The 2006 LG Prada, not the iPhone, was the first touchscreen phone
There’s no query that the iPhone radically modified the smartphone business. Decades from now, there will likely be two eras of cell know-how: pre-iPhone and post-iPhone. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the iPhone wasn’t the first of its sort. Instead, that honor goes to the little-known LG Prada.
The LG KE850 — marketed as the LG Prada as a part of a tie-in with the designer style model — wasn’t too dissimilar from the iPhone or future Android telephones. It featured buttons on the entrance beneath a capacitive touchscreen. It had an app drawer, Bluetooth, a digital camera, an online browser, and clearly despatched and acquired phone calls and textual content messages.
It additionally launched a month earlier than the iPhone and even hit retailer cabinets earlier than the iPhone did, which formally makes it the very first cell phone with a capacitive touchscreen. Apple, although, appears to have stolen all of the Prada’s thunder over the years.
It’s been over 13 years since the launch of the LG Prada, and we thought we’d check out it with some contemporary eyes. With some hands-on time, we got down to uncover why the iPhone modified the business whereas the KE850 is barely a blip on the radar.
You’d assume the Prada can be extra premium
Obviously, we couldn’t stroll right down to our native Best Buy and decide up a 13-year-old smartphone. To get the LG Prada, we purchased a used one on eBay. Thankfully, it got here with its authentic field and even all its authentic equipment, however the gadget itself was worn down fairly dangerous.
Almost each side of the LG Prada is manufactured from plastic. The back and front are manufactured from a shiny black plastic whereas a chrome-painted plastic ring wraps round the outer edges. The rear digital camera module, although, is partially manufactured from metallic, which makes the gadget fairly top-heavy.
The LG Prada has a designer identify connected to it, however the construct of the phone does not recommend designer high quality.
Whoever owned this phone beforehand clearly used it for a time as their each day driver, as the gadget was scuffed and chipped in many various areas. The chrome paint round the edges, particularly, now makes the phone look low-cost since its scuffs give away the plastic development. Even the Prada brand at the high has light half away.
This is probably going one in every of the first the explanation why the iPhone made such a splash whereas the LG Prada has been misplaced to historical past. The authentic iPhone was constructed largely of metallic and glass, so even at this time it could in all probability nonetheless look fairly good.
The mostly-plastic LG Prada, although, doesn’t really feel worthy of the Prada identify. When you assume Prada, you assume premium, and the LG KE850 doesn’t actually stay as much as that in a bodily sense.
In different phrases, iPhone: 1, LG Prada: zero.
Some very unusual spec selections
We love speaking about specs right here at Android Authority. The LG Prada, for its time, really had fairly a couple of areas on its specs sheet the place it hit a house run. Unfortunately, there are concurrently too many areas the place it comes up brief on specs, even for 2006.
Let’s begin with the good things. One of the most shocking features I observed about the LG Prada once I first turned it on was that it has Bluetooth help. Bluetooth had been round in business gadgets since 2001, although, so I don’t know why I was shocked. It has Bluetooth 2.zero, which at the time was the latest-and-greatest.
For a 2006 phone, the LG Prada had some attention-grabbing specs and options, together with a then-new microSD card slot.
The LG KE850 additionally has a microSD card slot. Although loads of cell phones in 2006 had them, the know-how was nonetheless pretty new, as the microSD card format had solely been permitted in the 12 months prior. The LG Prada may deal with microSD playing cards as much as 2GB in measurement.
Finally, the digital camera on the LG Prada is definitely higher than the one that might finally land on the authentic iPhone. Not solely did it have the identical decision (2MP at 1,600×1,200) but it surely additionally had a flash and captured video, two issues the iPhone didn’t have.
Here is the full specs desk for the LG Prada. Take a glance after which let’s discuss the large errors LG made right here.
|LG Prada (KE850)|
|Display||Three-inch capacitive touchscreen
400 x 240 decision
5:Three side ratio
|Storage||8MB of storage
microSD slot (as much as 2GB)
2MP Schneider-Kreuznach optics
No headphone jack
|Connectivity||2G community: GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
USB 2.zero (proprietary connector)
|Dimensions||98.eight x 54 x 12mm|
The most evident mistake right here is the lack of Wi-Fi capabilities on the LG Prada. This is just about inexcusable as the first cell phones with Wi-Fi got here out as early as 2004. To embody an online browser on a 2006 smartphone and not additionally embody Wi-Fi connectivity is simply insane.
Another enormous drawback is the quantity of inside storage on the Prada. That’s not a typo up there: the Prada actually solely has a measly 8MB of built-in storage. Sure, you’ll be able to add as much as 2GB extra with a microSD card, however even the lowest-level iPhone got here with 4GB of storage built-in.
Finally, whereas it’s nice the battery is detachable, its 800mAh capability is fairly dangerous. The iPhone had almost twice that at 1,400mAh. Battery capability isn’t all the things, however consumer reviews from LG Prada house owners declare the battery wasn’t nice.
While the LG Prada wasn’t universally disappointing so far as specs go, it’s straightforward to see that it left quite a bit to be desired. Once once more, we gotta hand it to the iPhone right here for delivering the specs that depend the most (even when the incapacity to file video was a horrible transfer).
So that’s iPhone: 2, LG Prada: zero.
The digital camera, although, is surprisingly good
In 2006, the LG Prada’s digital camera would have been top-of-the-line.
With the Prada branding connected to the LG KE850, it ought to come as little shock that the digital camera on the phone is top-notch (as soon as once more, for 2006). The rear digital camera module information stills and video, features a flash, and the software program offers you a shocking diploma of management over your photographs.
