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Samsung Makes Mobile With Optical Joystick

Gordon Kelly by

Samsung Makes Mobile With Optical Joystick

While mobile phones have evolved beyond all recognition in recent years the navigation systems behind them haven’t so Samsung has had a stab at something different yet rather familiar.

With the announcement of the SCH-V960 the company who likes to scream ‘WORLD’S FIRST!” louder than anyone has done it again by unveiling a handset with an optical joystick. (if you look closely at the right picture above you’ll see the resultant pointer in the top right corner of the screen).

I would argue this technology is better suited to a smartphone but when you combine it with the traditional four way rocker method of phone navigation is has obvious benefits – less menus and web surfing perhaps being the major two – even if those are more likely to be realised when we jump up to higher resolution displays (the V960 has a 2.1in 240 x 320 panel).

For the record, the V960 also has a two megapixel camera, GPS functionality, Bluetooth and a rather clever screen which automatically adjusts its brightness depending on the level of ambient light (something we’ve seen in HD TVs for some time now). This should have a positive impact on battery life (Samsung doesn’t provide figures) and shows that while the mobile phone has come a long way it still has much to learn from the worlds of television and computers.

The V960 will – naturally – debut first in Korea (Dec ’06) and while no global launch has been confirmed I suspect this could be the start of a major new trend. Anyone thinking Half Life 2 on their mobile in a few years…? ;)


Samsung V960 Press Release

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