LG smartphone offers svelte profile

The Android-powered device uses a new NOVA display to achieve its svelte profile, the company says.

Insurgent smartphone maker LG says its LG Optimus Black Android smartphone is the thinnest in the world. The phone's width measures about 0.36 inches thick, then tapers down to 0.24 inches, which LG says qualifies it as the world's thinnest phone.

The company says the new phone's 4-inch screen uses a new display technology called NOVA, which it says takes up less space in the phone's design and provides a brighter, clearer interface for the user.

"LG Optimus Black provides users with an easier and more natural experience when browsing the web, reading emails, or writing documents with higher levels of brightness and pure white tones that deliver true black and white colors for ideal handset viewing," LG says in a statement released this morning. The whiter whites and blacker blacks will help users see the display more clearly indoors or outdoors, and even under bright sunlight, LG says.

We will be getting a hands-on of the Optimus Black later today, after which we'll decide whether or not the phone and its new display technology live up to LG's claims.

Good Power Usage

It gets better. LG says the NOVA display uses far less power (during indoor use) than regular LCD and AMOLED displays. If true this could have a dramatic positive effect on the battery life of the Optimus Black (the phone uses a 1500 mAh battery), and of phones that use NOVA displays in the future.

Another feature we will take a "wait and see" attitude toward is the new phone's use of the Optimus UI 2.0 interface overlay. This piece of LG software sits on top of Android and "lets users directly access messages, emails and missed calls from the locked screen with just one single finger tap." On other phones we've seen, such overlays have merely create UI clutter and gotten in the way of Android's simplicity.

The Optimus Black will ship with Android 2.2 (Froyo), but, LG says the phone can be easily upgraded to the more recent Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS version. LG says the new phone's interface lets users lift, shake or tap to do such things as take calls, enter camera mode or play music.

Notably the Optimus Black ships with a large 2 megapixel front-facing camera. LG says the large camera was included to maximize the expanded video conferencing functionality in Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

LG says the Optimus Black will begin selling through an as-yet-unnamed carrier in the first half of 2011.

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Mark Sullivan

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