Samsung BlackJack II First Thoughts Preview

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Yesterday, Samsung and AT&T took the wraps off the BlackJack II, an updated version of a Windows Mobile smartphone that launched last year.

BlackJack II
Samsung BlackJack II
(view large image)

The new model isn’t available yet, but I was able to spend some time with a pre-release unit.

What’s New

The BlackJack II is basically the original model with some improvements. These are nice, but they don’t seem significant enough to me to expect most owners of the current version to upgrade.

Still, the inclusion of a GPS receiver is a nice change, and I know having a device running the latest version of Windows Mobile Standard is important to some people.

Those who travel internationally will surely welcome the addition of support for the version of 3G wireless networking used outside of the U.S.

Naturally, there’ll be no complaints that the BlackJack II will have more memory and a better camera.

A Nifty New Feature

When testing the BlackJack II yesterday, there was one new feature I liked a great deal: the combination D-pad and scrollwheel. Samsung has already used this on some of its feature phones, but this is the first smartphone I know of with something like this.

If you’re having trouble picturing it, take the D-pad that’s on most smartphones, and imagine being able to slide your finger around the outside edge to scroll through all the selectable elements on the screen. But it still functions as a standard D-pad; you can push the right side of it to move the cursor to the right or down to move the cursor down.

It’s a nice improvement over a traditional D-pad, and it’s something I’m hoping Samsung uses in all its future models.

Here’s a quick video demonstration:

An Update, Not an Upgrade

For all its enhancements, this smartphone still doesn’t have Wi-Fi, and it uses the same general form factor as its predecessor.

So if you’re satisfied with your BlackJack now, you’ll likely still be satisfied with it after you’ve looked at the BlackJack II. Especially as Samsung has just promised to release a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade for the original version of this smartphone.

A full Brighthand review of the BlackJack II will be available as the release of this device gets closer.

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