Tech Biz

Flip Phone Flashback: Samsung Unveils Dual-Screen “Hennessy”

The old-school handset will be sold in China, where flip phones remain popular.

Many in the tech world were left scratching their heads yesterday as Samsung’s Chinese division announced that a rumored flip phone was, in fact, a reality.

The Samsung SCH-W789, also known as the Hennessy, seems rather out of place in the current smartphone market. The clamshell design is reminiscent of early-2000’s-era flip phones, popularized by handsets like the Motorola RAZR.

“When you think of smartphones, the image of a sleek, minimalist slab is probably what comes to mind. But how about a flip phone? Now there’s a form factor you don’t see everyday,” said Gigaom. “The Hennessy almost looks like a standard Android phone from the front, albeit with a lot of excess bezel … If you didn’t know any better, you could mistake this for a smartphone or a feature phone, depending on the angle you look at it.”

The Samsung Hennessy will sport dual 3.3-inch touch screens on the front and back of the top half. Resolution is shockingly low – a mere 320 x 480 pixels – when compared with the full-HD offerings from Samsung, LG, HTC, and others. The top screen, active when the handset is closed, has the three usual capacitive keys along the bottom edge.

Beneath the physical keypad, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor powers the Hennessy. The throwback device’s rear-facing camera is rated at 5MP. Power comes from a 1500 mAh battery and the unspecified internal memory can be expanded thanks to a microSD slot. The operating system is outdated before it even launches – Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – and pictures indicate that it is skinned with some kind of Samsung TouchWiz UI.

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As is usual for mobile phones destined for the Chinese market, the Hennessy will support dual SIM cards that will allow it to work on both CDMA and GSM networks. GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi are all supported.

The Hennessy isn’t the first flip phone that Samsung has introduced to the Chinese market in recent years.

“The SCH-W689 is a similar phone that comes with room for two SIM cards, but uses Samsung's own Bada mobile OS. In 2010, the company also introduced another Android flip phone in China called the W899 … specifically meant for high-end business executives,” said PC World.

Research firm Strategy Analytics revealed on Tuesday that Samsung was the top-selling smartphone maker in China during the second quarter of 2013. The South Korean tech giant captured 19 percent of the entire Chinese smartphone market.

Unlike most western countries, the flip phone remains commonplace in many parts of Asia.