LG's headline official announcement at the show this year was undoubtedly the VX-8100, the successor to Verizon's flagship EV-DO phone, the VX-8000.
Looking only at the specs, you might be led to believe the VX-8100 is pretty much the same size as its predecessor. But that is certainly not the case. While the VX-8000 was very boxy and large, the VX-8100 is very rounded, making it much smaller, both in actual volume and how it feels in your hand & pocket.
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The VX-8100 also adds Bluetooth and a miniSD card slot. However, it appears that a certain carrier has imposed their infamous "crippling" on these features. First, the Bluetooth feature only supports the Headset, Handsfree, and Dial-Up-Networking profiles - no OBEX. As for the card slot, in our hands-on tests, the miniSD card slot was strictly limited to playing MP3s loaded onto the card from a PC or other source. The card could not be used to store or transfer photos or videos, nor transfer ringtones, wallpapers, etc.
But on the good side, the 8100 does have a full MP3 player feature (something that was promised for the VX-8000 but didn't make the final version). We emphasize "full" because it has a shockingly large 512 MB of internal memory. That much built-in memory is unheard-of. In fact, it may be a world-first.
512 MB of built-in memory almost makes the miniSD card slot redundant, but then again, if you like music, just pop in a 512 MB miniSD card, and bam - you basically have a 1 GB music player right in your phone. Right now, a 512 MB miniSD card runs about $65, while a 1 GB iPod Shuffle goes for $150 (over twice as much). That makes a phone like the VX-8100 a pretty interesting way to carry around and listen to about 240 songs...
Moving along, the VX-5200 is another clamshell CDMA phone coming soon. Despite the lower model number, LG is positioning the 5200 as a replacement for the VX-6100.
Compared to the 6100, the 5200 is definitely smaller and sleeker. It also steps up to a color external display, and adds LG's "driving mode" feature, which some people may be familiar with from the VX-4500. For those not familiar, driving mode is basically a souped-up voice control system. It's designed to let users control all the basic features of the phone through voice commands and speech prompts, without looking at or touching the phone.
The VX-3300 is another newly-announced model at CTIA. As you might guess from the model number, it's designed to replace the VX-3200. The only major new feature is changeable outer faceplates.
DISCLAIMER: Yes, LG asked us to us black out the carrier logos. We agreed, because it helps us keep a good relationship with LG, which we know from experience allows us to bring you better information, faster. Plus... we know that the more industry-savvy members of our audience will be able to pick up on other clues that might point to certain carriers...
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