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Samsung S500i (SGH-S500i) Preview

 Samsung S500i Discontinued
27th September 2005
Updated 17th November 2005 (corrections)

The Samsung S500i (SGH-S500i) is an i-Mode handset scheduled to be released on 1st October to coincide with O2's i-Mode launch in the UK.

There's a certain cosmetic similarity between the S500i and the Samsung E720 and E730 devices, but underneath this is a significantly diferent phone. Sitting near the top of the range of O2's i-Mode devices, the S500i comes with a 1.3 megapixel camera, multimedia playback, stereo speakers and a 262,000 colour screen. It's a 2.5G tri-band GSM device, although i-Mode can run on 3G phones too.

In case you're not familiar with i-Mode, it's an interactive information service tailored especially for mobile phones, covering things such as banking and shopping, rather than the entertainment-orientated O2 Active service. Elsewhere in the world, i-Mode is quite a mature technology, although market penetration is patchy.

The Samsung S500i comes with Bluetooth, expandable memory and has 80Mb of internal memory already, in line with other similar Samsung clamshells.

Joining the Samsung SGH-S500i in O2's lineup are the Samsung Z320 slider (presumably a 3G i-Mode phone), and the low cost NEC 411i and 343i 2.5G handsets. These handsets should be available for contract and pay-as-you-go customers from October 2005.

It's hard to say if i-Mode will be a success as it depends on the quality of i-Mode services available to O2 customers. However, consumers who are frustrated by the fiddlyness of WAP browsers may well warm to the ease of use of i-Mode services. However, the SGH-S500i looks like an excellent handset in its own right, and may be a great help to O2's launch campaign.

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Samsung S500i at a glance




Tri-band GSM


GPRS + i-mode


240x320 pixels, 262k colours


1.3 megapixels


Medium clamshell
Size tbc / weight 98 grams




Not specifed





Battery life:

Not specified


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