First Thoughts – Samsung i730 PocketPC Phone

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We had an opportunity to use a fully functional Samsung i730 last night. We didn’t hear it from Samsung, but we have it on very good authority that Verizon will be carrying the phone and will make an announcement as such in the next 90 days.

The i730 bears a passing resemblence to the Blue Angel and Harrier PocketPC phones. Like the HTC designs, the biggest feature of the i730 is the way that it slides along a seam in the midpoint of the device to reveal a somewhat flattened thumb keyboard. Because of this, the keys are by neccessity almost entirely flat, but they are still reasonbly pressable.

I felt that the slider mechanism triggered rather easily–it didn’t take much pressure to cause it to slide up or down. It’s far from broken–it actually snapped right back into place as soon as I closed it. My main worry is that a jolt could cause it to slide open, possibly wasting battery life. On the other hand, the fact that it doesn’t resist as hard could mean an extended usable life for the slider mechanism.

The i730 is fairly thick, but this isn’t an uncommon characteristic among the narrower, more phone-shaped devices. It’s larger than the Treos, and thicker than the Blue Angel/Harrier, but not an unreasonable size, at least for a PocketPC phone.

The i730 features a standard 240 x 320 QVGA screen, Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, Windows Media Player 10, and a 1.2 megapixel digital camera. Wireless connectivity is provided by integrated Bluetooth and a CDMA2000 1xEV-DO radio.

Previous filings with the FCC have indicated that the i730 will feature WiFi, but Samsung didn’t list it as a feature on their display tags, and I saw no indications that the device had a WiFi radio.

UPDATE: I’ve since learned that while Samsung didn’t mention it in their press material, the display model does have a WiFi radio. Whether production level devices feature WiFi will be up to the individual carrier, as is the presence of the camera.

Despite the fact that it’s likely to be very expensive, probably in the $650 to $700 range, the champagne glass doesn’t come included. And no, this isn’t some photo that our drunken editors set up for local color. This is the way Samsung was exhibiting them. I still can’t figure out whether it was brilliant or a little crazy.

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