The Korean mobile phone maverick once again extends feature dumbphones into the smartphone realm with the new LG GM360 Bali. Unveiled at the recent 2010 CeBIT held in Hanover, Germany, the new LG comes with a few other affordable handsets that will surely appeal to the lower end of the markets that want affordability in high end mobile phones with the least compromises on the feature they don't find useful.
A quick glance at the new touchscreen Bali might mistake it for a midrange smartphone but it is just another feature dumb phone that takes off from its deadringer, the GT505 released in August last year. The GT505 was a midrange full feature phone that has almost all the features of a smartphone and was priced accordingly. This time, using virtually the same hardware set, the Bali pushes the envelope of what it means to be affordable with the right compromises in the right places to bring an otherwise upscale touchscreen to a wider market.
Upscale Features to the Masses
It's not exactly your budget entry level phone but it's affordable enough among full touchscreens, at least that's what LG has in mind with the Bali. For starters, you get a generous 3-inch TFT LCD Wide-QVGA resistive touchscreen display with 256k colors - lavish enough for an affordable handset and used to be seen only in expensive upscale smartphones. Its imaging is a standout even for a midpriced handset, as it comes with a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash - something even more expensive smartphones like the BlackBerrys don't have.
There's no 3G and you get only a quad band GSM radio with class 10 GPRS/EDGE speeds at 236.8 Kbps speeds. But it has WiFi and at 54 Mbps, you get the internet experience that's without parallel even at home. You just need to get a hotspot gear at home and a WiFi data plan. There's also no GPS for SatNav - a prudent compromise as the market at this price point would rarely use it. Entertainment on the road is complete but minimal in that you only get MP3 and MP4 playback support and nothing else, though a 3rd party apps uploaded to it may support other codecs. It has an FM stereo radio and the A2DP profile support for wireless Bluetooth stereo earphones.
The LG GM360 Bali is no smartphone but sports LG's proprietary S-Class user interface ported on its runtime platform to give it the look and feel of a smartphone and further blur the distinction. Its target market wont really bother with the distinction as long its features work as promised, and that the Bali does quite well. You can do pretty much the same things on it as on a smartphone as it comes preloaded with a document viewer for PDF and MS Office files, a few games, a WAP 2.0 HTML web browser, Email and Push Email clients, to mention some.
The CeBIT event already revealed that T-Mobile Germany will have the first shot when the LG GM360 Bali gets finally released in spring. There's no pricing available at this but with a slightly diminished features set, we expect it to come in under the LG GT505 price point.
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