iPhone beater?

Not that we’re bashing the iPhone this week but, Samsung and Bang & Olufsen unveiled an odd looking device this week that’s being hailed by those who don’t know better as an iPhone beater

The Samsung Serenata, designed by David Lewis, previously rumoured as Samsung Serene 2 or Samsung F310 Serenata, is being described by the press as looking more like a high-tech music player than a traditional mobile phone.

Samsung Serenata is the successor of Samsung Serene, an exotic mobile phone, born again under the Samsung and Bang & Olufsen collaboration. The Serene failed to gain wide popularity, possibly due to its hefty price tag of US1500.

When you first lay your eyes at the tri-band GSM and HSDPA-enabled Serenata, you will notice that it is strangely oriented upside down. The touch screen display is at the bottom of the phone, while the big navigation wheel is located at the top. The navigation click wheel serves multiple functions such as accepting and ending a call, browsing in play lists, typing messages, etc. It also incorporates a "C" and a "Back" key on it’s up and down positions. Under the wheel are placed the "Music" and "More" context keys. Other curious fact is that the phone earpiece is located out of sight under the lacquered aluminium front panel.

  It’s the design of the Samsung Serenata that’s meant to impress, not the phone specifications. The phone itself sports a square 256K colour TFT display, good 4 GB of internal memory for storing lots of tracks and other data, and Bluetooth functionality. No WLAN capability or memory card slot is present, however, but it’s no big deal. We are somewhat put down by the fact that there is no built-in camera. The Samsung Serenata also comes with a collection of special nature-inspired ringtones, but you can also set your favourite MP3 tracks as a ringtone.

The other face of the Serenata is the one of an ‘exceptional’ music player. When the phone is in Music mode the colour of the display turns red, as opposed to the blue-colour display in Phone mode. Serenata has a built-in hi-fi stereo speaker system which delivers outstanding sound quality with no sound distortion even at the highest volume, thanks to the Bang & Olufsen-patented ICEpower amplification. The stereo speakers get revealed when you slide up the bottom part of the phone. Also, a built-in stand is provided, so as to conveniently position the player on your desk for example. Keeping your tracks synchronized is facilitated by the simple BeoPlayer software that can access and organise all music files on the PC and conveniently transfer them to Serenata. The Samsung PC studio however will be in charge of syncing your contacts, messages and appointments with MS Outlook.

Having a hi-fi stereo speaker system in a mobile device comes at a cost of good 19.7 mm of thickness and the hefty 136 g weight of the device.

As of yet there is no information on availability and pricing of the Samsung Serenata – oh well.

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