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Samsung zooms in on camera phones

The company is planning the European launch of a camera phone capable of taking pictures with a resolution of 2 million pixels.

Samsung is planning to launch in Europe a camera phone capable of taking pictures with a resolution of 2 million pixels.

At a press conference at the CeBit trade show in Hannover, Germany, on Friday morning, the Korean giant revealed details of the device, which it plans to release before the end of this year. The company also declared it is determined to dominate the growing market for picture-taking phones.

"Camera functions are becoming more essential for mobile communication," said Ki Tae Lee, president of Samsung's telecommunications network division. "We will introduce the 2-megapixel camera-mobile phone for the European market by the end of this year."

Two-megapixel camera phones are already available in Japan, where fast mobile services make it easier to send larger files over the network.

Samsung also announced the SGH-P730, a 1-megapixel camera phone that will go on sale in Europe by the third quarter of 2004. The device can be used to take still pictures and video clips and will play MP3s. Like previous Samsung models, it has a "twist and flip" case design.

While the company claimed that the SGH-P730 is "Europe's first camera phone," that title has already been claimed by Sharp with its GX30.

Samsung also launched at CeBit a 3G handset, called the SGH-Z105. This is the company's second third-generation device. It is set to go on sale in Europe this year--if operators manage to get their networks working.

Ki Tae Lee explained that Samsung is working with Vodafone ahead of the launch of its 3G networks in Europe.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.