Innovative screen design is coming to Verizon

Samsung Continuum -- SCH-i400
The Verizon Samsung Fascinate, left, and Continuum, right.

Behold, the Verizon Continuum -- aka the Samsung SCH-i400 -- live and in person. It's an as-yet unannounced Android 2.1 phone from Samsung, destined for Verizon, and it's got a few tricks up its sleeve.

We knew a few things going into this thanks to a previous leak. So let's start with what we don't know: We don't know when it's coming. But judging by the build quailty, it'll be soon. We don't know how much it'll cost, but you can imagine it'll be in the usual $150-200 price range, after subsidy, of course.

And we don't actually have official specs just yet. OK, we've dug up some, and surmised others. But as with things of this nature, specs are subject to change, as are software features, we imagine.

So now that we have those bases covered, on to our initial thoughts of the Samsung Continuum!

Be sure to check out our video hands-on, too!

 Samsung Continuum - SCH-i400
The Samsung Continuum's "Ticker."

In a nutshell, then Continuum is sort of a smaller Samsung Galaxy S -- with a twist. You've Touchwiz, Android 2.1-update 1, and what sure looks like a Super AMOLED screen. It's as bright and responsive as all of the other Galaxy S phones weve tested and looks to be about 3.5 inches.

OK, and now the obvious: There's a sort of secondary screen beneath the four capacitive buttons. It's called the ticker, and think of it as sort of an uber-graphical RSS reader. It stretches the full width of the main screen, and it really looks like somebody put some thought into this thing.

First off, you don't actually have to have the phone fully powered on to use it. And it's surprisingly easy to use. You add feeds to it when you do the initial setup on the phone. There you add items such as news, RSS feeds, your e-mail accounts, Facebook, weather -- and it'll serve as a music app controller, too. You move through the different configurations by swiping left and right through them.

It'll take a little getting used to, for sure. But it's a very cool feature that we haven't seen before. We're going to lay awake at night, through, knowing that somewhere, someone is figuring out how to sell ads in that space. You know it's going to happen. Please, smartphone gods, hear my cry.

The phone itself is smaller than the Galaxy S phones, though it's definitely not as small as, say, the HTC Aria. The corners are nicely rounded.

Samsung Continuum - SCH-i400Samsung Continuum - SCH-i900

Up top are the power button -- remember that on the other Galaxy S phones, it's been moved to the right-hand bezel -- and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Samsung Continuum - SCH-i400Samsung Continuum - SCH-i400

The left-hand bezel has the volume rocker and a little notch for a lanyard or (save us) a cell phone charm. And making a triumphant return to the exterior of the phone is microSD card slot. It's been a long time since we've seen one not buried beneath at least the battery cover (if not the battery itself). It's behind a little cover that you pry off with your fingernail. No sliding door like on the other Galaxy S phones.

Samsung Continuum - SCH-i400

The plastic battery door takes up the entire rear of the phone. That's also where you'll find the 5-megapixel camera and rear speaker. Note the "Galaxy S" stencil. Make no mistake, Samsung's treating this one as a high-end device, and it should.

There's not too much to say on the software side. We've used Touchwiz on four other Galaxy S phones, and it's the same here. Same colorful user interface, same launcher (you can change the dock icons, which is nice to see again). The Daily briefing app has remained intact (a pox on any carrier that removes it), and all of the other bells and whistles we've come to expect on a Galaxy S phone. The Live Wallpapers included are the same as on the Galaxy S phones.

Samsung Continuum - SCH-i400

Oh -- you saw this coming, right? -- it's been Binged. Yes, Microsoft Bing is the search engine of choice on the Continuum. As much as we'd like to be done voicing our displeasure at this, we've got to do it again. You'll need to download Google Maps, and while we didn't get to test it out, we're assuming the minor surgey we did on the Fascinate to return Google search will work on the Continuum as well.

We have to admit we're a little puzzled by the emergence of the Contiuum so soon after the launch of the Fascinate. Other than the very cool Ticker feature, you're pretty much getting a slimmed down Galaxy S. But it's not enough to make that bing a difference. We'll have to see at which market Verizon targets the Continuum, and just how hungry you folks are for it.

There are 55 comments

I saw the bing app in the photo and so I didn't even bother to read the story.

