Smartphones are inherently characterless little blocks, something which LG wants to change with the AKA range. Initially only released in Korea, we always hoped these different, cute smartphones would get a wider release — and now it’s happening.
Updated on 03-31-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of the AKA phone’s international launch, and new videos showing their individual characters.
What makes the AKA phones unusual? The Android devices can be given their own personality using a set of colored three-quarter length cases, which when fitted, see a pair of fun goggly eyes appear on the top of the display. Each case has a different name and character trait, and LG has released a series of videos introducing each one.
The yellow one is the attention starved, and slightly lecherous Eggy, who is always falling in love.
Inside the blue case is music-fan Soul.
The food obsessed Yo-Yo is in pink, and is apparently (and slightly worryingly) always dieting.
Finally (whisper it, in case George Lucas is listening), the white one is the crazy and impulsive Wooky.
The eyes do more than blink, offering notification alerts and a handy battery monitor, while making the phones more attractive to young smartphone buyers, at whom the AKA is aimed.
For the international release, LG has added a few new software features. In addition to customizable faces with glasses, eyebrows, and other designs, there’s a chance to photograph a special figurine and zap it into selfies and other photos using the Snapshot app.
The phone has a G3-style design, but only borrows the laser-autofocus feature from the flagship device, which is attached to an 8-megapixel camera on the rear. The screen measures 5-inches, and has a 720p resolution, while Android 4.4 KitKat is installed from the factory. A quad-core 1.2Ghz processor with 1.5GB of RAM provides the power, and there’s 16GB of internal memory. LG has provided a MicroSD card slot to increase this figure, plus the AKA has NFC, 4G LTE, and a 2 megapixel forward-facing camera.
Themed phones like the AKA aren’t commonplace, meaning there’s a gap in the market for this type of cutesy, niche device. LG committed to launching the phone in its home market, but said it would observe the response, then decide if a wider release is justified. Things obviously went well, and the AKA is on sale in Hong Kong at the end of March 2015, before going to China, Taiwan, Singapore, and Turkey. LG also says other markets will follow.
Given the chance, which one would you choose?
Updated on 11-12-2014 by Andy Boxall: Added in details on the AKA’s possible international launch.