Samsung Electronics displayed its new public safety LTE smartphone at a section of its stand dedicated to critical communications at Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

The device is so new that it’s official name has yet to be decided (its placeholder name is the 889F for the UK, which was on show and 889A for the US version). It has a dedicated side-mounted PTT button, is IP68-rated, meets the US Military MIL-STD-810G standard for robustness, and has been designed to resist extremely high temperatures to support its use by firefighters. Accessory support includes Bluetooth connectivity and a top mounted headphone/speaker jack. Both the latter and the device’s side mounted USB-C connector have covers to boost resilience. The device also has a fixture to allow it be hung around the neck. The 889F feels comfortable to hold and well-balanced and has a 4,500 mAh battery.

Airbus was also present on the stand and one of these new Samsung devices was shown running Airbus’ Tactilon Agnet 800 software and I used it to make a PTT call on the 889F to an Airbus narrowband device. Airbus’ presence shows that the collaboration between the two companies that was announced at PMRExpo in November goes beyond the work that they are doing in Germany.

Pora Kim, manager, global mobile B2B team, mobile communications business at Samsung Electronics, told me that her company is working to extend the transmission range of ProSe (Proximity Services) in Samsung devices to narrow the gap that exists between ProSe and traditional PMR devices' back to back mode. Kim also said that the UK Home Office will receive the 889F this year.

Another of the 889F devices was running Samsung’s own 3GPP Release 13 compliant MCPTT software, and Kim said that Samsung has been able to realise improvements in performance through optimising both the hardware and software, for example the low latency that can be achieved despite using a server located in South Korea. Samsung is going to also provide a Release 14 version with support for MCVideo, MCData, and group video conferencing.

This article was revised on 8 March to clarify the nature and status of Samsung's work on ProSe.

Author: Sam Fenwick