The Lg Gm360 Bali ? Affordability At Its Best

The LG GM360 Bali is another competent dumbphone that could easily be mistaken as a smartphone if we didn’t tell you it’s not. Unveiled at the recent 2010 CeBIT held in Hanover early in March, the new handset not only pushes the envelope for what an affordable touchscreen handset should be, but takes another stab at blurring the distinction between smartphones and feature phones.

The world’s number 5 mobile phone maker, LG Electronics, has been cementing a firmer hold on the low but wider markets for affordable mobile phones with feature phones that can be mistaken for smartphones or at least embarrass them.  A closer look at the Bali clearly points to its pedigree in looks and features from the hardware specs of the LG GT505 released in August.

With just a few compromises to bring the price further down, the Bali is sure to be another winner once it hit its intended markets and if the price is right.  To date, no pricing information is available but we expect it to fall under the current GT505 pricing.  Though T-Mobile of Germany is expected to get it first early in Spring, there is still no word on its launch date in the UK.

The Market Won’t Miss Them

The Bali is another excellent specimen with features that make smartphones unnecessary for many people.  The market for it won’t miss the OS, even though it runs the S-Class UI which further blurs the distinction.  There’s no 3G.  You only get a quad band GSM with class 10 GPRS/EDGE for data connectivity speeds up to 236.8 Kbps.  Not really a laggard for internet surfing but when you also have WiFi 8.2.11b/g, you can do your fast internet surfing in hotspots, even at home with the right gear.

If you want GPS for SatNav functionality, you can look elsewhere though.  That’s another features the GT505 has that was taken out for good reason. The more affordable the handsets get, the less needs for GPS as markets that will get them have little use of SatNav features.

But a display real estate is more in demand. You get 3 inches of TFT LCF resistive touchscreen used to be the province of upscale touchscreens, but not anymore.  It’s quite clear the economies of scale have caught up with touchscreens of this size so you expect more of them for lo wend mobile phones.

Conclusion

The LG GM360 Bali is one of the few affordable entry level touchscreen sporting features that used to be reserved in expensive smartphones but with the distinction getting a lot thinner than ever, we can expect a wider market to enjoy these features.  3-inch resistive touchscreen displays are now considered entry level displays.

A 5 megapixel camera is outstanding for an affordable phone, shaming many smartphones like those stiff BlackBerries that only muster 3.2 megapixels up to now.  But we don’t expect this to be another defining threshold feature for low end handsets as even LG’s Cookie Fresh launched with the Bali only sports a 3.2 megapixel resolution.

But WiFi should be there, at least either that or 3G for fast internet activity. The market is in for exciting times this year with affordable features that were clearly upscale just 12 months ago.

BOLA TANGKAS