Recently we did a throwback with the HTC Touch Diamond. Continuing with the theme of smartphones that helped to define the wave of touch-friendly user interfaces, we wanted to take a look at the Samsung Omnia II, successor to the original Omnia. Released in Europe around June 2009, the Omnia II also made an appearance on Verizon, about six months later.
In terms of specs, the Omnia II rocked a Samsung S3C6410 processor running at 800MHz with 256MB of RAM. The 3.7″ AMOLED display was one of the first non-LCD displays back in 2009, and so we were impressed by the contrast and color reproduction of the screen. The Omnia II was also one of the first device to come with a microUSB jack instead of miniUSB.
Samsung extensively customized the interface of the Omnia II. They brought an Android-like homescreen design that allowed the user to customize three sliding screens with widgets. The responsiveness of this interface wasn’t great, and the widgets were limited. Then, from the home screen, you could access the Cube, a somewhat useless 3D rotating box that let you launch certain programs and websites.
The program menu was also like Android (or, like TouchWiz from Samsung today) where you could swipe side to side to see your programs. From there, you could also access the Task Manager, plus settings for the device.
All in all the Omnia II was a beacon of innovation at a time when OEMs were trying to move away from the stylus. While the interface was often slow and clunky, it heavily disguised Windows Mobile and helped to bridge the gap from the legacy operating system to Windows Phone 7.