Samsung claims a GPRS 'world first'

This phone might have plenty of features, but when will there be a network powerful enough to make use of them?

Samsung launched the world's first Class 8 multi-slot GPRS phone Monday, the compact and light SGH-Q100.

Promising packet-switched data speeds of up to 56Kbit/s thanks to its quartet of data receive channels, the 85g Q100 also boasts a decent-sized screen (for a mobile phone) measuring 128x128 pixels, along with a raft of advanced features.

However, it's not yet clear whether network operators will have support for Class 8 GPRS devices in place by the time the Q100 launches early next year. Currently, BT Cellnet is the only network operator to have launched a GPRS service but it is still at the trial stage.

What the SGH-Q100 offers above any other GPRS handset, says Samsung, is a degree of 'future proofing': if you sign up for a GPRS scheme within the next few months and accept a deal that includes a Class 4 phone, with a top data rate of 28Kbit/s, the chances are you will need to upgrade your handset within a few months when Class 8 support becomes available. Obviously the Q100 will work happily enough on a 28Kbit/s network.

The Q100 offers plenty of other features, including a dedicated Internet button, four-way directional navigation with a toggle key that facilitates scrolling and cursor movement, predictive text input, a personal information manager with PC Link synchronisation software, and eleven games.

According to Samsung, the Q100's standard Li-ion battery delivers 120 hours' standby time and 3.5 hours' talk time.

Pricing details for the SGH-Q100 are not yet available.

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