LG's users have just been branded "tech boffins" in a UK survey of cellphone users, and that kind of meshes with news of a new smart phone from the Korean company. The LG Versa, you see, is a unusual modular smart phone. Versa is shorthand for "versatility," that means the handset will come with a number of bolt-on modules.
The first, launched alongside the phone itself, is a smart protective case. It covers the Versa's large screen to protect it from your pocket contents, and the "smart angle" is covered with a built-in physical QWERTY keypad. Handy for entering large text documents into the device. And that's not it for the smartness--the case also has its own small OLED display to relay vital info to you at a glance when the phone's main screen is safely snuggled inside.
The phone's body is similar to other post-iPhone touchscreen candybar phones, with a 3-inch display. It also features a 2-megapixel camera with face detection, VGA video-shooting, media-player functions, flashy 3D-style UI, storage expansion via microSD, stereo Bluetooth, built-in GPS and fast EV-DO data connectivity. Since it's on Verizon, it'll come with V Cast Music with Rhapsody, V Cast Video, VZ Navigator and visual voicemail. The homescreen is also customizable with up to three different types, and its in-built browser surpasses Apple's Safari by incorporating Flash support.
As for the other add-ons that will be available for the device, stereo speakers, and possibly even a gaming D-pad peripheral, may both be on the horizon. Undoubtedly, these add-ons will enhance the phone's attractiveness.
But LG will have to add a lot of utility for this phone to catch on. While the phone is visually unexciting, the current QWERTY add-on looks like it came from a Nokia design reject bin in 1989. And a physical keypad on a smart phone was ridiculed by Steve Jobs when he launched the iPhone--with even the upcoming HTC Magic Android device shunning one. This is surprising, considering LG is clearly muscling in on the ultra-smart phone game with this device.
There's definitely an innovative approach here, but LG should have taken a lead out of the Modu design book. Though the "core" phone technology in the Modu is simpler than the Versa, its bolt-on modules really enable transforming the device in terms of functionality and stylishness. In comparison, the Versa's modules seem ill-conceived. Still, if it's the phone you've been waiting for, it's out March 1 for around $200.