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Samsung to release DivX video phone

Samsung Ultra Video launches next month

Samsung plans to release a mobile phone handset designed for watching video. The Ultra Video will launch next month and supports the DivX video codec.

Samsung's Ultra Video is a chocolate bar-shaped handset with a TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen that offers 262,000 colours and resolution of 240x320 pixels. The screen can also swivel, allowing users to find the optimal screen angle for watching video in one of several formats: DivX, Mpeg4, H.264, and WMV (Windows Media Video).

Samsung claims the phone, which goes on sale in the US in January for $350 (£177), is the first to support DivX, a video codec based on Mpeg4 that allows a DVD to be compressed to a much smaller size, allowing longer videos to be easily downloaded over the internet.

Along with video, the Ultra Video handset supports several digital music formats - MP3, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+, and WMA. AAC is the file format used with Apple's iTunes music download service.

In addition to playing a range of music file formats, the Ultra Video can be used with music download services that support WMA DRM and Microsoft's Media Transfer Protocol. Other features include a microSD (Secure Digital) slot for a removable memory card, support for Bluetooth 2.0 and a 2Mp digital camera.

The handset was on display at the International Telecommunication Union's Telecom World 2006 exhibition and conference in Hong Kong. However, the phone was not switched on and visitors were not able to test its features.

Samsung also showed off its upcoming Ultra Audio handset, which will hit the market in January, priced at $250 (£126). Shaped like a chocolate bar, the Ultra Audio does not support 3G (third generation) networks and has a slightly smaller screen than the Ultra Video. The Ultra Audio's screen measures 2.1 inches across the diagonal.

Ultra Audio supports the same audio file formats as the Ultra Video. It also supports playback of Mpeg4 and H.263 video files.

Information on where Samsung will sell the handsets was not immediately available.

Telecom World runs until Friday 8 December.


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