The Samsung SPH-P9000; Tablet PC Convergence at Hand

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The Samsung SPH-P9000: Convergence at Hand

For many the Holy Grail of mobile computing is a device that combines the power of full size Tablet PC functionality with the portability and ease of use of a cell phone. Samsung has taken an evolutionary step closer to the ultimate in convergence with the SPH-P9000.

The Samsung SPH-P9000 probably comes closer than any device to date to achieving the convergence of Tablet PC power and mobile phone portability. The device packs an impressive set of features into a form factor that occupies the space between UMPCs and Smart Phones.

At 5.6" x 3.5" x 1.2" the unit is small enough to be pocketed (albeit a large suit pocket), yet at 1.2 lbs not a device you’ll ever forget you’re carrying. The screen sounds like an acceptable compromise at 5" diagonal and 800×480 pixels. For internal storage the SPH-P9000 uses a 30GB hard drive but I would imagine that could be replaced with a flash based drive for lighter weight and greater battery life.

Samsung’s press materials say the device runs Windows XP but we’re assuming they mean Windows XP Tablet Edition since the unit features touchscreen capability. No word on the processor so it remains to be seen whether or not XP would run at an acceptable speed.

Another goodie thrown in for good measure is a 1.3 megapixel camera aimed at the user and ostensibly for video calling.

The engineers at Samsung apparently took the term Origami to heart when designing this device. Perhaps one of the most interesting features is that the unit unfolds to reveal a decent sized QWERTY keyboard.

It can be positioned to work as a desktop…

or folded more compactly and used as a traditional Tablet PC.

The engineers also made some interesting wireless choices. The SPH-P9000 features CDMA 1x EV-DO which will give it 3G data support in the U.S. and throughout Asia and bluetooth. But perhaps a first on a device like this is the inclusion of WiMAX the beefed up long distance sibling of WiFi. WiMAX isn’t yet widespread and there’s no guarantee it will one day become a widespread standard so Samsung’s inclusion of the technology here seems like a bit premature.

So is it Smart Phone? A UMPC? A PDA? With the SPH prefix and the emphasis on wireless technologies it looks like Samsung views this unit as a top end smart phone, but they’ll only go so far as to say it’s a "PDA based device."

If you want to pick one of these up you’ll have to wait until the "first half of 2007" and fly to Korea because at the moment there’s no word on whether the unit will make it West.

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