Nokia and Samsung each released new consumer-focused smartphones this week, all of which are headed for non-U.S. markets, and all of which emphasize the idea of the phone doubling as a personal music player.
On March 10, Samsung introduced the S5600 and S5230, which will ship to European markets in May and April, respectively. Each is centered around a smooth touch-screen that puts the Apple iPhone in mind and contains the expected phone, e-mail, browsing, Bluetooth and chatting capabilities-along with music browsing, buying and listening features.
On March 11, Nokia announced the expansion of its Comes With Music service, as well as new Nokia Music Stores and three new consumer music phones-the “edgy” 5730 and 5330 XpressMusic phones and the less edgy Nokia 5030, which is intended as a phone and FM radio for emerging markets.
The GSM-based S5600 features a 2.8-inch QVGA (Quarter Video Graphics Adapter) full touch-screen-which means the resolution is 320 by 240 pixels-with a customizable TouchWiz user interface. Mobile widgets can easily be dragged onto the screen for one-click access to favorite applications.
Also taking advantage of the screen, a Gesture Lock feature lets a user draw a letter on the screen with his or her finger to unlock the phone and pull up menus assigned to correspond to the letters.
Connectivity speeds are 7.2M bps, according to the company, and an accelerometer sensor adjusts for vertical or horizontal browsing.
The multimedia-focused device also features a 3-megapixel camera, a “Find Music” music recognition service from Shazam, 80MB of memory plus a Micro SD slot for up to 8GB of additional data space and multi-codec (compression/decompression) support-including H.263, MPEG4 and WMV-for easy file format conversions.
The S5230 features a 3-inch WQVGA (Widescreen QVGA) touch-screen-representing a resolution of 400 by 240 pixels. Basically, it’s a widescreen version of the S5600.
The S5230 is a millimeter thinner than the S5600, at only 11.9mm, and includes a 3-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities supporting QVGA resolution at 15 frames per second.
Among other features, it supports Samsung’s sound-enhancing DNSe (digital natural sound engine) technology and includes Shazam’s music recognition service, 50MB of memory and an external memory slot for 8GB more memory.
The GSM-based S5230 will be available in Europe in April.
Samsung last introduced phones in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, including the Samsung Blue Earth, a solar-powered phone made from recycled water bottles.
Nokia Music Store and Comes With Music
“The digital music player that rings in your pocket is also the library, the shop and the platform to manage all your music,” according to Nokia, and it’s the agenda shared across its latest offerings.
The Nokia Music Store, currently available in 15 markets, lets users browse or purchase music, get recommendations and search for songs, albums and artists. With the Nokia Music for PC software, music can be transferred between Nokia music phones and a PC and streamed, downloaded, or ripped or burned to CD. On March 11, a Nokia Music Store launched in Mexico, and others are scheduled in coming months for Portugal, Norway and South Africa.
Comes With Music enables users to download unlimited music from the Nokia Music Store for a year or 18 months, depending on which package they buy-after which, all purchased music still belongs to the owner and new music can be purchased ??í la carte. It’s currently available in the U.K. and Singapore, will launch in Australia in late March, and will be available in the United States later in 2009.
Nokia 5730 and 5330 XpressMusic
The 5730 and 5330 both feature dedicated keys for quick access to music. The 5730 is Nokia’s first music-optimized device with a full QWERTY keyboard. “The heart of this music device is the Homescreen for XpressMusic, providing access and dynamic information on music, people, games, email and calendar,” explains Nokia in a statement, summing things up well.
The Nokia 5330 XpressMusic, intended for movers, shakers and social networkers, is a top-sliced design with a standard 3.5mm jack for headphones and a battery that can support 26 hours of playback time.
The 5730 is expected to begin shipping in the third quarter of 2009 and to retail for approximately $350. The 5330 will be available in the third quarter, for an estimated retail price of $200.
Goodbye transistor radio, hello Nokia 5030. The 5030, intended for emerging markets, “where people rely on a radio as their main source of entertainment and news,” explains Nokia, offers “up to a day” of listening time and 10 hours of talk time.
The phone is Nokia’s first with an internal FM radio antenna. The 5030 has one-touch radio and channel selection keys on its side and eliminates the need for a headset or external speakers. It can simply be placed on its side to project from its considerable loudspeaker.
The 5030 will ship in the second quarter of 2009, for a retail price in the neighborhood of $50.
The Nokia ExpressMusic devices for U.S. markets were recently pulled from shelves, after experiencing issues with 3G connectivity, and replaced with European counterparts.