Samsung unveils CDMA2000 handset with camera

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has unveiled the company’s first CDMA2000 (Code Division Multiple Access) cellular telephone handset with a built-in digital still camera function.

The SPH-X590 features a 100,000 pixel class CCD (charge-coupled device) pick-up at the swivel point between the screen and main body of the cell phone. The camera can itself swivel through 180 degrees and also comes with a 4-times digital zoom and 20 different aperture settings, said the company in a statement. The phone has enough memory to store 100 images.

Other features of the handset, which operates on CDMA2000 1x networks, include a 40-chord polyphonic ring tone and a colour TFT LCD (thin film transistor liquid crystal display) that can display 10 lines of text in normal operation and 12 lines of text when being used for wireless Internet browsing.

The handset measures 9.5 centimetres by 4.8 centimetres and is 2.4 centimetres high. The telephone weighs 99 grams with a small (700 milliamperes) battery attached and 104 grams with a standard (900 milliamperes) battery. Samsung said the small battery provides enough power for around 90 minutes of talk time and between 50 hours and 150 hours on standby, depending on conditions. The standard battery will provide for 150 minutes talk time and between 70 hours and 210 hours of standby time.

The telephone, which is already on sale in South Korea, costs around 500,000 won (US$385). Samsung has no specific plans at present to sell the handset overseas, it said.

While the new phone represents the first CDMA2000 handset with built-in camera from a Korean manufacturer, it is not the first such handset worldwide. That crown was claimed by Casio Computer Co. Ltd. which put on sale its C3012CA handset with Japanese carrier KDDI Corp. at the beginning of April. Like the new Samsung phone, the Casio model is a folding-type clamshell design but includes a better quality CCD pick-up, capable of 350,000 pixel resolution.

Japan, and in particular Vodafone Group PLC’s J-Phone unit, has been driving development of cell phone handsets with embedded cameras. J-Phone launched its first model in the middle of last year and it was an instant hit. Today, many of the carrier’s handsets feature built-in cameras and the Casio handset that was launched in April was the first KDDI handset to feature one. Market leader NTT DoCoMo Inc. has yet to offer such a handset but is planning one, its president said recently.

Samsung said it plans to unveil a further new model next month that features a video-phone camera with a CCD pick-up that swivels through 360 degrees and has a TFT-LCD with 260,000 pixel resolution.