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Samsung shows 'world's first' hard drive phone

1.5GB handset for the price of two 8GB iPods

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Samsung has shown what it claims is the world's first mobile phone that incorporates a hard drive.

The SPH-V5400, unveiled today in Japan, includes 1.5GB of hard disk storage. That's barely more than you can get from a SD or CompactFlash card, but it's a start, presaging the day when handsets are as much iPods as phones.

The Apple product is not only more capacious than the Samsung handset, but cheaper too. When the SPH-V5400 goes on sale in South Korea later this month, it will retail for around $800, IDG reports.

The idea of adding a hard drive to a handset isn't new, but so far disk sizes and reliability issues have weighed against their incorporation into mobiles. The arrival of 1in drives makes equipping a handset with hard disk storage a possibility, but production isn't easy or cheap - one of the chief reasons why Apple's iPod Mini is proving too hard to get hold of.

The Samsung handset also features an FM radio, 64-voice polyphonic ringtone support, a 240 x 320 display and TV output - again, preparing the way for the day when mobiles incorporate Microsoft Portable Media Center-style functionality.

Ditto the phone's radio, which like the Neuros II 'digital audio computer' and the Griffin iTrip can broadcast audio content to nearby FM receivers. ®

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