LG unwraps iPhone-like Prada cell phone

LG Electronics has unveiled the fruits of a cell phone design partnership with Italian fashion goods maker Prada.

The front face of the LG-KE850 phone is dominated by a large touch-screen display and little else, which at first glance means it looks a lot like Apple Inc.’s recently announced iPhone.

A comparison of the tech-specs reveals that the Apple product is superior in several areas, including screen resolution, data networking ability and internal memory, although the Prada phone does offer at least one thing missing from the iPhone: a memory card slot. However, given the iPhone’s capacious internal memory this might not be of great importance to some users.

The two handsets are about the same size, although the LG handset is slightly smaller. The Prada phone is 99 millimeters long by 54mm wide while the iPhone is 115mms by 61mms. Both are about 12mms thick.

The phone is the product of a design collaboration between the two companies. Prada not only had input on the phone’s exterior but also on key elements of the user interface, including the touch interface, ring tones and pre-loaded content. LG didn’t disclose any further details of what content will be present on the device.

The phone is a tri-band GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) model (900/1800/1900MHz) with support for EDGE data transmission.

It will go on sale first in late February through Prada shops in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy. It will cost around €600 (US$775). In March it will begin appearing in stores in Asia including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, said LG. A version for the Korean market is due out in the second quarter.

LG has no plans to put it on sale in the U.S., said Judy Pae, a spokeswoman for the company in Seoul.

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