Samsung Brings Another Android Phone to Market


Samsung announced Monday the impending European launch of its I7500 touchscreen mobile phone, the third major device to run on Google’s open source Android mobile operating system.

Although a piece in PC Magazine implied the I7500 could be available from T-Mobile in the US market later this year, Samsung’s announcement indicated only that the phone would be available “in major European countries” in June 2009.

The I7500 will feature a 3.2-inch, 320-by-480 AMOLED touch screen, Wi-Fi, a 5-megapixel camera, and 8GB of internal memory. It also has a memory card slot, a large 1500 mAh battery, and a standard 3.5-mm headphone jack. For many, the headphone jack alone will immediately vault the I7500 past the first Android phone in release – T-Mobile’s G1, which requires a headset connection supporting USB. The other major Android release so far, the HTC Dream, available exclusively from Vodaphone in Europe, also requires a USB headphone connection.

For others, the I7500’s lack of a QWERTY keyboard will no doubt be seen as a negative, given the complaints leveled at the virtual keyboard on the world’s best-selling touchscreen smartphone, Apple’s iPhone. The feel and responsiveness of the I7500’s touchscreen interface will be all-important in overcoming objections to its virtual keyboard.

Whether T-Mobile decides to offer the I7500 in the US market – the company has yet to commit – Android is off to a very slow start in the competition with Apple for US marketshare. The G1 has so far sold only a little more than a million units, while the iPhone sold nearly four times that many in the most recent quarter alone.