LG goes retro with new Wine Smart flip-smartphone

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New hybrid smartphone device includes keyboard and touchscreen and 4G connectivity 

LG is set to launch its first flip smartphone in the UK with the retro design Wine Smart.

The 4G Android device was released in the manufacturers Korean home market last year (sold as LG Gentle) where clamshell handsets continue to remain popular with customers. Japan last year in particular saw a substantial rise in clamshell popularity, with numbers rising 5.7 percent to almost 11 million, with the likes of Panasonic and Fujitsu dominating.

The new Wine Smart device, which runs on Android Lollipop replicates the traditional clamshell design, incorporating a keyboard and a 3.2 inch HVGA touchscreen.

Features include1.1 quad core chipset, 4GB memory expandable with MicroSD, 3 megapixel rear camera (VGA FRONT), WiFI and Bluetooth connectivity.

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LG said the Wine Smart combines the “familiarity of a folder phone” with an “easy to-use touchscreen” with the connectivity and power of a smartphone. The decision to release the device internationally was down to to the “positive response” to the original model, which has helped customers make the transition form a feature phone to smartphone a “seamless” experience.

“Our goal with LG Wine Smart was to create a smartphone that fans of flip phones could embrace,” said LG Vice President and head of marketing communications. “Consumers shouldn’t have to miss out on the smartphone revolution because they prefer a particular phone design over another. With LG Wine Smart, they won’t have to.”

The firm has confirmed the device will first launch in a number of new markets, including Japan, France, Italy, Poland, Spain and Kazakhstan “amongst others,” this month.  Whilst the UK has yet to be confirmed by LG, the device is expected to arrive later this year.

Pricing details have yet to be confirmed for the new markets. The LG Gentle is priced at around £110 in Korea.

The first flip phone was released in 1996 by Motorola with the StarTac (pictured). All manufacturers have released clamshell models since but in recent years have moved almost exclusively to the modern slate design, thanks largely to the iPhone release in 2007.

 

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