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Samsung 3G/Wi-Fi Smartphone OKed

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Samsung set the mobile world abuzz back in November with the demonstration of a new, and particularly small, Pocket PC Phone called the SCH-i730 at its annual showcase in New York City. The i730 is the follow-up to Samsung's i700 (see Review: Samsung i700 Smartphone Contender... Not Champion).

The i730 took an important step towards consumers hands late last month when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the smartphone for release in the United States. All wireless devices must earn the FCC seal of approval before they are released in this country.

Samsung's documents filed with the FCC reveal the i730 will include both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless networking, features that are increasingly common to high-end smartphones (e.g. Hewlett-Packard's iPAQ h6315, Motorola's MPx, Nokia's 9500 & 9300 Communicators, among others).

Although the i730 uses the standard tablet Pocket PC designlike the T-Mobile MDA III (also known as the XDA III, VPA III, Audiovox XV6600, Sprint PPC-6601, and Siemens SX66)it integrates a QWERTY thumb-keyboard that slides down from underneath its 2.8-inch (240 x 320 pixel resolution and 65,536 color) display, which you can view in either portrait or landscape modes.

Other known features include 64MB of RAM, Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Second Edition, and an SDIO-enabled Secure Digital slot for peripheral and memory expansion.

Keyboard Retracted

Most importantly, however, the handset supports EV-DO. With EV-DO, CDMA carriers like Verizon and Sprint can offer the i730 for their 3G networks, theoretically transferring data at speeds up to 2.4 MBps.

Interestingly, although dimensions for the i730 are unavailable, Engadget reported in November that the i730 is similar in size to palmOne's Treo smartphones. If true, this would make the i730 considerably smaller than that other Pocket PC Phone with a retractable keyboard, the MDA III.

Since Samsung often creates versions of its cell phones and smartphones for the two most important cellular-wireless standards, we won't be surprised if the company develops a GSM/GPRS edition of the i730 sometime down the road. Either way, no release date for the i730 has been made available.

Reprinted from SmartPhoneToday .