Hands on – Samsung Continuum

Samsung's latest Galaxy S Android handset provides a never-ending torrent of information, a ceaseless continuum of digital data, via a secondary 'ticker' screen

I know what you're thinking. Mobile phones are great but why can't they be more intrusive? Whole seconds or entire moments can go by without a smartphone chirping, beeping or flashing.

Well, fret no longer. Samsung's latest Galaxy S Android handset - available now on Verizon in the US - provides a pure, never-ending torrent of information, a ceaseless continuum of distracting digital data, via a secondary 'ticker' screen.

The 1.8-inch ticker is, like its bigger 3.4-inch brother above, a gorgeously bright and over-saturated Super AMOLED display. It shows time and weather info by default or you can swipe to see Facebook, Twitter and MySpace updates, RSS feeds and call data.

If you're doing something on the main screen, incoming calls light up on the ticker, and the ticker also gives control of the music player while you multitask. A hidden Grip Sensor lets you light up just the ticker while keeping the main screen turned off - handy for saving power or for surreptitiously feeding your social network habit.

Aside from the ticker, the Continuum is a run-of-the-mill Android 2.1 handset. It's light and plasticky without feeling insubstantial, has good built-in speakers (but muddy, muffled headphone playback) and a decent 5MP/720p camera.

The four Android buttons are soft, which can take some getting used to, and the auto-brightness setting is useless - turn it off immediately if you don't enjoy the screen blanking out at random moments.

I quite like the Samsung Wiz UI and I love Swype data entry but both are easily replaced if you don't. Sadly, you can also set the ticker not to disturb you at night, say, which is hardly playing fair. In fact, I might start work on an app that gives me a little electric shock every time a tweet arrives. Just so I don't miss anything important, you understand.