Android Central needs to boycott these stupid binged devices(we consumers should as well)

I personally will not even entertain a binged device by reading about it. It's an abomination and should be treated as such.

matrix2004 says:

Verizon has a 2 year contract with Microsoft for Bing so you will be saying that alot.

hampstenj says:

well then it makes me feel better knowing who NOT to look at in a wireless carrier.

sjenkins1009 says:

Seriously people? I mean come on. Yeah, Verizon putting Bing on an Android device and not giving us the option to switch to Google without some custom changing, isn't the smartest move that we can see. But it is what it is, and I strongly doubt you will break down Big Red into changing the phones and breaking contract because of few people won't buy the phone because it is bing. While i disagree with it as well, posts like this almost are making the whole thing look like a bad temper tantrum of my two year old cousin. Get over with it, rate the phone on it's entire merits not just one factor that can easily be overcome.

durthquake says:

Its not even a google phone if all the cool (superior) features are removed! This is why i am probably switching back to sprint for the evo or epic and getting rid of my droid x!

Bravozero says:

Uhh... the Droid X is a Google Experience phone, not a Bing phone. So your comment is invalid.

icebike says:

The comment remains valid. (Pretty arrogant of you to say otherwise).

The Idea is to Get Away from any company that foists that stuff on you with no choice. The Droid X is google today, but who knows what its next OTA will shove down our throats.

Kamar234 says:

I'm sorry guys, but this whole bing thing is ridiculous. Especially when those same people are espousing the benefits of the droid x. I have a Fascinate, I came from the og Droid. I chose it over a droid x for a simple reason. Every restriction on the phone is software wise, while every X restriction is hardware. The Fascinate has the most powerful processor and beautiful screen. Gps-fixed through menus. Bing rooted and removed in less than 15 mins. Droid x- has a weaker processor, a screen that looks washed out in direct comparison, and has a locked down bootloader, preventing fully custom roms. There are trade offs for every phone, but don't act like the Droid X is much different as it's restrictions are baked into the hardware. People are acting like there is a whole different os on there and it isn't easily fixable. They shouldn't make us do it, right, but neither should Moto be locking down their bootloader. I know this has been a rant, but geez.

icebike says:

Why should you have to destroy your warranty to choose your search engine?

Kamar234 says:

In all honestly I would have voided he warranty of any phone that I purchased, but the jist of what I"m saying is that each phone has its pros and cons. None are inherently evil. Maybe because I'm savvy enough to root my phone and I know what I'm doing, but I think that there are a lot of people who are missing out on an excellent piece of hardware because of what is essentially a frivolity. If I was an average consumer, I would be irate, but the people on these boards aren't so I think it's kind of strange.

mupi says:

You don't have to void your warranty by rooting the phone to dump bing, if you want to dump bing. Android Central has instructions for how to do that on the Fascinate. I'd expect that it won't be terribly different for this phone.

Aside from the fact that unlike the Droid, the DroidX, the DroidInc... Fascinate has been rooted (for those who DO want to void their warranty) since Day 1.

It's also worth noting that most phones, while rooting technically voids your warranty, reverting to a stock image is always possible, and with the possible exception of the X, there's no way to tell that it *was* rooted.

cea1203 says:

yeah go with the battery draining HTC Evo , more HTC junk !!! I will never buy anything HTC makes ever again , X is a far superior phone to the Evo I used to own , lets not forget Sprint crap network as well , no comparison

why does everyone hate bing?

durthquake says:

Because it is inferior and defeats the purpose of having a GOOGLE phone!!!

evil_ash says:

The only "Google phone" that I know of is the Nexus One. The other phones use the Android Operating system that Google bought. The Galaxy S isn't a Google branded phone, so I also don't see what the big deal is.

icebike says:

You will see when you try to use Bing Maps and Bing Search for a while.

It is woefully inferior.

balthuszar says:

it is inferior...but remember where google started...i used exclusively yahoo when google first was awful

plainbrad says:

My G1 is a Google Phone. And the G2 is being billed as a Google Phone.

Evipen#AC says:

Unless I'm mistaking, the G1, the new G2, Nexus 1, and the OG Droid, were all "Google" phones. Just having a phone that uses the Android OS of course doesn't make it an "official" google phone, but the G1 and Nexus 1 were and have become Dev devices. So, in your opinion I suppose, what really constitutes a Google phone?

bjordan says:

I don't think it's bing that they hate I think it's the fact that VZW doesn't make it easy for you to switch back to using the Google apps.

sjenkins1009 says:

Here is question on that point of view. On every other Android based phone, where is the option to use something other than Google? Everyone is so infatuated with google, no one noticed that the same lockdown exists, what if I did prefer Yahoo search or some other engine... you still can't switch.

It's called the Android Market. Install any app from any company, including Yahoo, MSN, and even Bing, then run it anytime you like.

