The phrase “touch screen phone” is synonymous with “iPhone” in some people’s minds. That’s tough on the other phone manufacturers, but indicates the extent to which Apple has managed to dominate the market – if not in sales, at least in marketing.
But the Apple way of making a touchscreen phone, which focuses on the software above everything else, isn’t the only way. With the Arena, LG has concentrated on making a phone which offers excellent audio alongside high-quality pictures and a compact, easy-to-use phone. It’s not fair to compare it to the iPhone – it’s a very different kind of touch-screen.
I went along to a blogger’s briefing on the new LG Arena a couple of evenings ago, and – of course – the iPhone came up as a topic of questions and conversation.
What struck me was the way that Apple has managed to come in and completely dominate the conversation about touch screen phones, owning the space and creating a benchmark that every other phone is measured against. And what’s interesting is the way that other manufacturers are pulling against this, and get the conversation back on to territory where they are strong.
The Arena is a case in point. I’ll write up a proper review of it in the near future, but it’s fair to say that it’s terrific hardware. The touch screen is a great improvement over that of the LG Viewty, the camera is 5mp and feature-packed (120fps video, 6-shot burst mode, face tracking, etc), and audio is really good thanks to some new gubbins from Dolby.
But it’s not open in terms of development, it doesn’t have an application store, and the web browsing experience is no more than adequate.
In other words, it’s aimed at people who want music, video, a good camera, and a small phone: People, in other words, who probably wouldn’t even think of an iPhone. It’s not in the same market. And yet, because it has a touch screen, we’ll undoubtedly see lots of reviews which start with the question “is this phone an iPhone killer?” – when it’s not meant to be.