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Comdex: Samsung previews phone-PDA

Samsung Electronics previewed a combination phone-PDA running the Palm operating system, and said it expected to make it available in the US before the end of the year.

The SPH-i330 is a compact handset that is light on buttons and heavy on screen space. Its colour, 160-by-240 pixel display is touch-screen sensitive and doubles as a dialing keypad. In PDA mode, it features all of the standard Palm OS applications, such as an address book and calendar, and uses Palm's Graffiti language for inputting text.

The handset is a dual-band, tri-mode unit compatible with CDMA (code division multiple access) networks at both 800MHz and 1900MHz. On the CDMA side, the telephone supports Sprint's recently launched CDMA2000 1x network, which supports packet data rates of up to 144kbps (bits per second).

In CDMA mode, the battery offers about two and a half hours of talk time or four hours of standby time. In analogue mode, talk time is reduced to an hour but the phone can remain on standby for up to 14 hours.

The SPH-i330 runs version 3.5.3 of PalmSource's operating system and its Blazer Web browser, and is an update to a similar device already on sale called the SPH-i300. The company said earlier in the year that the new device would be available around September, but has missed that release date.

A second Samsung phone-PDA running the Palm OS did not make it on to the Comdex show floor, although the company said the device should appear at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The SPH-i500, that device is in a clamshell shape and features the same software as the SPH-i330.

Samsung is also working on a combination phone-PDA based on Microsoft Corp.'s Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition software.

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