Go Android! says:

This phone probably will be free and they'll use that "ticker" to sell ads.

shadowgod says:

Yeah that little second screen is perfect for ADS!

StuRoid says:

Oops, I thought you said AIDS!

bw13 says:

Some of you people are idiots. You would leave Verizon for Sprint. Really? Because of the search engine? That can be easily changed. You would leave the best coverage by far, which is most likely why you are already with Verizon just to make a point? First of all, I agree, google is better than bing. So what? Download google. I prefer the widget on the homescreen to the capacitive search button anyway. It's Google themselves that allow Verizon to do this since it's open source. That's what makes Android so good. iphone users can't customize anything. We can customize everything. I want the new HTC Merge because of the keyboard. Oh wait, it has Bing too so I better not get the phone that I want. I guess I'll go to tmobile to get the G2 (almost same phone) even though Tmobile's service is no where near as good as Verizon where I live. OR, I can just download Google!

sgtmilstack says:

*nods after reading this logical, but-people-can't-seem-to-comprehend post*

svargas05 says:

No, Im guessing many people choose Sprint over Verizon because Sprint is hell of a lot cheaper and you get everything for 69.99. (oh sorry, 450 minute plan, but its unlimited any mobile to any mobile)

Basically same coverage, we roam for free and we roam 3g as well.

Im pretty sure THATS why. You know? Pretty good reeason, huh?

Stromson says:

You mean $79.99. Can't forget that $10 charge for using the 4G phones (which are the only Android phones Sprint has that are worth buying)!

svargas05 says:

Youre right.....

Still ONLY 15 dollars cheaper than the competition when you compare feature by feature.

Luckily, 15 bucks is a decent enough chunk of monthly change to make a difference. Makes andofference for me. Hell, I love Sprint and the two android phones that are worth buying.

mupi says:

I'm happy to pay $15/mo for better coverage. Out where I live, out of all the carriers, only verizon has solid 3G, and only Verizon actually covers the entire 150 mile route that I drive at least 2 days/week.

So, yeah, $15/month=totally worth it. Heck, even $25/month, still worth it, when it comes right down to it.

crxssi says:

Sprint and Verizon share towers. Anywhere there is Verizon coverage, there is also Sprint coverage, and vice versa. It has been that way for a looong time now.

s0n1c02 says:

Officially, this may be true.. I can get non-3G roaming connection from sprint. But their true "Sprint coverage" is nearly a days drive in any direction of where I live...not to mention trying to find a store. $15 pays for itself.

Jonneh says:

"But it's not enough to make that bing a difference" Was that an intentional pun? :P

French says:

Why is the X user switching??? The X isn't binged????

Folks hate the Fascinate (and now this one, too!) because of Bing.

Folks hate the X and Droid2 because the bootloaders are encrypted and Moto repsonded that they don't want people hacking their phones.

Personally, as long as it works as designed I have no gripe, and just buy what i like :)

bleedblue says:

That extra screen(?) seems unnecessary. And looks like a major eyesore.

bnob99 says:

The bottom screen reminds me of WebOS notifications that pop up down there.

kubernetes says:

Look at the size of that battery! Any clue on its capacity?

JMusic says:

Zoom in on the picture, then compare (the model number) to this:

I'm guessing 1500.

matrix2004 says:

I don't see what's so hard about getting Google search, Google Maps, etc. from the Android Market and deleting Bing from the homescreen.

SuperJonCA says:

Still very happy with my DROID inc!

F34R says:

I find it humorous that this Bing stuff is still being talked about like this. The fascinate isn't google branded, is it? You DONT have to root the phone to use google search and google maps, etc. I've had the Fascinate since day one, and have been using Google search/Maps, etc., and haven't had to use Bing a single time.

Anyways, this phone is interesting...

babybear293 says:

Can you MANUALLY UNINSTALL BING FROM THESE PHONES? or do you have to hack it?
i think that's why many people dont like it when these phones come out with BING. Having the BING APP just sitting there taking up MEMORY space is irritating. That space can be used for a better app or more space to increase better performance.

mupi says:

I guess that depends on your definition of hacking.

If your definition of hacking includes installing a replacement desktop/launcher, then yeah, it's gonna require hacking. Since practically everyone I know doesn't use the default/stock launcher that their phone came with (except my wife...) and it is as simple as installing the replacement launcher, I don't think it is "hacking" to do this.

As far as taking it off from the phone completely, probably not; on the other hand, nearly every phone has crud on it put there by the manufacturer or the carrier. For example, the Amazon MP3 app on the OG Droid, which cannot be removed without "hacking" (although I tend to question whether rooting one's phone by following a written set of instructions step by step is really hacking in the first place, but then, I'm a purist...). if I recall correctly, the DroidX and Droid2 have VZNavigator preinstalled, and that's a paid service.

babybear293 says:

pretty you have the original state of the phone.

Joelist says:

Having this same argument happen every time VZW rolls out a smartphone running Android (which is not the same thing as Google) that is not part of their DROID lineup is getting old.

VZW has a very clear branding strategy going on with their smartphones. "DROID" refers to the Google phones (Droid 2, Droid X and Incredible right now) with the others not having a coherent marketing plan. We will see more Google phones later in the year.

Really, if you have to use Google on one of the non-DROID line phones it is pretty easy to do and reques no hacking. So go do it. But also stop the silly ABM (Anything But Microsoft) nonsense. It does not speak well of us as Android-ers when we act like that.

this phone is hideous! i thre up a lilo bit.

cea1203 says:

If this is like the rest of the Galaxy S crap Samsung is building then forget it , those phone are such junk !! Cheap plastic garbage !!!

jimmyk0789 says:

Last time I cheak my g1 and droid are Google experience phones not google phones like the nexus one stop complaining and if u want to use Google set Google as ur home page cuz I know all of people with android phones and when they search they go to the Google homepage... its a goddamn phone and if u don't like it oh well don't buy it there's other phones out there this is a android phone with a bing experience that's powered by google... this kinda bashing makes me wana go back to iphone we are a android family and this phone its just a android stepchild but u know what its still a android phone......p.s sorry for my rant

jeffreytz says:

The bottom screen is an interesting idea, but in this implementation it has made the "main" screen too small relative to the size of the device, imo. Maybe if they'd removed that giant Verizon logo and used that space for stretching the screen it would be better; the bezel space on all the Samsung phones is too large. Curious to see if any other mfgs pick up on this.

harryj says:

I have the DX
I do like it, but it has been buggy after 2.2, and I don't like the idea that Moto is locking it.

I was considering exchanging for the Samsung.
I spent about an hour comparing the two.
I liked just about everything about the Samsung...
I realize that it is not locked at the bootloader like the DX, so most can be customized.

However, the one deal breaker for me was in fact what so many of you are saying is it's best feature.
I found the screen to be excellent for pics and graphics, vibrant color saturation, yet for text it was similar to my X with the brightness set much lower.
I had read about the "Slight bluish tint" I was not expecting it to be pronounced enough to make it difficult to read text. I suppose all of you got used to this... but side to side it was ridiculous.

There always seems to be 1 or 2 things that keeps a unit from being perfect

watchout4d says:

People have the right to complain about Bing. PC manufacturers and wireless providers stick crapware on phones all the time. However, before this the crapware would just sit there on the hardware if you did not use it. My Droid Incredible has City ID installed, who cares. Outside of taking up minimal memory it is irrelevant. However, this Bing this is different. Verizon and Microsoft have conspired to force Bing on consumers. Unlike some crapware that I don't notice or use, Verizon attempts to make consumers use Bing at every turn. And why? For no other reason than they took hundred of millions of dollars to do so. They expect us to buy inferior products because they got paid to. So yes, it is a very big deal and people have the right to complain. By the way while Verizon was arrogantantly screwing customers they are now the only network without a smartphone with a front facing camera.

Sent from my "with Google" Droid Incredible

mnguyea says:

It is a matter of principle really. And if they want to stick Bing in a phone make a fricken Win7 phone then. I don't see MS putting Google on their phones and yes i know it is about etc. Whatever. If it is an Android phone then it should have Google on it. It is like everyone is after Google these days.

I myself do not like Samsung phones...TV yes. I entertained the idea of the tablet for about 5 minutes while playing with it but in the end Samsung has still shown terrible support for updating their phones and leave the buyer holding the stick. I'll stay with HTC. They make nicer phones with metal and not all cheap plastic. I'll even buy Motorola before I ever buy any Samsung phone/tablet.

Jreid69 says:

Enjoyed my original Droid - owned 6 (yes six) HTC Incredibles - last three all had the same problem - habitual rebooting at will (I'm out of the HTC business now) - now own Continuum. So far I'm pleased - am very unhappy with someone trying to force Bing on me, but did the work around.

Have been with every carrier but T-mobile (had a driver with T-mobile). My partner is a truck driver - coast to coast - border to border - Canada, Alaska, etc. Verizon has the biggest network, period. We've carried different carriers simultaneously to compare. So love them or not, I'm stuck with them.

Don't need an iPhone have an iTouch - heard it works as well as a phone as the iPhone. :)