Samsung brings GSM into the fast lane with its new Samsung ZX20 cell phone. It's one of the first cell phones in the United States to support HSDPA networks, a 3.5G technology that's the next evolution of 3G UMTS networks. And when I say fast, I mean it. Although there's still no U.S. carrier that operates a full-scale HSDPA network for cell phones, HSDPA data speeds should range from 384Kbps up to several megabytes. That's like getting the zippiest broadband network on your wireless device. Besides streaming video and audio, you'll be able to download large files and graphics-heavy Web pages in a flash.
Other features on the Samsung ZX20 look very promising. Included are a 1.3-megapixel camera with video (though I was hoping for at least two megapixels), a digital media player for AAC and MP3 files, Bluetooth 2.0, a speakerphone, a TransFlash card slot, text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging (AOL, ICQ, and Yahoo) and quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) world-phone support. My only complaint thus far is that the flip-phone design is a bit humdrum. Of course, I'll have to save my final verdict on the Samsung ZX20 when I can see it running on a widely available HSDPA network, which may take some time. Although Cingular now operates an HSDPA network for laptop users with a modem card, we're not sure when it will roll out to cell phones. And even when it does, it will be restricted to urban areas. T-Mobile, on the other hand, will take a little longer, with an estimated 3G launch in 2007.