Samsung plans to begin selling a cellular telephone that includes a hard-disk drive later this month. The handset was unveiled as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom Asia 2004 event in Busan, South Korea this week and the company claims it is the first cell phone of its kind in the world.

The SPH-V5400 is a clam-shell type cell phone and the hard-disk drive has a capacity of 1.5GB. The storage space can be used for several types of media including music files and images photographed with the built-in, megapixel-class digital camera. The handset can play music MP3 music files and has a built-in FM transmitter so that music can be played through a nearby radio.

Other functions include TV output, dual speakers, 64-tone polyphonic ringer and dual LCD (liquid crystal display) panels. The main screen is a TFT LCD with 240x320 pixel resolution and the sub screen is an OLED display with 128x128 pixel resolution.

Samsung is planning to put the cell phone on sale in South Korea before the end of September, said Lee Yoorim, a Samsung Electronics spokeswoman. The phone is compatible with the CDMA2000 1x EvDO standard and will cost around $800.

The possibility of putting hard-disk drives into cellular telephones began to be talked about seriously about a year ago. As cellular telephones have added multimedia functions such as music players and still and movie cameras, their manufacturers have been increasing the amount of installed memory. Coinciding with this demand for more storage space, hard-disk drive makers have been looking at making drives smaller than 1in in diameter.

Several models of 1in hard disk are now available from companies including Hitachi Global Storage, Cornice and GS Magicstor. In January Toshiba demonstrated a prototype 0.85in drive and Seagate Technology LLC said in June that it would begin selling a 1in drive during the third quarter of this year.