3GSM World Congress - the big, huge, super important international mobile industry conference/trade show - takes place in Barcelona, Spain next week (Feb 12-17). Handset makers traditionally use 3GSM as a stage on which to unveil their latest wares, and often announce handsets in the days leading up to the show to create some pre-Congress buzz. To wit, Sony Ericsson officially unveiled their much-anticipated w880i Walkman phone (along with a handful of other models) earlier this week.
This morning, however, Samsung stole the pre-show spotlight with the announcement of the Ultra Smart F700, a slim smartphone with a design and spec sheet that blow both Apple's iPhone and Nokia's N95 right out of the water. Featuring a 2.78" touchscreen with a resolution of 440x240, slide-out QWERTY keypad, HSDPA speeds rated at a blazing 7.2 Mbps, and a 5-megapixel camera, the F700 offers up everything but the kitchen sink. It does so in style, too, wrapping all of those features in a Flash user interface and a relatively svelte 104 x 50 x 16.4mm form factor.
While a handset this good can't, of course, be officially earmarked for the U.S., it's GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz radio will work on T-Mobile and other GSM networks stateside, though it lacks the 850 band that Cingular and some other providers rely heavily upon. Using the Ultra Smart F700 in the US won't get you those 7.2 Mbps download speeds, but I bet it'll warrant more than one, "Hey, is that the iPhone?" that you can answer with, "No, dude. This is way beyond an iPhone."