Samsung Makes Mobile With Optical Joystick

Navigate your phone with a pointer.

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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