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Samsung spins BlackBerry-like Android 2.2 smartphone

Mar 8, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Samsung announced a BlackBerry-like, 2.8-inch “Samsung Galaxy Pro” smartphone featuring Android 2.2 and an exposed QWERTY keyboard, set to debut first in the U.K. Meanwhile, Samsung claims its Android 3.0-based Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet is on schedule for a spring release, despite earlier comments by an executive that suggest it mignt go back for an overhaul to better compete with the iPad 2.

Samsung Electronics announced the Galaxy Pro, a smartphone running Android 2.2 that offers an exposed QWERTY keyboard and a 2.8-inch touchscreen. The Galaxy Pro, as shown in the official photos posted on Samsung Hub, is the first Samsung Galaxy phone with an exposed QWERTY keyboard, making it easier for users to type email in a user experience approximating that of the enterprise-oriented Blackberry.

Samsung Galaxy Pro
Source: Samsung Hub

The Galaxy Pro is powered by an 800MHz CPU, offers 512MB of memory, and includes a three-megapixel camera for pictures and video capture. The gadget offers up to 11 hours of talk time with its 1350mAh battery, says Samsung. A mobile hotspot is also said to be available.

While most handsets that use the "Pro" designation offer devices with serious corporate security (see Motorola Droid Pro), the "Pro" in the Galaxy Pro is merely a signal that the device offers a physical keyboard. An earlier, keyboard-enabled Samsung phone based on the original Galaxy design was Sprint's Samsung Epic 4G, but that four-inch phone offered its QWERTY keyboard on a slider and did not include the Galaxy branding in its name. The Epic 4G was based on a Samsung design named Galaxy S Pro.

The new Galaxy Pro runs on Android 2.2, supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1, and features Google Maps for navigation. The Galaxy Pro also supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and includes the Think Free Office Document Editor for helping users view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

The phone is also for socialites. Pro is fitted with Social Hub Premium, which lumps email, instant messaging, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter in a single central contact list, with each message accessible via a single touch of the touchscreen or keyboard. HTC's Sense user experience and Motorola's Motoblur UI offer similar messaging integration on their Android handsets.

Samsung in its press release said the integration of the Social Hub Premium software, combined with the dual-input control, make it the "perfect business partner and social secretary."

The Galaxy Pro, which runs on HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) and quad-band GSM networks, will be available during the second quarter in the U.K. market, followed by a rollout in other European countries, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and India. U.K. service provider Three has already voiced its support, as shown in the YouTube video below. No word yet on the Galaxy Pro's potential availability for the U.S.


Three demo of Galaxy Pro on YouTube
(Click to play)

Galaxy Tab 10.1 on schedule, says report

Several days ago a Samsung executive was quoted as saying the company's upcoming, Android 3.0-based Galaxy Pad 10.1 might need to be reworked or dropped in price in light of the Apple iPad 2's thin profile and low price. But Samsung is now saying the tablet will ship on schedule, says this eWEEK report. The confirmation is said to have been made via the same Yonhap news agency that last week quoted Samsung Executive Vice President Lee Don-Joo as saying about the tablet, "We will have to improve the parts that are inadequate." 

Further suggesting that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (pictured) is nearing its launch date, rather than being sent back to the drawing board, is the fact that the tablet was approved last week by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

The 10.1-inch, dual-core tablet was originally said to set ship "this spring." Meanwhile, Samsung is rumored to be prepping a new 8.9-inch Galaxy Tab model to be released Mar. 22. Speculation was fueled Mar. 3, when Samsung invited journalists to an event in Orlando, Fla., related to the Samsung tablet portfolio.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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