KF700 touch phone leads LG charge at Mobile World Congress

LG has announced four new phones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) today, including a new high-end touch phone - the KF700.

The KF700 builds on the touchscreen features of last year's LG Prada phone, by 'adding multiple input methods'. In English that means you get a hardware numeric keypad, the aforementioned 3-inch touchscreen and a rear-mounted controller called the Shortcut Dial, which - surprise! - gives you quick access to the most commonly used functions.

LG says it has done this because its discovered users want instant access to key phone features without having to drill down through layer after layer of menus. This may just be a LG-specific problem - we can't say the iPhone has given us any trouble in this area, although having three user input methods seems like overkill to us.

Key features of the KF700 include 3G mobile broadband access via High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), full web browser, MP3 player and a 3-megapixel camera. You'll be able to to get your hands on one in March.

Smartphones and then some

The KF700 is joined by three other mobiles, the KF600, KF510 and KS20.

Of the three the KF600 is the most interesting, if only because the phone is said to be so intuitive that "it seems almost to read your mind" - a claim that even hypemeister and Apple CEO Steve Jobs would find credulous. The mind-reading ability is due to a feature called InteractPad - a context-sensitive set of soft keys that change their function according to which mode the phone is in.

The InteractPad works with the KF600's built-in 3-megapixel camera, MP3 player and video recorder. It even enables you to take and make calls or send and receive texts. The KF600 goes on sale in April.

Also big on smart tech is the KF510 slider phone, which measures just 10.9mm deep. Key features include an LCD with auto-luminescence mode to save battery power, plus a Smart Camera that can power itself up in about one second. Beefing up the camera's features are a 3-megapixel camera with optical image stabiliser (OIS), an LED flash and red-eye noise reduction.

Finally we come to the KS20 smartphone. Running under Windows Mobile 6, this business-oriented handset packs in HSDPA fast mobile broadband, two cameras (handy for video conferences) and a touchscreen interface.