Samsung launched the first 5-megapixel camera phone in 2004, and the first 7- and 8-megapixel camera phones in 2005, so it's no surprise the Korean electronics giant has launched the world's first 10-megapixel camera phone at CeBIT 2006. Like its predecessors, the SCH-B600 looks like a regular handset from the front, but when you activate the camera application, a large lens extends from the back. You won't want to make calls at this point, because you'll feel like an idiot with the lens sticking out of your ear, but if you turn the phone horizontally and frame up a shot, passers-by won't realise you're using a phone -- it looks just like a compact camera.
Samsung hasn't just crammed in lots of pixels. You also get autofocus, a 3x optical zoom and a flash, so you can take candid close-ups and night shots as well as the usual mugshots in front of famous landmarks. You can admire your photos on the bright, 240x320-pixel screen and save them in the phone's internal memory, or on to MMCmicro memory cards. Other features include Bluetooth and MP3 playback.
On the downside, once you get over having more megapixels than anyone else, you're stuck with a big, ugly phone that transforms into a big, ugly camera. There's also the problem of having to move to Korea, because the B600 won't work on UK networks. We don't expect to see a UK version, but some of the technology might trickle down into Samsung's UK phones. It's also a milestone that demonstrates Samsung's commitment to pushing at the limits of technology. -ML
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