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Middle East Gets First Android: Samsung Galaxy

We don’t talk much about the Middle East mobile market and while we (in the States) complain about only having the G1 and MyTouch with many more Androids to come, the poor folks in the Middle East are Andriodless. WERE Androidless I should say – the Samsung Galaxy is now available in stores across the region for AED 2,299. The AED is stands for United Arab Emirates Dirham (three leading letters after United) and converted to United States Dollars that comes to about $626 bucks.

samsung-galaxy-2

“We are pleased to announce that the Samsung I7500 is available in the market. With the launch of I7500, Samsung sets its leading position in the Android, the industry’s emerging operating system,” stated Sandeep Saihgal, general manager of mobile phones at Samsung Gulf Electronics.

I bet they’re pleased… here is the full press release found on TheNational:

Samsung unveils I7500- the first Android powered mobile phone in the Middle East

Samsung sets its leading position in the region’s Android market

Middle East, August 26, 2009 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a leading mobile phone and telecommunication equipment provider, today unveiled the Samsung I7500, its first Android-powered mobile phone. With a launch of the I7500, Samsung is the first company among the global top three mobile phone manufacturers to unveil an Android-powered phone in the Middle East region.

Mr. Sandeep Saihgal, general manager of mobile phones at Samsung Gulf Electronics commented: “We are pleased to announce that the Samsung I7500 is available in the market. With the launch of I7500, Samsung sets its leading position in the Android, the industry’s emerging operating system.

“Samsung is among the earliest members of the Open Handset Alliance and has been actively moving forward to introduce the most innovative Android mobile phone. With Samsung’s accumulated technology leadership in mobile phone industry and our consistent strategy to support every existing operating system, I believe that Samsung provides the better choices and benefits to our consumers.” Mr. Saihgal continued.

The I7500 is a cutting-edge smartphone, featuring a 3.2″ AMOLED full touch screen and 7.2Mbps HSDPA and WiFi connectivity, giving users access to Google™ Mobile services and full web browsing at blazing speeds.

The Samsung I7500 offers users access to the full suite of Google services, including Google Search™, Google Maps™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Calendar™, and Google Talk™. The integrated GPS receiver enables the comprehensive use of Google Maps features, such as My Location, Google Latitude, Street View, local search and detailed route description. Hundreds of other applications are available in Android Market. For example, the application Wikitude, a mobile travel guide, allows consumers to access details of unknown sights via location-based Wikipedia articles.

Based on Samsung’s proven product leadership, Samsung I7500 comes with latest multimedia features. The large and vivid 3.2″AMOLED display ensures the brilliant representation of multimedia content and enjoyable full touch mobile experience. Along with supporting a 5-megapixel camera and various multimedia codec formats, the I7500 also provides a long enough battery life (1500mAh) and generous memory capacity up to 40GB (Internal memory: 8GB, External memory: Up to 32GB) to enjoy all the applications and multimedia content. The phone also boasts its slim and compact design with mere 11.9mm thickness.

Samsung I7500 is available across major electronics outlets in the Middle East and is retailed at AED 2299.

Google Analytics indicates that .13% of Phandriod traffic comes from United Arab Emirates. So it is to YOU folks that this post is dedicated. Congratulations on getting your first Android!

[Via ITP.net, thanks Ron!]

Continue reading on the Samsung Galaxy forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • ahmed

    omg omg omg yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
    my goooood i am soooo happy u cant believe it i have been jumping about the house fdor the last five minutes calling everyone updating every status put everything on sale
    wowwww im soo happy thanx a billion for telling us

    gosh im soooo happy u made my year

  • ahmed

    ps:why does ur website suck i follow u on google reader and it took me like 6 refreshes to get to the web site

    i mean the accessibility not the design the design is awesome

  • ahmed

    oh and ya i live inthe uae and im kinda addicted to u so maybe thats the reason

  • Maj

    Great news but thats very expensive i guess

  • glyco

    people in the middle east pay the unsubsidized price of the phones we use in the US. I have family in the middle east, one of them paid nearly a thousand (!!!) US dollars for this Nokia he was in love with. I couldn’t even BEGIN to imagine paying that much for a CELL PHONE. obviously, we in the US are pretty spoiled when it comes to handset pricing.

