Samsung preps Android smartphone for Aussie launch

Get ready for a touchscreen Tsunami. Samsung is set to launch all four finger-friendly mobiles in its ‘Icon’ family onto the Australian market.

The Icon range will be unveilled to the local tech media at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursday August 20th.

It comprises four models each sporting similar base features such as Samsung’s superbly crisp AMOLED panels a stylish glossy black finish and (hooray!) standard 3.5mm audio jacks and micro-USB power sockets. However each model in the Icon family is powered by vastly different operating system.

Certain to garner the most attention will be the Galaxy Icon (also known as the i7500) shown below in all its Googlesque glory.

This pretty much ticks all the boxes for an Android handset –  a 3.2 inch 320 x 480 panel which uses responsive capacitive touchscreen technology; 5.0 megapixel camera; 7.2Mbps HSDPA Wi-Fi and GPS; plus 8GB of flash storage bolstered by up to 32GB courtesy of the microSD memory card slot.

The battery is rated at a generous 1500mAh which is beefier than the 1200mAh powerpack of the HTC Magic. Look for the Galaxy Icon to appear on the Vodafone and/or Optus networks as it supports 3G on both the 2100MHz and 900MHz bands. No sign of 850MHz for Telstra Next G alas…

There’s also the obligatory Windows Mobile offering in the form of the Omnia Icon (or i8000) an upgrade to the original Omnia.

In addition to the revamped TouchWiz 2.0 UI sitting atop Windows Mobile 6.1 you get a 3.7 inch 480 x 800 pixel screen 5.0 megapixel camera and 7.2Mbps HSDPA (for 2100MHz and 900MHz not 850MHz) along with Wi-Fi and GPS.

Samsung will spec internal flash memory to 2GB 8GB or 16GB depending on the market but we’re not sure at this stage how much storage we’ll see under the covers.

In addition to being noticeably snappier the TouchWiz 2.0 interface supports multiple gestures – specifically stylised swipes including letters of the alphabet –  which can do everything from unlocking the phone to launching an application or calling a number from your speed-dial directory.

Samsung has also pledged that the Omnia Icon will be flash-upgradable to Windows Mobile 6.5 when Microsoft releases its updated smartphone OS.

Next up is the HD Icon shown below. This one’s built for multimedia and entertainment device with the same 3.7 inch screen as the Omnia Icon but boasting an 8.0 megapixel camera which can record video at 720p HD.

There’s also support for the DLNA home networking and media sharing standard a TV-OUT port and either 8GB or 16GB of on-board memory.

The HD Icon runs on the Symbian operating system and comes loaded with a Symbian version of Samsung’s TouchWIZ UI.

Rounding out the foursome is the oddly-named Preston Icon. This is an entry-level touchscreen mobile in the same vein as the popular Samsung F480 – it runs on the same proprietary Samsung OS with TouchWiz and supports HSDPA over Telstra’s 850Hz Next G network (the only one of the Icon range to do so).

In keeping with the compact design the Preston’s screen is scaled to a 2.8 inch panel backed by a 3.0 megapixel camera while media storage relies almost exclusively on microSD cards.

We’ll have full details on price and availability for each of the new Icon phones later next month.