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Jun 16, 2009

Samsung Omnia II Phone on Verizon

Samsung on Monday announced a new flagship Windows Mobile phone for Verizon Wireless, the Omnia II, along with a range of other high-end smartphones that are less likely to come to the U.S.

"The Omnia globally has sold millions of units, and has even exceeded Samsung's expectations," Samsung Telecommunications America chief marketing officer Bill Ogle said while introducing the next-generation Omnia phone for Verizon.

The Omnia II is a touch-screen phone running Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, like the existing Omnia on the Verizon network. Also like the existing phone, it has a 5-megapixel camera and will use Verizon's EVDO Rev A network. But various other specs have been bumped up.

The touch screen is now 800-by-480 rather than 400-by-240, and it's AMOLED, a super-bright, super-sharp technology. The phone's interface also now features TouchWiz 2.0, a newer version of Samsung's widget-based home screen that includes more 3D elements and gives quicker access to popular features like the media player, Opera Web browser, and photo album.

Although the Omnia II will launch with Windows Mobile 6.1, it will be upgradeable to Windows Mobile 6.5 when the new OS comes out this fall, Samsung execs said. Verizon Wireless hasn't announced a launch date or price for the Omnia II.

Samsung also announced four other phones today.

The leader of Samsung's new crowd is the Jet, which has smartphone power—including an 800-MHz Samsung 6410 processor—but doesn't run a smartphone operating system.

The Jet has a 3D widget-based interface, a new Webkit-based browser called Dolfin that allows for five simultaneous windows, Microsoft Exchange support, and built-in video editing, but runs a proprietary OS, not one of the mainstream packages. When asked why, Samsung senior vice president of strategy and product mangement Omar Khan said that using a Samsung OS gave them "increased flexibility internally" and let them keep the price of devices down.

The Jet's interface is motion-enabled, which lets you use the phone's accelerometer to control menu options and speed dials by tilting or flipping the phone. "Smart unlock" lets you get quick access to features while the phone is locked, by drawing the shape of a letter on the screen.

Samsung is "talking to different carriers in the U.S." about launching the Jet, according to Khan. But even if the phone itself doesn't come here, "all of the features on the Jet will be available on products launching in the U.S.," Khan said.

Samsung's other announcements today include the Omnia Pro B7320, a slab-style Windows Mobile phone with a keyboard; the Omnia Pro B7610, which has both a touch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard; and the Omnia Lite B7300, a touch-screen Windows Mobile phone. None of those phones will come to the U.S., Samsung execs said.

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