Samsung Wave rolls in

At Mobile World Congress, handset maker introduces the Samsung Wave, its first phone with the new Bada operating system.

From the signs looming over Mobile World Congress we knew that Samsung was going to "unpack" a new phone in Barcelona. And the night before the show began the company did just that with the Samsung Wave, the first handset to run on Sammy's new Bada operating system.

Samsung Wave Samsung

Also called the S8500, the Wave's slim (4.64 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.42 inch deep) candy bar design resembles previous Samsung touch-screen handsets like the Omnia II. The 3.3-inch AMOLED (800x480 pixels) display supports TouchWiz 3.0, which features quick access to apps, integration with social-networking services, and user customization of the home screen. You'll also find Social Hub, which promises combined delivery of e-mail, text messages, and calendar events.

The bigger story, however, is inside. As mentioned, the Wave is the debut device for Bada. Though Samsung rolled out the new OS in November, this is our first chance to check it out and see what it offers. We know that the open OS will have access to Samsung's new application store, but we can't say yet how Bada will compare with Google Android and what it will do for Samsung. Once we get the chance to play with the Wave and Bada, we'll tell you more.

Also under the hood is a 1GHz processor, Wi-Fi a media player, an accelerometer and proximity sensor, Samsung's Dolfin Browser, assisted-GPS, text and multimedia messaging, e-mail, an RSS reader, voice commands, a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash, a microSD card slot (32GB capacity), and (thankfully) a 3.5mm headset jack. What's more, the Wave is one of the first Samsung phones to support Bluetooth 3.0, which offers faster data transfer and enhanced power control.

The Wave will be available in April of this year, though at the time of this writing Samsung did not announce carrier support in North America or elsewhere. The smartphone is a quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) world phone, but the current model's 3G bands (WCDMA/HSPA 900/2100) are not compatible with 3G carrier networks in the United States. The Samsung App Store is presently live in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Singapore, Germany, Brazil, and China. During 2010 an additional 50 countries should follow.

Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of the Wave and Bada, plus photos and video.

 

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