Smartphone makers wave hello to feature phone users

Samsung is joining a growing number of smartphone makers in their quest to expand the once niche market of high performance devices to a broader demographic of consumers.

The company's latest device, the Samsung Wave 723 (also known as GT-S7320E), is an application-centric smartphone based on Samsung's Bada operating system.

"The Wave 723 reflects our relentless pursuit of the best in mobile technologies by optimizing the application and social media experience. In new and innovative ways, the Wave 723 delivers on Samsung's goal to give a rich, connected smart phone experience to everyone," said JK Shin, president and head of the Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, in an August 30 press release.

Smartphone makers are encouraging consumers to make the switch from feature phones to smartphones by dropping handset prices or adding smartphone features to existing form factors in a trend that Nokia likes to call, "making the familiar new."

Both RIM (Research In Motion) and Nokia have recently opted to blend smartphone features such as a touchscreen, apps, WiFi and 3G connectivity with an older-styled 12-button keypad, resulting in a fusion that allows for powerful devices at pocket friendly prices.

An August 23 study by Frost and Sullivan predicted that by 2015, smartphone sales would make up more than 50 percent of the Asia-Pacific mobile market, up from just 5 percent in 2009.

The 11.8mm thin Wave 723 comes with a 3.2 inch TFT-LCD display, a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and flash, access to Samsung's Social Hub and mobile application store, WiFi, and a leather flip cover.

The Samsung Wave 723 is due to be released in September in Europe with releases in Southeast Asia, the Middle East Asia and Africa expected to roll out shortly after.

Handset pricing is yet to be announced.