A number of other handset vendors are preparing to launch similar high-end camera phones in time for the Christmas period.
Sony Ericsson is expected to launch the 8.1 megapixel C905 in the fall, while Nokia and LG are reported to be planning similar moves.
The fact Apple’s 3G iPhone only packs a 2 megapixel camera is regarded as one of its key weakness.
Samsung’s i8510 will be available in the UK through Carphone Warehouse and free on a £35 a month contract with Orange UK.
The smartphone is being positioned as a genuine alternative to digital cameras.
Mark Mitchinson, vice president for Samsung, said the cell phone industry was playing catch-up, selling only 4 and 5 megapixel camera phones.
“But the 8 megapixel is a new milestone, I think the vast majority of consumers will see it as a credible alternative,” he said.
“For the first time ever you will not need to carry a camera as well as a phone on your holidays.”
The i8510 is based on Symbian’s Series 60 platform and includes HSPA connectivity, Wi-Fi, GPS and FM radio functionality.