We preview the Samsung Omnia

Charlie checks out Samsung’s iPhone killer – the Omnia…

UPDATE!: Check out our review of the Samsung i900 Omnia!

Scheduled to land in Australia in August, Samsung have announced the Omnia Smart Phone at a low key location in down town Singapore. Not much glitz or glamour, just a new smart phone that looks, operates and feels like an iPhone but with extra features.

Featuring full touch screen operability, this new device has pretty much everything:

HSDPA 7.2 mbps (2.1 ghz);
3.2 inch tft lcd display;
5 mega pixel camera with image stabiliser, smile shot and face detection;
Video play back in DivX, Xvid, WMV and MP4;
FM radio;
Mp3, AAC, OGG and WMA audio support;
Bluetooth stereo head set;
GPS Navigation;
Push email;
TV Out; Auto Rotation; Bluetooth 2.0; USB 2.0 and WiFi; 8 or 16 GB Flash internal memory with micro SD slot for up to another 16GB

Playing with the device for the ten minutes I had, it feels like the iPhone. However it’s running the Windows Mobile OS and therefore has the look and feel of windows.

The Samsung OMNIA hardware can support 262K colours, but due to the limitations of Windows Mobile, the Samsung OMNIA only supports 65k colours WQVGA.

The Omnia also supports widgets at present but the Samsung team are still working on support of downloadable widgets from the online site with an expected release of a customizable Opera Browser later this year. The phone will also be backwards compatible.

Currently the two browsers supported are Internet Explorer and Opera Browser v9.5

Samsung has also gone into partnership with Google.

A spokeswoman for Samsung offered the following comment:
“As handset manufacturers, we don’t profess to specialise in phone software, although we will continue to offer phones supporting our own proprietary OS. Rather, we are practical and we recognise that consumers want to be connected to a rich ecosystem of applications and services.

“We expect these trends to be consistent in the mobile internet world. The speed at which consumers have moved on from general browsing to social networking and user generated content sites suggests that within 3-5 years if not sooner, the “next best thing” will be a part of our every day lives.

“To access these sites, consumers require flexibility in the configuration of their mobile phones and more powerful capabilities that they may not even be aware they require today. For this reason, to ensure Samsung are best prepared to rapidly respond to the changing needs to consumers, Samsung are supporting and will continue to support a RANGE of open operating systems.

With the Omnia, Samsung are taking on the iPhone with a head on assault with a device that is more feature rich, but does not have the association with an interface that consumers have grown used to with their iPod touch.

Already for sale in Singapore the Omnia should be released in Australia in August 2008. The official release date for Australia has not been confirmed as of yet though.

From first inspection Omnia completes the must have feature list sadly left short by the Apple iPhone

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