This phone does not particularly stand out in the pile of random phones for specific niches that continue to come out. This is a Danger Sidekick derivative (which is itself a derivative of the Blackberry) that's aimed toward people who send a lot of text messages and/or email. It has a post-iPhone touchscreen form factor, but it's clearly designed to be opened and typed on. What's interesting to me about it is that it's a Symbian device. There were not many non-Nokia Symbian devices, and they all suffered to some extent from Symbian's legacy as the "first" smart phone operating system (there are of course disputes about what a smart phone is and who had the first operating system, but Symbian has a good claim to be the best example of the first generation of smart phones, with iOS being the first of the second generation). To me, the use of Symbian means that LG was hedging their bets. I'm sure that they had their own in-house smart phone operating system under development--all the big companies do, I suspect--but that licensing Symbian was a way to have experience with it should it become successful. As we know, it didn't. That meant that this phone, and every other Symbian device, was locked into an odd role: it had the capability and infrastructure to be an open-ended computing device with a wide variety of different applications running on it (and it already has all of the affordances to be the equivalent of a netbook), but with almost no software available for it. Microsoft and Nokia are in that boat today with Windows Phone 7 and the new Lumia phones, and it'll be an interesting exercise to look back three years from now and see how well they do, and whether they end up like this phone.
A phone a day: LG Xenon GR500 (2009)
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