Armani phone anyone? No, we’re completely serious! Ask Steve Ballmer, Microsoft pres.
The unlikely newcomer on the high-tech scene is a high-fashion inspired Samsung smartphone called the Samsung B6720. Just announced last week, the Samsung B6720 will be running on the latest mobile OS from Microsoft, Windows Mobile 6.5 (or WinMo 6.5 for short). But that’s not what’s such a big deal about it.
The big deal is that there at the official unveiling was none other than world-renowned fashion designer Giorgio Armani whose name and stylistic seal of approval marks the B6720, a high-end smartphone for high-end Armani types. Thus $1,032 price tag.
So this is more an interest story than a practical product announcement for most people (as who can afford to spend over a grand on a phone: or 700 Euros?), but interesting it is indeed. What would an Armani phone look and feel like exactly?
Well, it looks like a slider phone, with a candybar 3.5″ AMOLED touchscreen design and a slide-out tilt-screen QWERTY keyboard. It’s got 8 gigs of internal memory (plus a microSD card slot for as much as 32 gigs of expandable memory), a video player, 5 megapixel digital camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, TV-out, an FM radio, a built-in GPS…and of course the status symbol of the king fashion plate GIORGIO ARMANI name emblazoned on its crest.
At the unveiling, the smartphone was introduced as a high-class feature-filled business smartphone for today’s business managers. Taking that into consideration, the photos of Steve Ballmer standing beside Giorgio Armani standing beside a Samsung B7620 may actually sell a few of these things after all.
Its full name is the Samsung Ultra Smart F700, and boy is it ever! Seeing its initial release in Asia in early 2008, the Samsung F700 is the next in Samsung’s growing line of Ultra Music phones and Ultra Video phones. And this one is already being praised as the ubiquitous iPhone’s newest top contender.
The Samsung F700 is a quad-band GSM/EDGE cell phone with a 262,000-color 2.8″ touch screen and a QWERTY keyboard that slides out. Similar to the iPhone, the LCD touch screen on the Samsung F700 occupies most of its face with a single, solitary button beneath it. Pressing this central hardware button calls up a menu grid of shortcuts to using the phone’s key applications, including the web browser, dial pad, music player, messaging service, as well as the main menu.
Unlike the iPhone, however, the touch screen on the Samsung uses drag-and-drop but not multi-touch technology. This is also distinct from a hunt-and-peck interface, suggesting the Samsung F700 will not be a Windows Mobile device. A vast improvement over a non-tactile touch screen, however, the VibeTonz technology integrated into the Samsung F700 provides haptic feedback, indicating when an action is performed on the touch screen by giving users a slight vibration. An alternative means to trigger the same shortcut grid to appear is a flashing square that appears in the center of the screen during standby.
The slide-out keyboard has raised and wide-spaced keys, giving it excellent tactility, with letters backlit in white (symbols and numbers in blue) for easy usability in the dark. The casing of the Samsung F700 is rather graciously sparse, with just a few key buttons – a manual lock switch, volume bar, camera shutter, and power switch – along with two inputs – a 3.5mm A/V jack and charging port
One of the most prominent features of the Samsung F700 is its super high-speed networking, and is one of the very first cell phones to be compatible with cutting-edge 7.2 Mbps HSDPA networks. This means, according to Samsung, that a song file of 4 MB should take less than 4 ½ seconds to download. Even with the interference typical during high network traffic periods, this still makes the F700 a potential alternative internet connection for people saddled with a low-end landline connection. All that being said, however, the Samsung F700 does not have Wi-Fi.
The Samsung F700 also comes with a 5 megapixel camera. Compare that with most other leading-edge cell phones with cameras boasting only 2 megapixels. And unlike the LG Voyager from Verizon, the camera on the Samsung F700 has a built-in flash.