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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Details have leaked out of a Samsung Electronics Co Ltd mobile handset that will use Microsoft Corp's long-awaited phone operating system.

The CDMA SCH-i600 incorporates Windows Powered Smartphone 2002 software in a clamshell form factor with color screen and an integrated Secure Digital card slot. The phone appears to have an uncanny resemblance to the Palm OS-based Bluechip prototype that Seoul, South Korea-based Samsung showed at June's CommunicAsia2002 event in Singapore.

Samsung has also aligned itself with Symbian, making it the only major hardware manufacturer developing devices around all three major mobile OSs.

The SCH-i600 is only the second device based on Microsoft's much-hyped mobile phone platform to be seen in its final release form. The long-time holder of this distinction has been Birmingham, UK-based Sendo Holdings Ltd's Z100, although this device has not yet made its commercial debut.

Details of the phone appeared last week on the US Federal Communications Commission web site, after receiving technical approval. Photographs on the web site show the device sporting the logo of Verizon Wireless.

Specifications indicate the SCH-i600 is a tri-band, dual-mode unit with 800MHz and 1900MHz CDMA and AMPS capability. There is no indication yet as to whether the handset will be able to utilize Verizon's CDMA2000 1xRTT network.

Functionality in the SCH-i600's implementation of Smartphone 2002 is generally similar to that of its bigger brother, Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition. However, support for Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Excel appears to be absent from the device's specification. No details are available regarding release date and pricing.

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