Continuum's second display acts as "ticker" to show time, weather, and headlines in a move to save battery life for phones running on the Verizon network.
The Samsung Continuum Android smartphone on the Verizon network takes a
radical approach to extending battery life by adding a second, very small
1.8-by-5-inch front-facing screen. The second screen can display the time and a
scrolling ticker with news, sports and social media feeds without lighting up
the main display.
I would prefer to see Samsung and Google-the power behind the Android
throne-work on power-management schemes that extended battery life without the
radical hardware changes seen in the Continuum. However, the dual-screen
gimmick is a decent workaround. Both displays use Super AMOLED screen
technology and yield a clear and bright picture.
images of the Samsung Continuum in action, click here.
The Samsung Continuum, which runs Android 2.1, became available on November
11. The smartphone has a full retail price of $549; with contracts and rebates
the price drops to $199.
The Continuum is built around a high-performance hardware platform but
doesn't set any new standards here. The device is equipped with a 1 GHz
Hummingbird application processor and a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash.
The camera is also capable of HD video capture. The handset comes with 2GB of
internal storage and an 8GB microSD card, with support for up to 32GB. With
this combination of hardware components, I got swift and responsive screen
interaction. Scrolling was consistently smooth and applications and media
players responded quickly and without hesitation.
The phone uses a virtual keyboard that can be used with Swype fingertip
movements, although I prefer the virtual keyboard. I got good reception on the
street and in my office in downtown San Francisco.
What's more, the Continuum uses a 3.5mm headphone jack and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
connectivity, and it can act as a 3G mobile tether for up to five compatible
Wi-Fi devices. The Continuum was easy to use with a single hand. The device is
just under 5-inches by 2.5-inches by .5-inches and weighs 4.41 ounces.
With support for Microsoft Exchange, enterprise IT managers could very well
see the Continuum show up for work. I integrated the Continuum into our
Microsoft Exchange 2007 infrastructure. I was able to use Exchange policies to
control user log-on, including setting the maximum number of log-on attempts
before locking the handset. I was also able to successfully complete a remote
wipe action on the device.
The second, smaller display provides a neat way to extend battery life while
providing nearly instant access to useful information. The second display-which
resides beneath the home feature buttons on the front face of the Continuum-is
activated by gripping the bottom sides of the device. It took me some practice
to learn how to quickly activate the second display, especially when holding it
with one hand. I tested the device without a protective case, but I'll venture
a guess that using the grip activation gets trickier when a rubber casing is
The ticker is user-configurable. I was able to add news and sports channels
tailored to my interests from the settings menu. In addition to time, weather
and headline information, I could swipe the second display to get summary
information about email, voice mail, and text messages. Tapping a list icon on
the second display immediately activated the main screen and displayed a list
of items that were running in the ticker window.