LG unwraps iPhone-like Prada cell phone

LG Electronics Inc. has unveiled the fruits of a cell phone design partnership with Italian fashion goods maker Prada SpA.

The front face of the LG-KE850 phone is dominated by a large touch-screen display and little else, which at first glance means it looks a lot like Apple Inc.'s recently announced iPhone.

A comparison of the tech-specs reveals that the Apple product is superior in several areas, including screen resolution, data networking ability and internal memory although the Prada phone does offer at least one thing missing from the iPhone: a memory card slot. However given the iPhone's capacious internal memory this might not be of great importance to some potential users.

The two handsets are about the same size although the LG handset comes in smaller. The Prada phone is 99 millimeters long by 54mm wide while the iPhone is slightly larger at 115mms by 61mms. Both are about 12mms thick.

The phone is the product of a design collaboration between the two companies. Prada not only had input on the phone's exterior but also on key elements of the user interface, including the touch interface, ring tones and pre-loaded content. LG didn't disclose any further details of what content will be present on the device.

The phone is a tri-band GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) model (900/1800/1900MHz) with support for EDGE data transmission.

It will go on sale first in late February through Prada shops in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy. It will cost around €600 (US$775). In March it will begin appearing in stores in Asia including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, said LG. A version for the Korean market is due out in the second quarter.

LG has no plans to put it on sale in the U.S., said Judy Pae [cq], a spokeswoman for the company in Seoul.

Technical Specification Comparison between LG-K850 and Apple iPhone

LG-K850 Apple iPhone

Screen size 3-inches 3.5 inches

Screen resolution 240 pixels by 400 pixels 320 pixels by 480 pixels

Camera resolution 2 megapixel, LED flash 2 megapixels

Music playback MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, RA MP3, AAC, Protected AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV

Video playback MPEG4, H.263, H.264 MPEG4, H.264

GSM GSM 900/1800/1900 GSM 850/900/1800/1900

Data communications GSM EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0 Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, GSM EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0

Internal memory 8M bytes 4G bytes or 8G bytes

Memory card Micro SD none

Document viewer ppt, doc, xls, pdf, txt TBA

Battery life up to 3 hours talk, 300 hours standby up to 5 hours talk, video, browsing; 16 hours audio

Size 98.8 mm by 54 by 12 mm 115 mm by 61 mm by 11.6 mm

Weight 85 grams 135 grams

Price €600 (US$775) US$499 for 4GB model, $599 for 8GB model with 2-year Cingular service contract

Availability February in Europe, March in Asia Mid-year in U.S., Late 2007 in Europe, 2008 in Asia

Sources: LG Electronics, Apple, Macworld

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