LG Announces Prada Touch Screen Phone

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South Korea’s LG may be looking to bask a bit in the anticipatory halo surrounding Apple’s forthcoming iPhone: the company has announced its new Prada phone, a slim black and white candy bar mobile phone developed in conjunction with the luxury goods brand, and which features an entirely touch-screen driven interface.

"We at LG are exceptionally proud of the Prada Phone by LG" says Dr. Scott Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, in a statement. "The two companies have worked together seamlessly towards a truly shared vision, to develop one of the most beautifully stylish handsets the market has ever seen."

The LG Prada phone is unlikely to ever see U.S. markets—it’s a tri-band GSM unit with EDGE data service—although it should hit retailers in the U.K., France, Germany, and Italy in February, and reach Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore by March, with a Korean release following in the second quarter of 2007. The phone sports a 2 megapixel camera (with a Schneider-Kreuznach lens), a built-in media player capable of handling music (MP3, AAC, AC+, WMA, and RealAudio) and video (MPEG4, H.263, H.264), along with a document viewing which can display PowerPoint, Word, Excel, PDF, and text documents. The phone sports a 400 by 240 LCD touch screen, and the phone is operated on-screen via a touch screen interface built using Macromedia Flash. The phone also offers Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, microSD storage, and Internet connectivity via mobile data services, rather than Wi-Fi. The whole unit measures just 98.8mm by 54mm by 12mm (3.9 by 2.1 by .47 inches).

Although many are comparing the device to the forthcoming Apple iPhone—and noting that it’s a bit smaller—consider that the Prada phone offers a skimpy 8 MB storage (opting instead for microSD cards), doesn’t support Wi-Fi connectivity—and the iPhone’s will pack a larger display (480 by 320 pixels) and all those stylish accelerometers and proximity sensors. But if consumers in Europe and Asia want to be able to pay for the Prada name, they will be able to do so: the LG Prada phone is expected to carry a €600 price tag (about USD $770). (If you’re counting, iPhone prices will start at $499).