There’s no selfie digital camera right here (the iPhone didn’t have one both), however LG does embody a really tiny mirror to the left of the digital camera lens. Using this, you’ll be able to considerably see your face and gauge whether or not or not you can be in the body in the event you attempt to take a selfie. It’s a lo-fi answer, but it surely’s greater than the iPhone did.
Before we speak extra about the digital camera, listed here are some instance photographs. These footage are unedited and introduced of their authentic four:Three side ratio:
Most of the photographs above had been taken with a point-and-shoot mentality, however the phone’s digital camera software program is fairly sturdy. You can do easy issues corresponding to set a shutter timer, flip the flash on or off, or change the picture decision (320 x 240 at the low finish, 1,600 x 1,200 at the excessive).
You may do extra superior issues, although, corresponding to select the kind of lighting, form of like a poor man’s white stability. You can select to manually focus reasonably than use autofocus and may even add filters. There’s even an choice to alter the noise the digital camera makes if you press the shutter button (which is bodily, positioned on the proper aspect of the phone).
Video recording choices are much less sturdy, however you’ll be able to nonetheless management a couple of essential issues corresponding to decision (maxing out at 400 x 240), digital zoom, and whether or not the flash stays on throughout recording.
Meanwhile, the authentic iPhone had none of this stuff. When you opened up the digital camera app on an iPhone, there was a shutter button for taking stills and… that’s it.
Of course, iPhone customers may snap away fortunately as they didn’t want to fret about having a measly 8MB of inside storage. We’re going to let that slide although and provides the LG Prada the win right here over the iPhone, which brings the rating to iPhone: 2 and LG Prada: 1.
The lynchpin? iPhone OS vs Flash UI
The first Android smartphone wouldn’t land till 2008 as the HTC Dream (or the T-Mobile G1 in some areas). As such, the LG Prada does not run on Android. Instead, it runs on a proprietary working system constructed on Flash that we’re simply going to name Prada UI.
Remember that previous to the KE850, there have been no capacitive touchscreen smartphones. You both had buttons, a trackball, or a stylus for interfacing along with your smartphone show. So LG couldn’t simply use the touchscreen OS of selection on the Prada as a result of there wasn’t a touchscreen OS of selection.
This, finally, is the place LG massively drops the ball. This was a possibility for the firm to set the groundwork on an working system constructed with human contact distinctly in thoughts. Instead, what did LG do? It primarily transferred the working system of a function phone and made it touch-capable and referred to as it a day.
As an instance of what I imply, the LG Prada does not have a software program keyboard. If you need to compose a textual content message you might be introduced with an on-screen numeric keypad and wish to make use of T9 entry. For these of you too younger to know what that’s, that’s if you faucet a quantity a sure variety of instances to choose a letter after which transfer on to the subsequent letter.
The iPhone, in the meantime, had a full QWERTY keyboard that would seem on the display, immediately making T9 look like it got here from the stone age.
Ultimately, the LG Prada’s dangerous software program is what killed any probabilities of the gadget changing into legendary.
This is only one instance. iPhone OS trounced Prada UI in so many various methods, corresponding to together with a totally featured net browser, multitouch help together with pinch-to-zoom capabilities, entry to a Google Maps software, and even a YouTube app. In transient, the iPhone’s software program appeared prefer it got here from the future, whereas the LG Prada’s software program appeared like a slight tweak of the previous.
This, finally, is what despatched the iPhone into the stratosphere. It’s not even a query of factors anymore — the LG Prada may have dominated the iPhone in each different respect, however Prada UI is a failure.
But there was one ultimate nail in the LG Prada coffin…
The nail in the coffin was pricing
We’ve already decided that the iPhone had a extra premium construct, some essential spec upgrades, and a vastly superior software program expertise as in comparison with the LG Prada. Therefore, one would anticipate the iPhone to begin at a better value, proper?
History tells us that wasn’t the case. The lowest-level iPhone with 4GB of inside storage began at $499. The LG Prada retailed right here in the United States for a jaw-dropping $849. In 2020 , which means the Prada would have value about $1,050 whereas the iPhone would have value $615.
This pricing is simply inexcusable. Sure, the Prada identify doubtless made LG really feel assured that it may push the value of the phone increased than typical, however when the iPhone lands and undercuts the pricing by over 30%, you’re going to have issues.
On a associated be aware, the iPhone was simply accessible from any AT&T retailer, as Apple had signed an unique cope with the service. The Prada had no service partnership right here in the US, which means that for a client to get it they wanted to pay in full for an unlocked phone. In 2007, this was largely unprecedented right here in the US, as nearly nobody purchased unlocked gadgets at the moment.
Imagine what the LG Prada may have been…
Let’s think about for a second that the LG Prada didn’t have so many shortcomings in comparison with the iPhone. Imagine that the phone had the identical digital camera, a extra premium construct, a universally nice spec sheet, a brand new working system, and a aggressive value. It’s very doable that LG would now be the world’s most profitable firm.
But LG didn’t do any of that. Instead, it took the fast buck route and put one piece of superior know-how (the digital camera) in a plastic chassis, slapped a designer style label on it, and tried to cost high greenback. It was fairly lazy, particularly if you examine the Prada to the iPhone.
This is an ideal instance of why being “first” in a brand new client know-how isn’t almost as essential as being “best.” Apple is aware of this higher than another firm, however LG wanted to study it the laborious approach.