Today, Samsung and Sprint formally announced the SPH-M800 as the Samsung Instinct. The Instinct will serve as Sprint’s answer to Apple’s iPhone. The device has remarkably similar features, and interface to Apple’s iPhone, but also has a few new tricks.
The device is an EV-DO Rev A phone with a 2.0 megapixel camera, microSDHC card slot, full touch screen, and removable battery with up to 5.75 hours of talk time. The device also has a full range of Sprint services, including Sprint TV, Navigation, Music Store, and Pocket Express (formerly On Demand).
Read more for a full first look at the device, with live shots, and initial impressions.
Update: Samsung Instinct Teaser Site (Flash Required)
Correction: ArticleÂ initiallyÂ stated that the Instinct is a Rev 0 phone. It is indeed a Rev A phone, though it does not have QChat Direct Connect.
But, the device improves on iPhone in a few respects. First, the device has integrated Windows Live Search with Voice technology. This is the first Sprint phone to ship with Live Search integrated, let alone the first Java J2ME phone other than BlackBerry to formally receive Live Search in the United States. A user can simply talk to the phone and request anything from weather to directory assistance free of charge. Live Search, like the rest of the operating system, is integrated with GPS.
Also, Instinct does not have an accelerometer, but instead uses new camera software, running in the background. When browsing the web, a user can pan up, down, left, and right by moving the device. The camera processes the motion in the environment and passes those commands to the web browser as sweep commands.
Touch screen performance is important. iPhone set a new standard in touch screen performance, and so did LG’s Voyager (but not in a good way). Voyager’s dismal touch screen makes it appear to be a knock-off compared to iPhone. Instinct, while certainly not finished (the device is still running prototype firmware), currently falls somewhere in the middle. The device responds to most sweeps and touches with ease… but is not as accurate as the precision standard set by iPhone. Instinct at least matches the accuracy of stylus-driven devices.
The operating system interface is clearly Samsung’s standard AU-MIC OS which has been glossed up to match iPhone. And, match it it certainly does… the contacts, calendar, and settings interfaces, as well as the menus themsevles… all are clear mock-ups and rip-offs of iPhone. While it is nice to see iPhone raising the bar, Instinct is clearly mimicking. Is it raising the bar? No, not in terms of interface.
Also, another thing I noticed, was a few interface cues were changed… navigation bar buttons that previously were almost exact iPhone cut-and-paste jobs were replaced with buttons that were custom-drawn, albeit similar to iPhone in every regard. The new buttons bear Sprint yellow instead of blue-and-black Aqua Touch style.
Overall, the hardware is well-designed, I would suggest reserving comment on the firmware until it has been finished. The device is highly reflective (as the live shots below will show), but it also
My personal first take on Instinct is this… it is not going to replace anyone’s iPhone, but it will slow the tide of people porting out to get one. General consumers that are not iPhone SDK-aware, consumers who don’t know their EV-DO from their EDGE… will see Instinct as something that they can keep using Sprint and have a powerful consumer data device. However, with a 3G iPhone coming later this year, Instinct is not going to win back iPhone converts any time soon.
Live Shots & Press Photos
We don’t have time to prepare all the press photos, you can download them at the link below. Note that you really don’t need the high resolution version, the low-resolution version can easily fill a 30-inch computer display.
Live shots available in high definition, click to enlarge…