Samsung’s Blast Phone Slides onto T-Mobile

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Samsung’s PR folks are probably cringing over the release of their company’s latest text-friendly phone on the same day news breaks regarding the dangers of texting and driving – but we won’t let the somewhat untimely release hold it down. The SGH-T729 is Samsung’s newest slider, a red-and-black phone that slips open to reveal a QWERTY-like keypad that Samsung boasts is perfect for text input. It will be available exclusively on T-Mobile.

Judging by pictures, we’re having a hard time recognizing the new keypad layout. There are two more vertical columns of buttons than on a traditional alphanumeric setup, but each key has two letters assigned to it, presumably with some sort of shift button to toggle between them. Samsung’s press release was short on details of how this setup actually functioned, but did claim it would increase the speed of text entry and make it more intuitive. T9 predictive text entry is also included for all the times you find yourself texting something like “onomatopoeia” to friends.

“The Samsung Blast is a terrific phone for anyone who thrives on sticking together with friends and family through text, instant messenger and e-mail,” said Jeff Hopper, T-Mobile’s vice president of marketing, in a statement. “While the Blast is great for making and receiving phone calls and rapid exchanges via text messaging, the slender form of the phone doesn’t compromise on size or style.”

Besides the allure of quicker texting, the phone also includes access to a broad array of IM clients, a 1.3-megapixel camera, external memory card slot, MP3 player capability and voice recognition. Data transfer is provided through the EDGE standard.