September 07, 2004, 11:04 AM — Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans to begin selling later this month a cellular telephone that includes a hard-disk drive. The handset was unveiled as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom Asia 2004 event began here on Monday and is the first cell phone of its kind in the world, according to the company.
The SPH-V5400 is a clam-shell type cell phone and the hard-disk drive has a capacity of 1.5G bytes, said Lee Yoorim, a Samsung Electronics spokeswoman, at the show. The storage space can be used for several types of media including images photographed with the built-in, megapixel-class digital still camera or music files. The handset can play music files stored in MP3 format and has a built-in FM transmitter so that music can be played through a nearby radio.
Other functions include TV output, dual speakers, 64-tone polyphonic ringer and dual LCD (liquid crystal display) panels. The main screen is a TFT (thin film transistor) LCD with 240 pixel by 320 pixel resolution and the sub screen is an OLED (organic light emitting diode) display with 128 pixel by 128 pixel resolution.
Samsung Electronics is planning to put the cell phone on sale in South Korea before the end of September, Lee said. The phone is compatible with the CDMA2000 1x EvDO standard and will cost around US$800, she said.
The possibility of putting hard-disk drives into cellular telephones began to be talked about seriously about a year ago. As cellular telephones have added multimedia functions such as music players and still and movie cameras, their manufacturers have been increasing the amount of installed memory. Coinciding with this demand for more storage space, hard-disk drive makers have been looking at shrinking drives to the sub 1-inch level.
Several models of 1-inch hard-disk drive are now available from companies including Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc., Cornice Inc. and GS Magicstor Inc. In January of this year Toshiba Corp. demonstrated a prototype 0.85-inch drive and Seagate Technology LLC said in June that it would begin selling a 1-inch drive during the third quarter of this year.