide-out keyboard and a five megapixel camera, which are capabilities notably missing in iPhone. Like Apple's device, though, it has a touch screen and a diminutive size that roughly equals that of iPhone.

It's way too early to speak to the quality of the user experience, an area in which Apple has an unequaled track record. But if Samsung is smart enough to under-price iPhone (and it would certainly be difficult to charge more than iPhone), Samsung could have a hit on its hand. After the Appleistas trip over themselves to get iPhone, many, if not most consumers would look seriously at Samsung's device if its user experience is close to Apple's and it's a hundred or two hundred dollars less. That gets to the heart of Apple's problem in the mobile phone space: It doesn't seem to fully understand the dynamics of the cellular business or that, this time, things are different ... while Apple's marketing abilities are without peer, it is in much swifter and deeper waters than perhaps it understands.

CellGeek works as a cellphone store chain area manager:

News of new apple iphone competitors is spreading across the internet faster than Britney Spears crotch pictures ... The Ultra Smart F700 also runs on a version of the OS X operating system and has the microSD slot conspicuously absent from the iPhone. Another touted feature is a pull out QWERTY keyboard, which conceptually confuses me; why would you pay all that money for a touch screen phone only to rely on the traditional tactile keyboard instead?

While price and roll out plans haven’t been announced yet for the Ultra Smart F700, Samsung says they’ll make those decisions after next week’s 3GSM World Congress. The F700 is expected to be offered exclusively through Cingular in the United States.

Mihai Alexandru asks, "Has iPhone Started A Touch Screen Mobile Phone War?":

It seems like, willing or not, Steve Jobs has put the mobile world on fire. The iPhone is still months away but the competition is already rushing to unveil some ‘iPhone killers’ ... The phone features a 2.8-inch 440x240 screen to control calling, internet access, and music functions. Media playback support includes multiple AAC audio formats, Real, and variants of MPEG-4 including H.264.

Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 also includes VibeTonz, a vibration system introduced in the recent W559 that simulates tactile feedback to touchscreen presses. On the iPhone, many reviewers complained about the lack of feedback in typing on such a small surface with your thumbs. [At] 4.1 by 2.9 by 0.6 inches, [it's] barely thicker than the iPhone, by about a fifth of an inch. It will also feature Bluetooth 2.0+. And there are rumors that other producers are ready to join the game. According to media, Asus, Microsoft and even Nintendo are considering touch-screen mobile phones.

DTrain is in lust:

It's not a smart phone, per se, because it doesn't allow user-installed applications, but hey, neither does the iPhone, and Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 is, I daresay, every bit as beautiful. I'm especially loving the fact that it has a keyboard, because I admit I'm still skeptical about the iPhone's reliance on a touchscreen as the sole user interface. Does that make me a philistine?

Daimaou grovels:

Thank you Apple, Thank you for your iPHONE that even if I will, most will probably never, ever buy…I said MOST probably. Okay? I must admit that your iPHONE gave other manufacturers a kick in the butt that awakened them. And thanks to the future availability of your iPHONE, others will really have to work hard to maintain their market share.

Philip Berne adds:

The Ultra Smart F700 joins the Ultra Music and Ultra Video phones at the top of Samsung's lineup. These are slim phones with top-of-the-line features. The Music and Video Ultras were announced at CES, and with the announcement of the Ultra Smart -- almost exactly one month after Apple's announcement -- we can't help but wonder if this phone isn't a direct response to Apple's iPhone, or just a strange coincidence. The designs are astonishingly similar, even down to the color (though our photos don't quite pick up the subtle striping of the Samsung Ultra Smart's face). Of course, phone designs usually have a year or more lead time, so it is unlikely Samsung could bring an imitator to market so quickly, but it does make us wonder.

John Carroll:

I don't know how it sizes up in other areas that matter to business people, such as Exchange integration, but it seems to fill a lot of the gaps in the iPhone, even if it doesn't have Apple's carefully cultivated invidious distinction ... Apple isn't walking into a market where there are no serious competitors. This is a market with lots of players, lots of competition, and lots of good design ideas from companies around the world. I have nothing but respect for Apple's hardware design skills. The phone market, however, is different than the market for iPods.

Katherine Hannaford:

Longterm readers should remember that I'm an avid fan of the MDA Vario Smartphone, and up until today I didn't think I'd ever be tempted to stray away from a Windows-based mobile. Yep, not even the bloomin' iPhone tempts me. However, after seeing the specs on this new Samsung F700 Smartphone, I'm dead impressed, which is no easy feat ... Carrying ... an interface designed by Adobe (purveyors of that fine Photoshop program we're all familiar with), this F700 is being touted by anti-Jobs fanboys as being an iPhone killer.

Buffer overflow:

Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch

And finally... Torrent the Oscars

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon