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Customizable Samsung Instinct Can Be Controlled By Voice (Sort of)

The days of actual tactile buttons seem to be numbered, at least that's what a slew of new cell phones would have you believe. Samsung's new Instinct, which made its official debut at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas yesterday, makes use of two currently hot ways to control your phone -- touchscreens (made popular by the iPhone) and voice-recognition.

Slim and light, the Instinct is jam-packed with state-of-the-art features, including EV-DO (for fast surfing, downloading, and live TV watching), GPS with turn-by-turn directions, a music player with direct-to-phone download capability, and a 2-megapixel camera. So far, a lot of these features are found on plenty of other phones, so why exactly should we care about the Instinct?

What makes the the Instinct stand out is its robust voice-recognition capability, which lets you do more than just dial numbers. In fact, by just pressing the "talk" button on the side and uttering commands such as call and text and then some names or numbers, you can save yourself a few keystrokes when you want to call or send text messages -- something that can come in handy when you're driving. Combined with GPS turn-by-turn navigational software, the voice-activation even lets you get results for nearby fast-food restaurants when you utter a word like McDonald's, for example.

Unfortunately, the voice-recognition stops there, as you'll have to physically press a button on the touchscreen to actually get the directions (a similar let-down comes when you're texting, since you can only use voice recognition to literally call up a number and send the text, not to actually type the text).

We got some hands-on with the phone yesterday, and found the touchscreen to be responsive, for the most part (the phone is still in test phases). The screen features haptic technology, which uses the cell phone's vibrate function to give the user the feeling that he or she is actually pressing down on physical keys.

We also liked the phone's customization features, which essentially let the user pick a series of widgets for music, mailing, GPS and other functions to show up on the phone's main screen.

The phone is due out by the end of June, on Sprint, and will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract. It requires purchasing an unlimited data plan, so the cheapest monthly rate will be $69.99 (which might make signing up for Sprint's $99 Simply Everything Plan a good idea).

For a deeper look at the Instinct's cool interface and functionality, check out Engadget's video walk-through of the device.

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Tags: breaking+news, ctia2008, instinct, samsung, sprint, top, touchscreens, voice-recognition



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