LG showed off something for everyone. Our Korean friends showed off something for everyone - new handsets for Cingular, Sprint and Verizon.
LG's phones for CDMA carriers are looking better and better, but they're still behind when it comes to GSM. Not technologically - the CU320 is one of the first 3G phones be launched on Cingular - but certainly style-wise. The LG225 is an entry level cameraphone that will replace the C2000. Like its predecessor, it is small and feels good in the hand, but is otherwise unremarkable. It is one of the few entry level phones announced at CTIA that did not add Bluetooth, which comes as a bit of a surprise.
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Another phone that simply replaces the model before is the VX5300. Like the Cingular phone, the 5300 gets a smoother, sleeker makeover but it also adds Bluetooth to the feature set of its predecessor.
At the opposite end of the spectrum both in style and features is the LG550. This well-sized, good looking phone is packed with features. Although it may not top out Sprint's PowerVision lineup, the 550 will certainly be at the high end of things when it launches, and hard to resist as well. The phone will come with 3 faceplates for the front, which also features a large music control panel in addition to the external color display. Inside is a large screen, and great keypad. The keypad is nearly flush with the phone but is made out of a textured translucent rubber. The face around the phone is shiny and smooth. This difference in textures makes the keys easy to find by feel. The keypad gently glows when lit up and just oozes style.
In addition to looking good, the 550 is packed with features. It has a MicroSD slot, EV-DO and all the features that comes along with Sprint's EV-DO lineup - music player, streaming video, etc. The 550 also has some additional unique features. It will feature the same type of customizable interface as the Sanyo MM7500. It has an FM transmitter to play your music through nearby radios, and it has a ringtone composer that allows you to hum a tune, then apply a musical instrument to that melody and save it as your ringer. Oddly, the Bluetooth is not stereo, and the headset jack is 2.5mm instead of 3.5mm headphone jack, but the very handy FM transmitter may make up for those shortcomings.
Although it is a different color, and slightly thinner, the 8300 can not shake its similarity to the VX8100. Other than the physical change, the only obvious new features of the 8300 are the move from MiniSD to MicroSD, and the addition of stereo Bluetooth.*
That is until you start looking through the phone's menus. Verizon wasn't publicizing it, but LG let us know the 8300 is the first announced phone that will use Verizon's new Flash-based UI. The home screen and main menus are skinnable with a variety of options. Beyond the main menus, different color themes are applied to the applications and sub menus to match the theme.
We also have a video of the differnet menu themes so you can see both how they look and how each is animated:
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* Updated April 6 to add mention of stereo Bluetooth.