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New Samsung mobile rivals iPhone

Electronics giant unveils latest handset

Electronics company Samsung has unveiled a new mobile phone that features some of the sleek design and functions of Apple’s much-hyped iPhone.

Samsung’s Ultra Smart F700 will be exhibited at the 3GSM World Congress, a telecommunications exhibition in Barcelona, Samsung spokeswoman Sonia Kim said.

Mobile phone manufacturers have been scrambling to match the iPhone, unveiled last month by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

The ultra-thin iPhone is controlled by a large touch screen, plays music, surfs the Internet, and runs the Mac OS-X operating system, among other functions.

Touch screen

Samsung said the Ultra Smart F700 also has a full touch screen as well as a traditional Qwerty key pad that slides out ‘for users who are not yet familiar with a touch-screen-only user interface.’

The phone can also access the Internet, play music, take pictures, show videos, handle e-mail and share photos, said Samsung, the world’s third-largest manufacturer of mobile phone handsets.

Its third-generation (3G) technology is considerably faster than the iPhone’s EDGE system, and its 5-megapixel camera outclasses the iPhone’s 2-megapixels.

‘The Ultra Smart F700 is a good example of how the mobile phone will evolve in the future,’ Choi Gee-sung, President of Samsung’s Telecommunications Network Business, said in a statement.

iPhone and iTunes

Last month, Samsung rival LG Electronics announced a touch-screen mobile phone named the KE850 Prada.

The LG phone, produced in partnership with the Italian fashion brand, is to go on sale in late February in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. It is to be launched in Asia in March.

Meanwhile, British mobile music company Omnifone will also unveil a new service today to rival Apple’s upcoming iPhone and its iTunes music service.

The company said its new MusicStation would let users download new songs from dozens of major music labels for £1.99 a week.

Omnifone Chief Executive Rob Lewis said the aim was to get the service to customers before the planned November introduction of Apple’s iPhone.

‘We will ensure the vast majority of Europeans have the freedom to choose MusicStation by the time iPhone arrives in Europe. We will give consumers the choice they deserve,’ he said.

Download music

The service works by letting users search, download and play music on their phones and synchronise it with their personal computer or Macintosh to create playlists that can be shared with other MusicStation users.

Pricing will be £1.99 a week in Britain for unlimited downloads and a premium service will offer unlimited music downloads to a subscriber’s mobile and PC for £2.99 a week.

Songs downloaded through MusicStation, along with users’ playlists are stored centrally meaning that if a mobile phone is lost or stolen, the content is not, and can be downloaded to a new phone.

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