Samsung Windows Mobile phone includes video editor

Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. has announced the Omnia, a Windows Mobile device with EVDO and WiFi connectivity, will ship this month in Canada.

The smart phone is already available in the U.S., Europe and Asia, said Paul Brannen, general manager of Samsung Canada’s wireless terminals division.

Ronald Hulse, vice-president of sales and marketing at Samsung Canada’s IT division, said the device is aimed at both consumers and businesses.

The device got its name because Omnia is Latin for everything.

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“What we’ve tried to do is build everything into this device to allow you to customize it to what your personal preferences and personal needs are,” Brannen said. “One of the unique things about Windows Mobile that really gets overlooked in the marketplace is the ability to actually edit Word documents, edit Excel files on the fly,” he said, adding you can use Omnia to connect to a projector and show PowerPoint presentations.

Pricing was not announced but Samsung did say the device will be offered by Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility (which, at press time, said it will be available “soon” and will cost “from” $129 on a 3-year contract).

In Canada, Samsung has 32 per cent share of the “traditional” mobile phone market, according to market research from IDC Canada. The company’s software analyst, Kevin Restivo, said the “converged” device market is dominated by Research in Motion (with 70 per cent market share) and Apple Inc., whose iPhones command 15 per cent of the market. Windows Mobile devices have 11 per cent market share.

“If you’re using a smart phone in Canada it’s typically powered by one of those three operating systems,” Restivo said.

During a presentation at the Omnia launch at Microsoft Canada Co.’s Toronto office, Restivo said of the 10.5 million mobile devices shipped to the channel last year in Canada, the majority, or 7.8 million, were “traditional mobile phones,” which IDC defines as devices “without a high level operating system.” Surveys indicate the top three considerations for buyers are: size and weight; design and appearance; and battery life.

“That says to me the cell phone industry is still in a nascent state,” Restivo said. “We’re still in the early phase.”

He added mobile device shipments rose 16 per cent in 2008 but IDC is predicting only a four per cent growth rate this year.

“If you’re concerned about your job or how you’re going to make your next mortgage payment or rent, you’re going to hesitate before you buy a handset,” he said. “We asked consumers if they were going to buy a smart phone or handset within the next 12 months and the answer was overwhelmingly no.”

But Restivo suggested the survey result is not necessarily a reliable method of forecasting the future.

“What people say and what people do are actually two very different things but it is a measurement of confidence.”

Restivo said IDC predicts in the long term, smart phones will account for the lion’s share of growth in mobile phones.

Brannen noted the Omnia touchscreen has a QWERTY keyboard with a sensor built in so users can tell when they have hit a key. The “TouchWiz” feature lets users customize their devices. For example, Brannen said he likes sports, so he has an icon on the side that he can touch which lets him go to The Sports Network Web site. He also has it set up so he can check the weather and his stock portfolio.

The Omnia lets users compress photos and upload them to sites such as Facebook and Flickr while they are taking phone calls. It also has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, plus a video camera with video editing software. Samsung says the battery provides “up to” six hours of talk time and “up to” 400 hours of standby time. It weighs 125 grams and is 112 mm high by 56.9 mm wide by 12.5 mm deep.

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