Samsung Jet – Positive First Impressions – Touch progress in the non iPhone world.

August 21, 2009

in Mobility

I just spent two weeks on vacation in France. It was the friends, wine and scenery that really kept my attention. Yet each time I visit another country I’m always looking at people hands to see what sort of phone they are using. My techno geekery usually gets input from friends too. So while in France I found I had a Samsung Jet (US$439) briefly in my hands. This is a new phone and potential¬† iPhone competitor.

In the world of mobiles… it basically remains iPhone versus the rest. I’ve been studying the Nokia 5800 and N97 recently to understand their touch experience. Relative to the iPhone I’ve continued to find that “touch” is not equal. The Samsung Jet was the first to really suggest to me that other manufacturers are catching up or at least learning from the iPhone.

This is a short video found on YouTube.

When considering a touch phone two things matter for the manufacturer and carrier.
1) Is it a first time touch buyer? (Is it better than my current phone?)
2) Can I convert an iPhone user with this phone? (the real test!)

In my view touch is simply better. It enables a large screen opening up new possibilities; particularly around data consumption (reading, video) and the “keys” are now software and thus can change with the tasks. The Samsung Jet captures the first type of user. The second… well I was pleasantly surprised. It does the things I do most frequently well. The screen doesn’t mimic all the iPhone gestures although it was pretty good. I was not immediately lost. I found the touch effective (although not capacitive touch) and the screen very very¬† impressive. I believe it is a OLED screen for lower power consumption and better color. It was stunning (800X480). The overall package is smaller than an iPhone and nicely weighted. It also has a camera that is many many times better than the iPhone. It’s got a webkit based browser.

The Samsung Jet (US$439 approx) apparently doesn’t have a future in the US. Unless AT&T carries it and therefore discounts it.

So what quick conclusions or thoughts?

  1. The Samsung Jet is a Nokia challenger. It demonstrates to me that Samsung has moved faster to embrace touch and may well be closer to rolling out “low cost” touch devices. That threatens Nokia globally. In the family that owned the Samsung Jet they also had a Nokia 5800. The Jet was preferred or seen as better.
  2. The iPhone appears semi-protected here in the US. The potential challengers (other than RIM) aren’t effectively supported or only enabled to provide low cost handsets. The future for the iPhone will be decided in overseas markets. The gap is closing and potentially so is Apple’s window of opportunity.
  3. WebApps continue to have a big future. I didn’t have time to test the Samsung Jet in this way. I suspect there is an opportunity here just like Apple found.

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