Samsung Omnia Tries To Steal iPhone's Spotlight

Korea-based Samsung's sneak attack, coming a week before the Omnia's scheduled release, has been seen by the industry as a bite at Apple with Samsung hoping to create a stir to get smartphone users thinking twice about the iPhone's foray into 3G, which Steve Jobs is expected to announce today.

Samsung kept many details of the touch screen Omnia, also known as the SGH-i900, under wraps, but on Monday trickled out a few details. While the weight of the Omnia -- which is Latin for "everything" -- wasn't available, the device measures 112 millimeters by 57 millimeters by 12.5 millimeters.

The smartphone will run Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and offer applications like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It will use Opera 9.5 as the Web browser and offer Wi-Fi connectivity.

According to Samsung the Omnia will have a 3.2-inch display, taking up a good portion of the device's face, aside from three navigation buttons. The screen will have resolution at 240 pixels by 400 pixels with a wide QVGA display, lower resolution than the iPhone, but on par with some other recent iPhone clones, like the HTC Touch Diamond.

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The touch-screen uses similar tap, sweep and drag and drop motions as the iPhone. The screen can also open a full QWERTY keyboard.

Omnia will be quad-band and operate at 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz. It will run on both WCDMA and DSM. It supports 7.2 Mbps per second HSDPA, or 3G, and EDGE data networking

Samsung added that the Omnia will be available in 8 GB and 16 GB versions and support a range of multimedia, such as video standards like DivX, XviD, H.263, H.264, Windows Media Video and MP4. It will offer a music player that can hold roughly 4,000 songs in the 16 GB version. It will feature a 5 megapixel camera auto-focus with anti-shake technology and face and smile detection, compared to iPhone's 2 megapixel camera. The Omnia will feature other tools like GPS and Bluetooth compatibility.

And, for the throwbacks out there not down with the MP3 revolution, the Omnia is expected to feature an FM radio.

The Omnia is expected to be officially announced on June 17 at Communicasia, the 2008 Singapore Expo. It will first be available in Southeast Asia and introduced into more markets in the second half of this year. Pricing was not available Monday.

Word of the Omnia comes just months after Sprint and Samsung teamed up for the Samsung Instinct, a touch screen device that made waves at the CTIA Wireless conference earlier this year. In its own right, the Instinct was billed as an adequate iPhone rival, but the Omnia adds a new level of horsepower, along with Wi-Fi and a better camera. The Omnia can be considered an Instinct on steroids.