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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Samsung Continuum now available for $199

Earlier this week, Samsung took the wraps off their latest device, a Galaxy S series device, called the Continuum. It has been rumored several times, and is finally official. The device is very similar to Samsung Android phones, and features a 3.4" Super-AMOLED screen, 1GHz processor, 5MP camera, as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc.

What sets it apart is the unique second display at the bottom. This secondary screen can be used for multiple functions, including acting as an icon dock for launching apps, showing new text messages or emails, displaying RSS feeds, and even showing the next turn in VZW Navigator.

In addition, the Continuum has capacitive grip-sensors on its side which instantly activate the lower screen when the device is picked up. This lets you just pull it out to quickly see if you have any new messages without waking up the whole device. And since the sensors are capacitive, you don't have to worry about other things in your pocket accidentally activating it.

All of Samsung's apps are able to use the secondary screen, and it obviously supports displaying new emails and messages. Samsung also said they've made the code needed to use the display available to developers, so that 3rd party apps can be modified to take advantage of the screen. Whether developers will take the time to modify their apps to use a feature available on just one phone remains to be seen.

The biggest downside is that that the Continuum is just the latest of Verizon's Android devices to come with Bing pre-loaded as the default search and map service. We don't know yet whether that can be easily changed.

The Continuum is available today from Verizon and costs $199 after a $100 mail-in rebate. [via DroidDog]

Remember back when flip phones first got screens on the outside, and how that was just so cool? This reminds me a lot of that and I still think this is one of the coolest ideas. Being able to have information like weather, messages, etc. available so quickly is such a neat concept. I think this will really appeal to buyers, too. The downside is that I don't think any developers are going to bother changing their apps for this phone, so it will likely forever be limited to displaying the same stuff on that lower screen. But still, it's a really appealing device...even if it does does have Bing.

I'm not even going to talk about the Bing crap, because I think we all know how I feel about that. But, I'm still not completely sold on the second screen. I feel like it's more gimicky than anything else. And maybe that's the point--it's the first of its kind, and more innovation is likely in the future. I'm sure people who use the phone will see it as very useful, but I don't know if it's going to turn into one of those essential features that we'll end up demanding on nearly every new phone. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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