Samsung is no stranger to business phones, but its efforts in the past have been a bit hit and miss and as a result it's not exactly the first brand that business types think of when they're looking for a new smartphone. So in an effort to up its reputation among these users it's decided to introduce new branding for all its business smartphones. From now on Samsung handsets that are aimed specifically at a business audience will carry a new ‘BizBee' branding.
The first smartphone to get the BizBee treatment is the SGH-i780. If this handset sounds familiar to you that's because it's already been on the market. Samsung gave it a relatively low key launch last year and we reviewed it back in April. However, for the re-launch Samsung has made some significant changes to the product, not least of which is that the operating system has been upgraded from Windows Mobile 6.0 to Windows Mobile 6.1.
So does the move to 6.1 bring many advantages? The answer kind of depends on how you use your smartphone. If you're going to use it with a corporate push email system then 6.1 is a big advantage because it's push-email protocol is more bandwidth efficient so data usage is reduced and this brings with it improve battery life. There are some other, perhaps less important, tweaks too. SMS conversations are threaded by sender under 6.1 and you can delete multiple messages in one go, setting up email has been made easier and the newer version of Internet Explorer has a zoom out function to give you an overview of the page you're at so you can then zoom in on specific areas that you want to read.
Despite the upgrade to Windows 6.1, when you turn on the device the most obvious difference between this updated model and the old version of the handset is the new home screen. The older version of the phone presented you with the standard Windows Mobile 6.0 home screen along with a row of icons down the left hand side to give you quick access to functions like the calendar, contacts book, messaging and the web browser. The updated handset, instead, has a new home screen - imaginatively titled Samsung Today 2 - that's been designed to be more finger-friendly (the i780 has a touchscreen after all) and so presents you with a number of chunky icons.
The top section of this screen features a carousel type menu where you swipe your finger left or right to move though different menu items. Each menu entry then brings up a separate panel of options underneath. For example, selecting the contacts icon in the top menu brings up a grid showing six of your favourite contacts, while selecting the settings icon shows a grid of controls for turning on and off things like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The interface is pretty basic and because it lacks slick animations, like those used in HTC's TouchFlo menu system, it's about as exciting as a Friday night in watching re-runs of Friends. That said, this is a business handset, so it's meant to be more functional than flash.