T-Mobile announced on Nov. 13 that the Samsung Behold II will arrive on its 3G network on Wednesday, Nov. 18.
The Android-running smartphone features a 3.2-inch AMOLED screen - T-Mobile's first, which the carrier describes in a statement as offering "crisper colors and wider viewing angles." The screen is paired with a 5-megapixel camera that includes autofocus and video capabilities among its features.
The Behold II is additionally distinct in two ways. It offers Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, which enables users to customize the phone with movable widgets and offers one-touch access to favorite features and applications. And second, the smartphone's menu features an intuitive cube menu that puts a user's favored multimedia features, such as music, photos or the HTML browser, front and center.
A Nov. 11 Gartner study pointed to how manufacturers of open-platform devices, such as those running Android, are individualizing their user interfaces as a way of standing out in an increasingly crowded playing field.
Running the Android operating system, the Behold II offers built-in Google services, including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Google Talk. There's support for personal and corporate e-mail with Exchange ActiveSync, as well as visual voicemail, and instant messaging and SMS over T-Mobile's 3G network or a Wi-Fi connection. Bluetooth and GPS are also on its long list of features.
The Behold II can support up to 16GB of memory and comes with a 2GB microSD memory card, which some believe is a drawback.
"I believe it is poorly priced - $229 for a touchscreen phone with a 2GB card is $129 too much, compared to its competition at other carriers," Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, told eWEEK. "AT&T has the iPhone 3G, Sprint has the Palm Pixi and Verizon Wireless has the HTC Droid Eris; all of them are $99 and come with 8GB of memory."
Greengart said he also wasn't impressed with the smartphone's user interface, which overlays Android 1.5 with TouchWiz. "TouchWiz seems wholly unnecessary on Android."
However, Greengart continued, "On the positive side, the Behold II has a bright and colorful AMOLED screen [the only other Android phone with an AMOLED display is Samsung's Moment at Sprint] and a terrific 5-megapixel camera."
Samsung's Omar Khan, senior vice president of strategy and product management for Samsung Mobile, appears to believe the OS, the interface and the display greatly complement one another.
"Combined with Samsung's advanced AMOLED display technology, innovative TouchWiz user interface and the Android platform, users can create and enjoy a mobile experience unique to their needs," Khan said a statement.