Label-whores, mobile pros and finger-thumpers rejoice, LG have finally made official what we long expected – the PRADA phone (otherwise masquerading as the KE850) will go on sale in Europe at the end of February, followed by Asia in March.
Overshadowed a little perhaps by both the iPhone and LG’s own legal case against Apple disputing the originality of that very handset, the KE850 has a respectable feature-set operated via a very interesting UI. Its 12mm thin chassis packs tri-band EDGE, a 2-megapixel camera (with LED flash), microSD memory expansion of the as-yet-undisclosed internal storage, office file viewer, a DAP supporting MP3, ACC, ACC+, WMA and RA, as well as a video player compatible with MPEG4, H.263 and H.264 formats. All of the above are accessed through a Flash-based interface developed by Pilotfish, who partnered with Synaptics to create the Onyx concept cellphone SlashGear covered last year, and whose DNA is very much present in the PRADA phone.
Synaptics’ ClearPad capacitive touch-screen is used to great effect, with both touch and gesture supported and intuitive call and data handling. Based on the feature-set of the Onyx, functionality like conference calling can be handled by simply dragging multiple contacts together. The only real disappointment could be battery life, with LG managing only to squeeze an 800mAh li-ion pack in there; whether this will be sufficient for a full day of calling, audio and video duties will remain to be seen.
Second-quarter 2007 will mark Korean availability, but those in the US will be disappointed to hear that so far no Stateside release is scheduled. It’ll be priced at around €800 ($1,035), significantly more than the iPhone; will the cachet of the PRADA name be enough to justify the price-tag?