Kent GermanFormer senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
AT&T/Cingular has been a bit quiet lately, but that all changed this week when the carrier announced three new cell phones. Tuesday it was the RIM BlackBerry Curve, and today it's the Samsung SGH-A717 and SGH-A727. Though the handsets aren't brand new (we saw the former at CTIA and the latter at CES), this is the first time they've landed at a U.S. carrier. And it's interesting to note that these are two of the first handsets to show the new AT&T branding. Both offer multimedia features, and this being Samsung, both sport thin designs. Would you expect anything less?
The SGH-A717 is a minimalist flip phone that somewhat resembles Sprint's Samsung SPH-M610. That means it's decidedly trim (0.5 inch) but it's saddled with a ridiculously small external display. Inside, find support for AT&T's 3G UMTS networks, access to the carrier's music and video applications, a 2.0-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, an MP3 player, world phone support and a speakerphone.
The SGH-A727's candy bar design won't be new to Samsung fans, as it resembles no less than three other phones from the manufacturer. It shares its design (0.35 inch wide) with the Samsung SGH-X820, the SGH-T519 and the SCH-R510. Its features include quadband world phone support, compatibility with AT&T's 3G network and services, a 1.3-megapixel camera, a digital music player, Bluetooth 2.0, and a speakerphone.
The AGH-A717 will be available Monday but we don't know an exact release date for the SGH-A727. Samsung said only that it will be "soon". Both phones are $149 or $99 with a two-year contract.
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