Samsung is joining the touch phone price race with a cheap model, the Corby, which should cost only aorund €150 ($210) before taxes and subsidies when it ships in Europe in September.

The phone, also called the S3650, has a 2.8-inch display and has support for EDGE mobile data. It has a slot for microSD memory cards and an FM radio. The software includes a media player for music and video that will play MPEG-4 and WMV files, according to Samsung.

Launching a touch-screen phone in this price range is a logical step as Samsung's goal is to have a touch phone for every kind of consumer, according to Erik Johannesson, a spokesman for Samsung.

The South Korean phone manufacturer follows in the footsteps of Nokia: Last week the Finnish manufacturer launched the 5230 touch phone, which also costs €150 before taxes and subsidies. But the Nokia device comes with beefier hardware specifications. It has a 3.2-inch display and support for A-GPS and HSDPA mobile broadband at 3.6Mbit/s.

Both phones are trying to capture the hearts and minds of younger buyers by integrating support for various social networks. The Corby comes with widgets for the three big ones: Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

In this space they will also have to compete with INQ Mobile in some markets. The company is a relative newcomer that has pioneered cheap smartphones with built-in support for social networking, support for which will only grow in importance going forward.

"Social networking will be the main driver for data services for a long time, and it doesn't matter whether it's in prepaid or post-paid," said Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight.

IDC's Francisco Jeronimo agrees: "There is a strong interest from end users, and that is one of the biggest reasons why some consumers are replacing their devices for smartphones," he said.