Crystal Clear Innovation
By Sutlej Soin
Billed as having the world's first transparent touchpad on their handset, LG seems to have hit the right note with the new GD900 Crystal slider handset that will be launched at this year's CommunicAsia.
The Crystal first made its debut during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year and sparked more interest than its sibling, the LG Arena KM900, by diverting all eyes onto its transparent keypad. Not surprisingly, the eye-catching phone quickly rose up the style ranks and attained much praise among style seekers and phone reviewers (ourselves included).
A beauty in its own right, the transparent keypad is really one of a kind. But it's so much more than just a pretty face: the transparent keypad also doubles up as a capacitive touchpad that supports multi-touch functionality. What this means is that you can dynamically control a wide range of commands (including multimedia and web surfing) using your fingers.
What we thought was particularly interesting is the Gesture Shortcut function that lets you launch menus and applications just by configuring your own gestures. For example, you can use your fingertip to write the letter C on the touchpad, and customize this command to launch the camera function immediately. Haptic feedback is also present to inform you if your input has been registered.
Coming back to a handset near you is the 3D S-class user interface (UI) that first appeared in the LG Arena KM900 which we reviewed recently. Featuring a carousel cube-style interface, it is a step forward from traditional grid-style menu screens. When you press the center button at the bottom of the screen, a cube pops up in the middle of the screen. You are then prompted to use your fingertip to scroll through four of its faces which represent four home screens.
These four screens are entirely customizable, which lets you flood them with shortcuts, widgets, contacts and multimedia functions. The cube turns from one face to the next with the flick of a finger, which makes it intuitive and easy to use. You will also realize that the new UI is much speedier than the older version, letting you open up applications really quickly.
Although not much information has been revealed about this transparent beauty, the touchscreen phone seems well-equipped with the latest multimedia features, including an eight-megapixel on-board camera with auto focus and flash. It also offers 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity options, which is good news for those who like to surf the Web anywhere on the move. There is also the possibility of GPS connectivity but this has not been confirmed yet.
Do note that all these features are supported with a battery capacity that is rated at 1000mAh. Judging from our previous experience with the LG Arena KM900, which also sports a similarly rated battery, we don't expect the newcomer to last as long. This is because the GD900 Crystal phone has two touchscreens which will likely lap up more juice.
LG seems to be placing beauty on the forefront with the LG GD900 Crystal and we can imagine droves of people coming into stores just to feast their eyes on the never-seen-before transparent keypad. Though it is a stunner, we are cautious about its user-friendliness. From our initial assessment, it will probably take some time getting used to it, especially to take advantage of its handwriting recognition functionality.
The phone is scheduled to be announced at CommunicAsia, with a price tag expected to be less than S$1000 without contract.