LG Electronics has officially launched its iPhone-like smartphone in Europe, making the device available in stores just days before Apple's iPhone goes on sale overseas.
The LG-KS20, which hit store shelves Monday, has the same thin rectangular design as the iPhone, but a smaller touch screen: 2.8 inches diagonally versus 3.5 inches. The LG phone has a stylus for navigating the 240-by-320 pixels screen, although it's not as interactive as iPhone's touch screen, which enables the use of fingers to manipulate pictures, video, and data.
LG launched its smartphone four days before the iPhone is scheduled to go on sale in Europe. The Korean company unveiled the KS20 in August at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) trade show in Berlin.
While the iPhone uses a mobile version of Apple's Mac OS X, the KS20 runs on version 6 of Microsoft's Windows Mobile for Pocket PC. The LG device includes an MP3 player, FM radio, and a 2.0 mega-pixel camera. The KS20 has 128-Mbytes of memory, weighs 3.4 ounces, and has a battery life of four hours of talking, and 400 hours on standby.
Like the iPhone, the KS20 supports Wi-Fi for connecting to the Internet via wireless broadband, and also supports Bluetooth for wireless connections with other supporting devices, such as a notebook or headphone. A video demo of the LG device can be seen on YouTube.
The iPhone has drawn media attention to the smartphone market, increasing consumer interest in the devices. Apple sold 1.4 million units within the first 90 days of the device's June 29 release in the United States, and its success has competitors rushing to market with alternatives. Besides LG, Nokia, Palm, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have launched challengers.
With the saturation of multifunction devices, analysts expect smartphone sales worldwide to grow from about 20 million this year to 150 million by 2011.