  • Russ Dill

    glyco…That’s not really the way I think about it. The phone you buy isn’t subsidized, its financed. The financing fee is built into your contract. Not only can you not buy the phone outright to save on interest and other financing fees, after your contract is up, you continue to pay the financing.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  • Gibbo

    Looks like the Galaxy will be released in Australia too
    http://bit.ly/tnMPb

  • Maj

    @glyco
    tell me about the crazy pricing over here, there’s a store here selling iphone gs for approximately 1200$

  • webby

    So since the Galaxy is not subsidized in the UAE, how much does monthly service for it cost over there (in $US)?

  • Ahmadmz3

    Nice , finally we are getting some thing !! , anyway I already bought the htc hero for the same price , but I can’t buy apps !! so by having an android phone available here this will give google a reason to include us ( Arabic language , buy apps …. etc ) .

  • ahmed

    maj thats sharaf dj right ya i saw it last week
    well how about the fact that n97 is 1000 dollars
    or how the 200 $ (in us) 5230 costs 500$ in the uae
    or how downloading 60kb in 3g costs 4 dollars

  • Daz

    Good for them!

    I’m still waiting for android to come to Ireland (although I can get the Hero sim free online for crazy money)…

  • Ron Saldanha

    Coolios, glad this got the light. :)
    And the pricing is kinda ok if you think about ordering an unlocked one via amazon. It actually ends up cheaper and has a warranty.

    And to webby,
    Down here we are not restricted to contracts, so getting this phone and running a simple connection for voice calls would just cost you an initial 40 USD approx that too you end up getting back as credit nowdays. No monthly fees or whatsoever, although the internet packages offered are really over priced and useless, i just stick to wap for my periodic email checks quite cheap that way browsing i dont really bother coz i get that at the office and home anyways.. and lets face it browsing on a 15+ inch screen is better any day than a 4inch or less screen.

  • J. Finn

    WHEN – WHEN – WHEN is the i7500/Galaxy/? coming to the US & who will be the carrier? “They” have been teasing us for months on end & predicting T-Mobile but thats all we get is rumors & silence. I’ve looked everywhere, but I refuse to pay $600 to some unknown vendor for a supposedly unlocked phone. T-Mobile claims to introducing 30 – right- 30 new phones before the Holidays but noone knows what they are…..any GOOD rumors?

  • F1Helper

    Does anyone know if Android now supports reading Arabic text??

  • glyco

    @ Russ, you’re right, they afford selling the phone for cheaper because you get locked into a plan resulting in >1000$ in cost to the consumer. it’s a symantic argument, but subsidize does usually refer to governmental actions, not private corporate actions. but the point is still the same.

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  • ahmed

    bad news u guys i wwent to dubai mall today to the samsung shop and asked thim about the phone they said that though the price is right the phone will only be availble in 2 weeks so imma start making money now

  • lior

    Israel is middle east as well and we’ll get it officially tomorrow but many here, me included, already purchased the Hero from UK and other android phones… so “first android” would be wrong :)

  • D.Good

    Interestingly, they were selling the “T-Mobile G1 (brown version)” at the Sharaf DG Store in Bahrain in January this year…

    I was in Dubai yesterday (29 Aug 2009) and visited the Samsung store at Dubai Mall; unfortunately, the “Galaxy” was nowhere to be seen….

    For some “strange” reason, everyone seem to be in loooove with Nokia in the Middle East. Weird…

  • Ron Saldanha

    well sharaf and a few stores already had the phone, but all “unlocked versions” and hence get out of owing the customer a WARRANTY! the samsung official release is a definite guarantee if something goes wrong ;) btw i dont think its called the Galaxy around here, i’m guessing I7500 is the name in the ME region? i prefere it over galaxy any day though! (is it an I or an L btw?)

