Samsung is trying to push the limits with their integrated PDA/Phone units. They have the Palm-based i500 due out in March and the Pocket PC based i700 coming out later this year. So just what is the latest news on Samsung, what are they doing on two operating systems and where the heck are they going with all of this?
I ve been fortunate enough to be trading emails over the past week with Mac, who is a field tech for Airgate Communications, which is Sprint distribution partner. Mac is also fortunate to have a friend who works in design at Samsung. Combined, they ve got more knowledge of the i500 and i700 devices than anyone else speaking publicly. So sit back and enjoy this brain-dump on the state of Samsung.
bargainPDA.com Mac, you ve been testing the i500 for a few weeks now. First impressions?
Mac – The i500 beta units tested out very nicely. They had only minor problems and
ran very similarly to the i300/i330. The i500 had a much faster processing
speed, but was slowed down by Sprint PCS’s poor system. All in all, this
phone is not worth half as much as Sprint will ask.
bPDA We re not quite sure what the price will be. Estimates have the i500 going for $549 to $600. At what price level does this phone make sense?
Mac – If this unit comes down in price to $449 it will be more acceptable, until then the Tungsten OS 5 or the m515 is the way to go.
bPDA So you think a PDA with connected cell phone is a better solution at this point?
Mac Yes. You can do a few things. A Tungsten T with Bluetooth phone works well or even a Palm m515 with data link cable and a separate cell phone for a modem. You will get more features, save money and have access to more accessories and software.
bPDA When we were at the CES in January, we played with the i500 for a while. In the end, we felt it was not on the same level with the Kyocera 7135 and the P800. How do you feel it stacks up against the competition?
Mac I couldn t agree with you more about being disappointed. This thing is an
over glorified i330 in a flip, and you still can t do much with is because of no SD slot.
bPDA What s the story on the Pocket PC powered i700?
Mac Like you, I have only played with it at the CES. I am excited about it though, I just hope it isn t a flop like the i500.
bPDA Do you have any insight on why Samsung is going with two operating systems? Sony also has this issue. Their Clie line uses Palm OS, but the Sony Ericsson devices like the P800 use Symbian. Sony s CEO even thinks this odd.
Mac It is odd, but get this. The i500 is the last phone that Samsung will produce with Palm OS. This news I think is the news that will kill the Betamax of the millennium. Palm OS is surviving because of the cell phone bit and I think will die by end of 04 or beginning of 05.
bPDA Bold prediction. No doubt the Palm OS is having trouble, but Sony may be able to keep it afloat by itself. It also seems Handspring is committed with the Treo line. Let s not argue though. Everyone wants to know, when is the i500 coming out?
Mac – As for the release date Sprint should have these units in stock by Monday morn, 3/17. Initially there will only be 500 then a later shipment of some 15000 units in mid May (end of production). It should be in Sprint stores by beginning of May and mass retailers by mid May.
bPDA Wow, Mac you ve been a wealth of information. Surely this article will create as many questions as it has answered. You available for a follow-up?
Mac Sure thing. You re welcome.
Alright, feel free to post your questions in this forum and I ll track down Mac to get them answered.