Samsung has launched a new mobile phone that gives users tactile feedback so they know what they are touching on screen.

The new phone, which has been launched in China this week is called the SCH-W599, and is the first phone to use VibeTonz tactile feedback in touchscreen operation.

The SCH-W559 uses a large 260k-colour QVGA LCD touchscreen display similar to that announced by Apple last week to replace the traditional mechanical keypad as the primary input option.

Users receive confirming tactile cues when they press graphical onscreen controls, and they can customise the response by selecting one of five feedback profiles for these cues.

"We believe that market conditions are almost ripe for an explosion in touchscreen phones, and that by 2012 as many as 40% of mobile phones could be using some form of touch sensitive technology", said Stuart Robinson, director of the Handset Component Technologies service at global research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics.

The new phone is being sold by China Unicom, the third largest mobile operator in the world with 135 million subscribers and is designed to roam globally by working on both 3G and GSM networks. Other features of the SCH-W559 include handwriting recognition, Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera and audio and video playback functions.