    @ahmed
    can you let me know once you get or if you get your hands on one, coz i went around asking early thursday with no luck. Would love to atleast try and use an android phone!

  • Fakhra

    Blaugh! It is pretty good news, though, it makes ya say it is about damn time! -.-’

    I’ll check Galaxy out, since It is useable here unlike the Hero handset = cannot use mms! Blaugh once again.

    Though thanx for the shout out for the phandroids geeks of the UAE especially, dude. =D

  • hamad

    I don’t think it will be sold if google and android developers are not willing to support Arabic language. I am wondering if android project has a marketing department that is following up with them to expand their sales over RIM and Iphone in the ME Area. Cheers all

  • http://androidktv.blogspot.com ahmed

    @dgood well ya and the black g1 is still on sale in the megamall for lower than 1300
    @ron well i just created a blog designated to android in the uae since there is no proper arabic android site (i will post in 2 languages) and to review apps and phones in the middle east

  • http://androidktv.blogspot.com ahmed

    @hamad im sure that will be changed no way wil a company as smart as samsung launch a phone that wont support arabic cause that would be just plain stupid i thought arabic would be supported in 1.5 but the emulator dissagrees i guess well have to wait and see

  • http://HTChero Adel

    Even though there is no arabic support, I got myself the HTC hero from Deira…. I <3 Android.

    COMON GOOGLE!!

  • Ron Saldanha

    @Adel

    How much did it cost you? no warranty im sure..!?

  • therompalace

    @Ron: I went to sharaf stores last week, maybe before you but they didn’t hear of “Galaxy or I7500″ so I don’t know when it will be out. But I’ll be sure to keep checking.

    If anyone can post here where they found in the dubai region (which store), that’d be great. I have been looking for this phone since the announcement and haven’t found it anywhere.

  • Rashed

    im from UAE and im using android since the release of the first android phone G1 and now im using HTC magic bought it from italy (TIM) and im quite happy using this device. I saw samsung Galaxy in germany, i loved oled touch screen, but the only thing i hate is the memory its 198, which is not really enough it will let us use all the application stored in the memory so cant run many services. i think i will keep my magic (32A) 288 mb.

  • http://androidktv.blogspot.com ahmed

    @adel thanx for getting my hopes up 4 nothing i did go to deira and started runing through stores asking every single one no one has it thanx alot
    @rashed half of my friends names r rashed why wouldnt u be one of them lol hey man if ur good at android id love 4 u to help me in my android website for uae i think we need it imak92@gmail.com

  • Ron Saldanha

    Hey ahmed, since your at it, maybe a facebook group would suffice as well, plus you would definitely draw in more attention. Unless you already have that up? now since its my idea, you make me an office, a sleeping one with the power to boot people! :D

  • Ron Saldanha

    i meant officer in the group..

  • Hassan

    I had to root my hero to add Arabic support, but it’s still not perfect (text is displayed from left to right).
    Can’t wait to have Arabic officially supported on Android.

  • George

    Many devices have launched in Europe with Android Market promoted as added value; but confused consumers, since they expected they will be able to purchase paid apps from A.M. Even very few retailers knew this limitation so to relay to consumers. Most have ended up downloading SAM from SlideME and many retailers are making such a suggestion to angry consumers as an alternative Market where anyone can buy apps. It will be interesting to see if Samsung clarifies this limitation in their campaigns for that region.

  • http://androidktv.blogspot.com ahmed

    @ron ya ill see
    @hassan can u tell us if u get working fune
    @george i think there is an app on the androidmarket called “market enabler” ive seen it on many phone reviews where the phones is used outside the google area and the phone would have paid apps soo …plus ive used slide me and tha other one on emulator they both suck ull get better apps from torrent

  • thur

    does anyone know which store in Dubai is selling this phone?

  • dreamer

    I’m gonna buy this what so ever !!!!!
    :D Its Mine … Mine…Mineeeee !

  • Arash

    I bought the new I5700 and Its on 1.5 firmware and it will not update on the New PC Studio to 2.1 it says that the device is not supported.