Samsung i730 Widely Available Sooner Than Expected (Updated)

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When Verizon Wireless launched the Samsung i730 last week, it said that this cellular-wireless Pocket PC would be available to its largest customers for several weeks before going on sale to the general public.

Despite this statement, the i730 is on sale to the general public now, just five days after it debuted.

Although it isn’t definitive proof, the fact that this device went on sale to the public more than a week early is a sign that demand for it was lower than Verizon expected.

The Samsung i730 is available now on the Verizon Wireless web site. It costs $600 with a two-year service contract, or $650 with a one-year contract.

Update: The i730’s early appearance on Verizon’s web site may have been a mistake, as it has now been removed.

Up Against the Competition

The design of this smartphone immediately invites comparison with palmOne’s Treo 650.

Both models have built-in keyboards, but the i730’s is on a slider so it can be hidden behind the screen when not in use.

Both are also roughly the same size, although the Samsung model is a bit bigger, at 5.2 inches tall, 2.8 inches wide, and 0.6 inches thick. It weighs 5.5 ounces.

Samsung i730 Each of these smartphones runs on Verizon’s CDMA network, plus they include Bluetooth. However, neither supports Dial Up Networking, so they can’t be used as wireless modems for other devices, like laptops.

The Pocket PC doesn’t stop with Bluetooth, though. Unlike the Treo, it includes Wi-Fi and support for Verizon’s high-speed EV-DO networks, allowing it to transfer data from about 200 Kbps to 500 Kbps, as long as the device is in a city with an EV-DO network.

The Treo 650 has a built-in camera, while the version of the i730 being offered by Verizon does not.

Of course, the two devices run totally different operating systems. The Samsung i730 runs Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Second Edition, so its 240-by-320-pixel display supports both portrait and landscape modes.

The Pocket PC has a larger screen, but the Treo’s is higher resolution.

The i730 has 64 MB of RAM, and both models have an SD slot for additional storage.

Verizon is charging $200 more for the Samsung smartphone than it is for the Treo 650.

Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

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