Samsung debuts first PDA phone

ALL THE TRIMMINGS: The new model runs Windows Mobile 5.0, sports a 2-megapixel camera and is the slimmest PDA phone in the world at 13.5mm thick

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Mar 29, 2007 - Page 12

Samsung Electronics Taiwan Co yesterday debuted its first PDA phone, the Samsung Anycall i718, to tap into Taiwan's underdeveloped PDA market with sleek features supported by the Windows operation system.

This marks the first time the South Korean consumer electronics maker has joined hands with Microsoft Corp to attract businessmen and businesswomen with an eye for fashion, the firm said.

Samsung claimed that the model, which runs Windows Mobile 5.0 and has a 2-megapixel camera, is the slimmest PDA phone in the world with a weight of 109g and a thickness of 13.5mm.

"Many people still don't want to use a PDA phone because they're not satisfied with the styles and the complex functions now seen on the market. They also want the prices to be more friendly," said Scott Huang (黃思齊), vice president of Samsung's mobile communication department, at the product launch.

Samsung highlights the most useful features in the new product -- Microsoft Office applications including a calendar and e-mail -- for PDA users and provides an easy way to switch between the cellphone and Windows interfaces on its touch screen to simplify operation, he said.

The phone will retail at a competitive price of NT$14,800 (US$447), which will include a complete set of accessories including two batteries, which Huang said would effectively help the i718 gain market share.

The firm expects the i718 to compete head-on with the popular Motorola "Ming" and Dopod 818 Pro.

Huang said that Taiwan's market is expected to see 7.2 million cellphones sold this year, up from last year's 7 million units.

The PDA phone market should more than double from last year's 2 percent of overall cellphones purchased to an estimated 5 percent this year, he said.

"Taiwanese user demand for PDA phones is growing and with the debut of i718, Samsung will launch a series of PDA and smartphones this year," said Ryu Jae-hyun, director of Samsung's mobile communication department.

The company will introduce a smartphone in the second quarter and fine-tune its strategy for the second half of the year based on market response, the Korean executive said.

With 10 percent of the nation's cellphone market, Samsung aims to snatch 12 percent by the end of the year and to challenge the 15 percent mark, a goal set by new president Lee Chul-young, Huang said.

Lee took over the new post from predecessor Jeon Yong-sung last month. Lee

was scheduled to personally launched the new PDA phone in Taipei yesterday,

but had to attend a meeting at Samsung's Seoul headquarters instead.

Samsung predicted its handset sales in the local market should hit 1 million

units this year, up from 800,000 cellphones last year.

To increase sales, the company plans to introduce more than 30 new handsets

this year. Because of the booming third-generation market and high demand

for phones with advanced features, models with such capabilities will have a

heavy focus in the first six months of the year, Jeon said in December.