Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 7: More Mobile Stuff

Samsung SPH-P9000 Prototype

Is it a phone? Is it a PC? Does it stake out new ground in wireless connectivity? If what you're looking for is a device that answers "yes" to all of the preceding questions, and combines a tiny footprint with innovative new technology, then maybe you too should check out the Samsung SPH-P9000.

This small device offers a fold out, QWERTY keyboard, but when completely buttoned up its dimensions are a svelte 5.6" x 3.7" x 1.2" (143 mm x 94 mm x 30 mm). Total weight is about 1.28 lbs (580 g), for what surely qualifies as a weighty phone, but a featherlight UMPC. Because the unit runs Windows XP and includes a 30 GB hard disk, it's inarguably a computing device of some kind, and we think the choice of operating system speaks eloquently to its role as having at least part-time UMPC status.

When unfolded, the little screen parks itself between the two halves of the fold-out keyboard (see included photo sams-P9000-1.jpg) and the device looks and acts more like a PC than a telephone. It supports CDMA EV-DO wireless networking, and may be one of the first devices to ship with integrated Mobile WiMAX (aka WiBro, currently available in South Korea). The unit also features a 1 GHz Transmeta processor, 256 MB of RAM, a 5" LCD screen with WVGA resolution (854 x 540 pixels), a 1.3 megapixel camera, and built-in Bluetooth. The biggest buzz on this unit comes from its reputed ability to access the Internet at speeds of 2-3 Mbps even in vehicles traveling as fast as 75 mph!

There's no word yet on how the SPH-P9000 behaves as a telephone, simply because the unit is only available in prototype form at present, though Samsung seems to have built quite a few of them, if their publicity photos are any indication. Early reports do indicate that its small screen can be frustrating for those who actually want to do something on the Internet, and it also apparently runs pretty hot. Santa can't bring you one this Christmas, because it won't be shipping until the second half of next year, but it sure gives all the gearheads on your Christmas list something to lust after, and an early start on next year's wishes. Happy holidays!

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