Samsung Continuum: Tick, Tick, Tick

The ticker at the bottom can be configured to show
the date and time, the weather or other infornation.

So you’re in that big meeting and you’re bored stiff. You want to keep track of the calls you’re missing, your e-mail and the price of that stock you just invested in, but you don’t want to get caught poking at your cell phone every  other minute. For you there’s the Samsung Continuum, an Android smartphone billed as the first with its own customizable “ticker.”

The Continuum, the newest in the Samsung Galaxy S family of handsets with Samsung’s bright, sharp Super AMOLED display, arrives at Verizon Wireless stores Nov.18 but orders will be taken starting Nov. 11. The handset will sell for $200 with a two-year service plan after a $100 rebate. The Galaxy S family has already sold three million unit since its introduction this summer, according to Kim Titus, director of public relations for Samsung Telecommunications America.

Samsung Continuum ticker in music player mode with album art

Below the Continuum’s 3.4-inch main screen and four touch-sensitive Android keys (menu, home, return and search) is a thin piece of screen real estate at the very bottom set aside for a scrollable ticker. You can customize this 1.8-inch ticker so that it shows missed calls, incoming e-mail, stock prices, the weather or other bits of continuously updated information. And all you need to do get the ticker to reveal itself is to grip the handset at the bottom. Only the ticker section will come to life–the rest of the screen will remain dark, thus making it less likely that the chairman of the board will catch you checking your e-mail while the big meeting is still in progress.

Nick DiCarlo, Samsung

At a press conference in New York on Monday, Nick DiCarlo, director of product planning at Samsung Telecommunications America, said the Continuum was an example of “innovating on Android … in a way you’ve never seen till now.”

The point of the ticker is to allow you to get information without interrupting what you’re doing on the main part of the screen. For example, if you’re using your calendar app on the main screen, you can see the contents of an incoming text message in the ticker as it comes in without having to leave the calendar.

Thanks to the lightweight nature of the Super AMOLED screen technology, the Continuum is thin and light like the other handsets in the Galaxy S-family handsets. The Continuum will ship with Android 2.1, however, which means it won’t be able to handle Web videos and other features built with Adobe Flash 10.1 until it receives the Android 2.2 upgrade.

The unit can function as a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to link up to five other devices to the Internet through the phone. Also included is a five-megapixel digital camera with HD video capabilities, stereo Bluetooth support for wireless accessories, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and an eight-gigabyte removable memory card–which can be swapped for media with capacities up to 32 gigabytes.

Also preinstalled is Swype, a utility which lets you spell words on the on-screen keyboard by sliding your finger from key to key without lifting your finger from the screen.

On balance, the Continuum seems to be an admirable addition to the Samsung Galaxy S family, but it remains to be seen if the ticker feature will catapult it to the head of the pack.

Text and photos Copyright 2010, Stadium Circle Features

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