August 15, 2002 3:33 PM PDT

Samsung dials up Smartphone 2002

Samsung Electronics received approval Wednesday from the Federal Communications Commission for a new cell phone running Microsoft's Smartphone 2002 operating system.

The device is referred to in the FCC filings as the SCH-i600 and is a clamshell-style device with a Secure Digital card slot. The device, as shown in pictures included with the application, displays a Verizon Wireless logo badge, suggesting that the wireless company may be one of the carriers to support the device.

Samsung representatives did not return calls for comment on pricing and availability and Microsoft representatives declined to comment for this story. In the past, Microsoft has said that the Smartphone 2002 OS will come out by the end of the year with devices to follow shortly thereafter.

Samsung is the No. 2 seller of handsets in the U.S. retail market, behind Nokia but ahead of Motorola. The South Korean electronics company has made strides in the cell phone market, thanks in part to a strategy of developing combination cell phone and handheld devices. Of the top phone makers, only Samsung has agreed to use Microsoft's wireless phone software.

Devices based on Smartphone 2002 OS are meant to be used primarily as cell phones, but the handhelds can access data wirelessly and store information, such as contacts, calendar and tasks, like a Pocket PC. Devices using the Pocket PC 2002 OS, by contrast, are generally used as handhelds. They have larger screens with touch screen capabilities. Additional software can turn them into cell phones.

Microsoft has focused more on its wireless business, recently signing a partnership with wireless carrier AT&T Wireless to address business customers. AT&T Wireless has also committed to producing a device using the Smartphone 2002 OS as late as mid-2003.

Microsoft also has deals in place with Verizon Wireless, VoiceStream, Sprint PCS, mm02 and Vodafone, among others.


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