Samsung Electronics on Apr. 27 unveiled its first smartphone using the Android operating system backed by Google. The South Korean electronics giant is the second company to roll out an Android-powered phone after Taiwan’s HTC, although Motorola, Sony Ericsson, LG Electronics all have plans to make Android phones. Samsung’s first Android phone, the I7500, will be sold only in Europe from June, but the company is due to follow up with other Android handsets for the U.S. and Asia in the second half of this year.
The I7500, while offering users access to the full suite of Google services, including Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar and Google Talk, focuses more on multimedia functions. It sports a 3.2-in. full touch screen, 5-megapixel camera and a built-in memory of 8 gigabytes plus an external memory of up to 32 GB, but it won’t have physical QWERTY keypad. It is less than a half-in. thick, uses AMOLED technology for crispy display, instead of the more commonly used LCD technology, and offers a 3.5mm audio jack to allow users to plug in their favorite headphones for music and video playback.
The Samsung Android phone underlines the Korean company’s determination to become a major player in the smartphone market, now dominated by Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s BlackBerry. It is one of about 20 smartphones Samsung plans to roll out this year. Last week, Samsung said its telecom business earned $833 million on sales of $7.26 billion for a profit margin of 11.5% in the first quarter of this year, beating Nokia’s 8.9% margin.