The LG Arena (KM900) was released at the start of 2009 at a really interesting stage for mobile phones. The previous two years had seen a major upheaval in the way phones were used as previous successful models such as the Nokia 6300 made way for larger touchscreen models as the Apple iPhone. With Apple devices now dominating the market, it was up to everyone else to play catchup.
One thing in Apple’s favour was at this stage Android was still in its infancy, and heavy fragmentation of the market occurred. Anyone wishing to challenge would have to put together its own operating system modified for touch. LG were one of the early innovators on the scene and scored some successes with phones such as the LG Viewty (KU990).
The KM900 represented a step up from this, as Apple’s capacitative technology screens were a clear upgrade on the resistive touch-type screens at the time and hence more was needed to match this, and this phone was the answer to it.
This was a successful handset, one of a cadre of phones made by other manufacturers given the title of ‘iPhone killer’ (in that some of their specifications were superior). In retrospect, none of them really did much to dent the huge momentum Apple had. The design of the phone went on to be incorporated in many other newer LG handsets.
Pros of LG Arena KM900:
Great phone design: This was arguably a step above the iPhone and many other handsets by using a metallic design for the housing and rear backplate, giving the phone a very satisfying premium feel in the hand. The titanium finish is shiny as opposed to matt and the phone looks visibly different to many others.
5-Megapixel Camera: Aimed squarely at Apple, the phone offered a great quality (for a phone) camera, much superior to that seen on other handsets and came with a flash as well and allowed for video recording. With imaging becoming an important part of the phone purchase decision, something like this was enough to swing it.
MicroSD Card Support: This was another important differentiator and allowed the user to expand the phone memory beyond the on-board 8GB at a low cost.
High Screen Resolution: The screen featured a very high resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, making it ideal for watching video or pictures.
Cons of LG Arena KM900:
Small screen size: Perhaps wary of creating a handset that was too big for pockets (a legitimate fear at one time), the screen size was just 3.0 inches. This was smaller than the iPhone sizes and despite the touchscreen improving in accuracy, people’s fingers did not become smaller and as such it was found cumbersome.
Operating System: LG’s attempt at a touch-screen operating system was a fine effort and replicated many functions well. But it lacked the integrated app-store which made the iPhone popular.
Underpowered Processor: At this time the smoothest of the experience may have been secondary, but the phone suffered from slowdown when the load got too high, resulting in a frustrating experience.
Future Prospects and Current Pricing
At present these type of phones lag the market and are often some of the cheapest smartphones to be had. Many have since lost their usefulness as handsets due to the operating systems becoming very outdated and the plethora of older, but still useable Android handsets being good.
There are many distinctive enough LG handsets which may become valuable enough in the coming years, this may be one of them.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.