Well, it’s been a busy two weeks for mid to high end phones with touchscreens. Firstly, last week UK Gadgeteer attended the launch of the LG Renoir (previously covered here as the LG KC910). Although not the top of the LG range (a position still held by the LG Secret), this phones builds on the success of the LG Viewty from last year, and offers some key improvements.
Firstly, they have increased the camera to 8 megapixels. They have also included a GPS, although it’s only standard function in the phone is to support geotagging pictures as they are taken. We’ll be interested to see over the next few weeks (we’re hoping to get a review phone soon) as to whether it can also be used with Map applications such as Google Maps for Mobile or MGMaps. Finally, the other amazing feature in the phone is the support for Dolby Mobile, which really improves the sound quality, even with the standard stock headphones. A nice feature is that the headphones come with a little remote on the cable which can control the music, but also, and believed to be a first, can also control the camera to act as a remote trigger.
We expect this will be a big seller for LG when it hits the shelves in the next month.
In terms of hype, rumours, and long term interest, however, is the more important announcement yesterday of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone. This is the phone previously known as the Nokia Tube, and is a mid range Symbian based smartphone. However, it adds a touchscreen (not for the first time, and certainly not the last), and should be the start of a new generation of touchscreen based devices from Nokia.
In order to achieve this, Nokia / Symbian have needed to update the OS, and has therefore launched S60 5th Edition (skipping the 4th edition as the number 4 is considered very unlucky in Asia, a key market for Nokia).
As is typical for a recent Symbian based phone, this phone features Quad Band GSM, Dual Band UMTS (with HSDPA support), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, TV-Out, built in GPS (with geotagging), and a 3.5mm audio jack. In addition, it features Haptic feedback on the 3.2″ 640×360 touchscreen (similar to the LG Viewty and LG Renoir), an accelerometer and a proximity sensor. Unlike the LG Renoir, but still better than the iPhone, it features a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus. The key point of this phone is music, and there will be a variant of the phone next year that will come with Nokia’s new “Comes with Music” service, which offers unlimited music downloads onto your PC and phone for 12 months, and even better, at the end of your subscription you can still continue to play the music. However, today, as well as the audio jack, the phone features stereo speakers with built in surround sound for playback of the music.
In the box is likely to be an 8Gb microSD card, a carry case, and a little desktop stand, as well as a spare stylus. The phone itself will come in black, red or blue.
This should also be available in the UK before Christmas, although we suspect the LG Renoir will be on the shelves first. We’re hearing it’s likely to be priced around £220 *unlocked*, which may well see many people buying this phone to replace their current branded and locked phone to last them to the end of their current mobile phone contract.
All this, on top of the Google G1 phone as well…