HD in a Cell Phone?

The new Insight HD phone can take HD movies, but you'll need to play them back on a bigger screen to see the high-def images.

It was bound to happen. Cell phone designers have been putting multi-megapixel cameras in their phones, so why not use them to capture video as well? With all those pixels, what the heck; let’s make them HD video clips! And that’s exactly what Sprint is offering in its Samsung Instinct HD smart phone. No, it can’t play them back in high-def on the little touchscreen display, but you can hook it up to an HDTV to watch them. That’s even better, because the point of the videos is to share them with others, and for that, you’ll need a big screen.

The phone just about every other feature you’d want: 3G network, WiFi b/g, GPS, 5 megapixel still camera with flash, Opera for browsing the Web, quick access to services including Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. It can’t make the coffee for you, but it can tell you where the nearest coffee can be found.

Clearly the compact versus component debate is settled in the mobile device market; consumers apparently want every function they can possibly get crammed into a single device. Actually, I’m not convinced that it’s user demand so much as it is the manufacturers trying to differentiate their products, at least briefly. The development costs of all these “standard” features have more or less been recovered already, so it probably doesn’t cost that much more to add another one. So if you want to add “HD videographer” to the rest of the roles that your cell phone fills in your life, the Instinct HD may be the next step for you. It will sell for about $250 after a rebate and with a new two-year contract, starting this Sunday exclusively at Best Buy (the Sprint stores won’t get it until October 11).