Verizons Samsung Fascinate Swaps Microsoft Bing for Google Search, Maps

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Verizons Samsung Fascinate Swaps Microsoft Bing for Google Search, Maps

by Clint Boulton

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Meet the Fascinate

Out of the box, the Fascinate is a gorgeous piece of hardware, super light and sporting a shiny enclosure. Samsung calls its "mirror black with chrome details." The device has 2GB of internal memory expandable to 32GB.

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The Fascinate's 5 Megapixel Camera

The camera offers auto-focus and LED flash. The video capabilities enable HD video recording and playback at 720p—the handset supports Android Exchange ActiveSync e-mail to synchronize corporate e-mail, contacts and calendars for business workers.

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Its Thin!

The Fascinate is thin and light, measuring less than a half-inch thick and weighing only 4.16 ounces. The device is almost 5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. The 1500 mAh has 7 hours of usage time or 13 days of standby time.

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The Screen

The 4-inch Super AMOLED screen provides crisp viewing in light and dark places. Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity are standard, along with the 3G Mobile Hotspot capabilities that Verizon charges $20 per month.

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Whither Google?

Those who have played with or tested Verizon's Droid phones are used to the full Google Mobile Services experience. The Fascinate has about half that, offering Bing Search and Bing Maps in lieu of the Google technologies. However, Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk and Android Market are loaded on the device.

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Bing Maps

Bing Maps also features prominently on the handset. Because the Fascinate eschewed Google Maps for Bing Maps, users won't enjoy the free Google Maps Navigation service they may be accustomed to seeing or using.

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Verizon Navigator

But have no fear, users may still use Verizon's custom Navigator app to get free directions. Navigator offers an amalgamation of Bing Maps and status update capabilities for Facebook.

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Bing Widget

Users can tap the Bing widget in Verizon's application tab to leverage the location-based services shown here.

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V Cast Music and More

We mentioned Verizon Navigator, but the Fascinate is actually teeming with Verizon's custom apps, or bloatware as some experts are already lamenting about on Android phones. There is V CAST Music with Rhapsody, V CAST Video on Demand, V CAST Song ID, Visual Voice Mail, V CAST Tones, VZ Navigator and Mobile IM and City ID. Who needs the Android Market?

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Other Non-Google Services

While Verizon's Droid smartphones launch with Google Voice Search and Voice Actions for Android, the Fascinate employs Nuance's voice command application. Users can speak into the phone to text, e-mail or call businesses.

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Swype This

One really cool new feature for a Verizon Android phone is the virtual QWERTY keyboard with integrated Swype software. Swype lets users use gestures to input text into the Fascinate.

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Fascinating Widgets

Fascinate's news and weather widgets will keep users in the loop. See instant access to weather, news, stocks and schedule.

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Write and Go

Write and Go lets users jot down an idea and send it via SMS/MMS, e-mail, calendar or memo or post to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

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