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Samsung's Serenata takes on the iPhone

4G music-enabled handset coming this month

Samsung has teamed up with Bang & Olufsen on a new 4GB music-enabled mobile phone which offers a number of other music features similar to Apple's iPhone.

The Serenata handset is expected to go on sale in Europe by the end of the month, said Anthony Lee, a spokesman at Samsung. Pricing has not yet been determined.

Samsung's handset doesn't look much like a mobile phone - the top half is dominated by a navigation wheel, the designers having dispensed with buttons. The 2.26in LCD touchscreen is below the navigation wheel, in the place where the buttons are found on conventional mobile phones. The navigation wheel is intended to be used one-handed. All primary functions on the phone are controlled by the navigation wheel, including searching menus, dialling, writing and accessing music lists, the companies said. The touch screen is secondary.

Samsung SerenataA button on the handset switches it quickly from music to phone mode, and the screen changes from red to blue to make sure the user knows exactly what mode the handset is in. The handset has a built-in speaker and bass system, and can play amplified music for up to five hours through the speaker or for around 13 hours through a headset before requiring a battery charge, the companies said in a news release.

The amount of song storage space is a major difference between Serenata and the iPhone. Apple has already said it will only sell 8GB iPhones in the future, once it sells out of the 4GB model. The latter won't be available in the UK when the iPhone goes on sale here in November.

Samsung believes the 4GB on Serenata, capacity for about 1,000 songs, is enough for most users, said Lee. There is no way to increase the memory capacity of the handset, he added.

The Serenata will work with GSM networks in the 900,1800 and 1900MHz bands, and with HSDPA services on 3G networks. Users can send email SMS text messages from the handset, and store up to 1,000 phone numbers in its address book. The phone allows users to create to-do lists, write in calendars, and has enough battery power for three hours of talk time.

Serenata is an update to the Serene music-mobile phone the two companies put out two years ago.


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