The first wave of bada phones starts with the Samsung Wave (this was supposed to be a joke). Just look at it and you know it is a Samsung. Strangely, it doesn’t resemble the latest models (think of Omnia II and Jet) as much as it does the older Ultra series. Still, it has that Samsung look and it is not bad at all. It is well sized for a phone with 3.3” screen, neither the smallest, nor the thinnest, but your average modern candybar smartphone. The screen is one of its key features. Samsung calls it “Super AMOLED” and this time, we may agree with the bold name. They have managed to put the digitizier (the touch sensor) directly on the screen itself, instead of as a separate layer. This (theoretically) allows for better brightness, colors and visibility during the day. What we saw was really great and we are eager to get a final unit for a review in real life situations. We wouldn’t bother to tell you that on the front it has send, end and a menu key; the latter doubles as a back button and holding it brings the multitasking menu, so you can switch the running app or stop it. Samsung claims that the used 1GHz processor (that’s not Snapdragon) is very fast and it should be, but we wouldn’t judge it by what we saw in the prototypes – some of them were great, others not. What's important is it will allow you to play HD video clips on the device. The 5-megapixel camera will support recording in 720p HD video format.
You want to know more about bada? As we said earlier, it is very similar to what we’ve already seen. Samsung Wave has the TouchWiz 3.0 UI with up to 10 pages for the homescreen, to store lots of widgets. The main menu is again a 3x4 grid of icons that can be rearranged easily. Go deeper in the menus, and it will still be very similar to what Samsung already offers. For example, the camera interface is almost the same as before, as black and white as in the first Omnia. The phonebook is one of the improvements, featuring social functionality. Similar to HTC, in a contact you can find most of the info for the person you are interested in. In a tab there is all your history, including phone calls, messages, emails, etc. Want to follow a friend? Add their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and you will see their updates at one place, a tab in the contact itself. Good feature, not groundbraking or innovative though.
The great thing of a smartphone is the way one can expand its functionality through new apps. Here comes the Samsung Apps store, which will be available in 50 countries this year. During a presentation, Samsung showed games from EA (Need for Speed) and other interesting titles but there is no information how many and what apps there will be at launch. The more the better for bada OS and its fans. Are you one of them? Tell us in the comments!
Samsung Beam I8520
The second and last cool new phone from Samsung is the Beam I8520, an Android-powered smartphone with built-in DLP Projector on the top. We’ve seen similar models before, but they were either prototypes or Asian-only phones (we do not count the LG eXpo here as its projector is an additional accessory). The Beam however, is expected to launch on the European market in the summer. If it is successful, we guess we will see it later in the States.
The first thing you notice about it is the 3.7” Super AMOLED screen that looks gorgeous, just as with the Wave. The Android OS is personalized with TouchWiz 3.0 in order to provide the typical Samsung experience. Unfortunately, the units here are rather early prototypes and we were able to see only a few details about it: the homescreen, menu and gallery - all are what you’d expect from a Samsung. The Samsung Beam I8520 supports HD recording and playback of any video file (including DivX and Xvid) which is not a surprise, having in mind what the Omnia phones can do. There is no info if it will be 720p capable only, but this is what we are guessing. It will also come with document previewing and editing software, for the business presentations that you’ll be able to project.
Of course the key feature is the projector. Samsung demonstrated it in a black box and the results were not really impressing – we were able to watch the clip playing, but were disappointed by the quality. Still, we guess it would be better in a completely dark room. We’d prefer to judge it once we get one for a review. For now, we like it, because it is one of a few, and although bulky, it is definitely slimmer than the LG eXpo with its “additional projector accessory”.
Samsung Monte Slider E2550
By analogy with the Monte Bar, the Samsung Monte Slider E2550 is the version of the Monte that uses the slider form factor. Design cues from the original Monte can be easily found on the front, accompanied with a d-pad here, as this is a non-touch phone. This one is the simples of all Montes, being equipped with a low res 120x160 pixels display, not that long-lasting 800mAh battery and a 1.3MP camera. We guess it would be quite successful if it’s offered for free, but we wouldn’t rely on that.
Samsung Monte Bar C3200
The Samsung Monte Bar C3200 presents Samsung’s idea of how the Monte would look like in a candybar form factor. It is your typical Samsung bar phone, with no touchscreen and no smart operating system… just phone. It’s slim and we can even see some design ideas from the Shark series being applied here. Key features: good battery and 3.5mm jack (with microSD slot).
Samsung Ch@t B3410W
Texting has been a profitable market segment for cell phone manufacturers and the countless phones with QWERTY keyboards kind of confirm that statement. One such phone is the Samsung Ch@t, a side-slider with full QWERTY keyboard and a small 2.6” touch-sensitive screen. This messaging device however, takes the typical experience similar phones handsets deliver on step forward, as it also features Wi-Fi connectivity and SNS application for social networking. Basically, it is a Wi-Fi version of the B3410 that’s been out on some markets.
In contrast to the really hi-tech phones the manufacturer introduced here at Barcelona, the E2370 is just a simple candybar with basic features only. Well, it does have some special skills of its own and this includes surviving in not that friendly environment. Still, have in mind that being IP54 certified, the Samsung E2370 is not resistant to water, but to water splash. Other than that, it has a great 2000mAh battery that should keep the handset alive for days of use.