Samsung's Omnia HD, rolled out at Mobile World Congress, brings one fantastic new feature to the world of cellphone video-making: It shoots in 720p high-definition. And that's a first, and a welcome one at that—if only because it heralds an end to the grainy, poor-resolution video shot in 4:3 ratio from current cellphone digital cameras.
Of course, the Omnia HD is also a camera phone—part of the convergence trend being pushed by Samsung and Sony Ericsson at the moment. It can also take 8-megapixel stills and features auto-focus, an image stabilizer, face-, blink- and smile-detection, and a flash. It performs digital zooming, has in-built geotagging and can be set for self-timer shots and automatic panoramas. It's basically a full-featured digital camera/video camera.
Its screen is an even a 16:9 format one, paralleling the shape of 720p video. At 3.7 inches, it's just the right size for you to enjoy a movie while you're on a long flight. The display is even AMOLED, which brings power saving and particularly vivid color reproduction in 16-million colors, and it's a full touch-screen—though it only manages a quarter 720p resolution itself at 640 x 360 pixels.
Besides its full touch-screen, the device is a 3G smartphone, with motion-sensors for gaming, Wi-Fi, built-in GPS and electronic compass for navigation, and connectivity over HSUPA at 5.76Mbps and HSDPA at 72.Mbps. Of course shooting HD video needs extra storage, so the Omnia HD has either 8GB or 16GB of internal memory, and external storage on microSDHC that can offer up to 32GB more—Samsung sets the maximum storage capacity as large enough to store 18,000 8-megapixel photos.
Though the Omnia HD is a foretaste of smartphones to come—a fully-integrated phone, camera, and navigation device—it simply lacks the advanced OS that Android or OS X offers, that would make it a full mobile Internet device also. Still, it's an innovative first, and perhaps the "on the scene" videos and photos that we're getting used to through the expansion of citizen journalism will get better when other cellphone makers copy Samsung's thinking.