Samsung Galaxy Chat arrives, just as BlackBerry phones move away from Qwerty keyboards

Samsung has announced an Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich handset with a Qwerty keyboard aimed at the more digitally social of users, just as RIM is to dispense with its keypads in favour of a full touchscreen for BlackBerry 10 - at least to begin with. Good timing?

The Samsung Galaxy Chat has a 3-inch touchscreen at the top and a full keyboard underneath. It's pre-loaded (as most of the company's smartphones) with the proprietary Samsung ChatOn (you don't want to say that with a lisp) social messaging service.

And the fact that the big S also highlights the Game Hub and its entertainment centre, AllShare Play, gives you a further clue as to the target market for the Chat.

However, Quick Office is also present from the box, so it's not all play.

Specs-wise, the Galaxy Chat has an 850MHz processor, a 2-megapixel camera on the rear (nothing on the front), Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, Bluetooth v3.0, accelerometer, digital compass, 4GB memory and a microSD card slot that can expand that (up to a further 32GB).

It's no beast, measuring 59.3 x 118.9 x 11.7mm and weighing 112g, and its 1,200mAh battery is quoted as offering up to 300 minutes of 3G talk time, 380 hours of standby.

The Samsung Galaxy Chat will be coming to Spain first, in July, and then will roll out across the rest of Europe. Carriers have yet to show their hands on plans or prices.