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Samsung Beefs Up its Entry to Mid-level Segment

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Samsung-logoSEOUL, South Korea – The most active handset manufacturer of this year, Samsung, is due to launch a series of entry to mid-level handsets in the next few months.

While it has been concentrating on the smartphone segment in the first half of this year, the global recession may have just forced the Korean manufacturer to shift the focus to low-priced, entry to mid-level segments.

Following up on official announcements by Samsung and carriers partnering with the manufacturer, a handful of devices are expected to see the ray of light in the subsequent months. First on the cards are sliders Samsung SPH-W8400 and Honey Bubble SPH-W8700, announced by Samsung in South Korea, followed by MetroPC’s Samsung Messenger. Rumored devices include Sprint’s M850 Dash, and an unnamed budget Google Android-powered phone.

Samsung SPH-W8400

samsungw8400

Image Courtesy of Samsung Hub

Samsung’s latest navigation device is the all-new SPH-W8400 slider, due to be released in South Korean market soon. The device features a 2.4″ displa with 240×320 pixels of resolution, HSDPA at 3.6mbps, SOS function, GPS, microSD slot supporting up to 16GB, a 2 megapixel camera, and Bluetooth.

The phone also features a specially designed battery cover for better grip. No word on pricing and availability yet, but the device is widely rumored to be priced around US$300.

Samsung Honey Bubble SPH-W8700

samsung-w8700

Image Courtesy of Samsung Hub

The South Korea-bound Samsung SPH-W8700 is a simple slider phone with patterns of honey bubbles etched on the rear panel of the phone. Other specifications include T-DMB (mobile TV), Bluetooth, a microSD memory card slot, MP3 player, subway maps, M-Commerce, a 2 megapixel main camera while the front acts for video calling, self-video capture and mirror function.

The device is priced in the vicinity of US$321.04 (400,000 Won) and will be available only in South Korea.

Samsung Messager

Samsung R560 Messager

Image Courtesy of Engadget

MetroPCS is all-set to revamp its best selling texting device, Samsung R450 a.k.a. Messager, with a limited edition Mister Cartoon artwork in the form of wallpapers, ringtones and an all-new customized casing.

The retailer is offering this model only for the first 30,000 customers out of which 10 handsets have been signed by Mister Cartoon himself, and these 10 devices are on auction at the carrier’s website.

The specifications of the limited edition device continue to be the same as the normal version of  Messager, which include a 2.1″ TFT screen with a resolution of 176×220 pixels capable of rendering 262k colours, tri-band CDMA connectivity, a 1.3 megapixel camera, full QWERTY lanscape slider keyboard, in addition to the numeric keypad in portrait mode.

Pricing and availability unknown.

Samsung M850 Dash

Samsung M850

Image Courtesy of Engadget

Rumours of the Samsung N850 Dash first surfaced from US regulatory body FCC’s website, which were further intensified by a live image of a Sprint-branded M850, which first appeared on Engadget.

While there has been no official media statement either from Samsung or Sprint, the FCC filing reveals the following specs for the device: EV-DO, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Furthermore, from the leaked image, a 2.8″ to  3.2″ touchscreen display, powered by Samsung’s proprietary OS can be expected.

The device is widely rumored to be priced within the same price range as Sprint’s Android-powered Samsung handsets.

Affordable Google Android Phone

In related news, Casey Ryan, product manager for the Reclaim at Samsung, has revealed that the South Korean manufacturer will be releasing an Android device with fully equipped touchscreen functionality and a full Web browser under $100 by next year. The renewed emphasis on the entry-level segment by Samsung may see the exploitation of Google’s Android, which was originally designed to run on a relatively inexpensive 200MHz ARM processor.

The low-priced Android segment has been receiving a lot of attention from manufacturers with Haier’s H7 at US$150 and HTC’s Click at US$300 being the forerunners in this segment, but none of these have hit the stores yet. In the present economic recession, this segment may just prove to be the life-saver for manufacturers and customers alike.

(US$1 = 1,245.96 KRW)

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By , Chief International Correspondent on Aug 12th, 2009 GMT +2

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