By Patrick Avenell

Samsung has released its new budget-conscious Smartphone – a pertinent release considering the more constrained economic conditions the world is now facing.

The Samsung i617T, which is exclusive to Telstra, is described as “perfect for those needing a phone to support their demanding lifestyles on a smaller budget”.

The i617T runs off Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and features Direct Microsoft, Push Email, over the air mobile synchronisation of PIMS, a jog wheel and a full QWERTY keyboard. Transfer speed is 3.6 Mbps HSDPA and international roaming is through Triband UMTS.

Multimedia functions include built-in A-GPS, a 2-megapixel camera, video recorder and player, and MP3 player. The handset includes 4 gigabytes of expandable memory.

The major selling point of this Smartphone, however, is the price point. The minimalist camera capabilities and relatively low internal memory may negatively contrast with the premium Smartphones on the market, but at RRP $589, or free on a $30 plan, Samsung are targeting the aspiring Smartphone consumer whose high-flying lifestyle may have been curtailed by economic downturn.

Since the early days of the Palm, and then the pervasion of the Blackberry, Smartphones were considered the ultra-premium models in the mobile phone category. The advent of the entry-level Smartphone sub-category will provide amusing analytical fodder for industry observers.