Samsung’s Hard Drive Phone

Samsung have launched their SPH V5400 mobile phone, a US$800 (€661) handset with a 1.5 gig hard drive in it. Manufacturers have been adding more and more features to handsets for years now, but they have been hampered by the relatively tiny amount of memory available to them.

The recent commercial breakthrough of micro-sized hard disk drives now means that phones can finally start to live up to all those convergence promises by taking advantage of a decent amount of storage. Most mobile phones have under 16 meg of memory – and that doesn’t go very far when you start throwing photographs, Java games, MP3s, ringtones and your address book at it.

The V5400 certainly needs a 1.5 gig drive in it – the phone features a megapixel camera and MP3 player, so users will be able to store about 350 tracks or a few hundred photographs.

Why a hard drive rather than a slightly more drop-friendly Flash memory? Disk drive capacities increase exponentially compared to their cost as the technology matures, the increases enjoyed by Flash memories are much more modest.

The new phone also has two screens – the main screen is an 320 x 240 OLED, and the secondary screen is a 128 x 128 TFT.

A built in FM transmitter will even send music to a near-by radio, just like the Belkin iTrip (unless legislation changes, this feature will not be legal in the UK) – and if you want to view video or photographs on your TV, well there’s an output for that too.

The phone will be available in Korea by the end of September, with no schedule yet for other markets.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?