It's NTT DoCoMo and Japan-only, but we can only wish the LG Simpure L2 pushes the idea that simple phones have their place in a world of increasingly complicated and smartypantsy cells.
At least, that's what NTT DoCoMo says. To me, with its dual camera and video-conferencing functions, this 17.6mm-thick 3G slider doesn't look simpler than other phones. Why and full features after the jump.
Simpure L2 Handset Features
Size: 98 x 48 x 17.6 mm
Weight: 110 grams
Stand-by time: 340 hours static and 200 hours dynamic. 260 hours on GSM.
Continuous talk time: 140 minutes
Continuous video calling time: 90 minutes
Main display: 2.2-inch 176 x 220 pixel TFT LCD with 262,144 colors
Cameras: Outside 1.3 megapixel, inside 320,000 pixel
Colors: black, white and gold
Roaming: 3G, GSM and GPRS
While we can't judge the simplicity of the phone by these specs, taking out functions doesn't mean simplifying a cellphone. Make a phone easier to use means rethinking the way the user interacts with it. If you have to access the same list menus and use the same buttons, you will end up with a phone as complicated as the rest but with less features, which is precisely what the Simpure L2 looks like.
Take the other extreme: the iPhone. Whether you like Apple or not, the iPhone packs an amazing amount of functionality in a very tight package, while making its operation obvious to the user by implementing a direct-manipulation interface. Touch me to use me looks like a sexploitation B-movie, but it works. It does a better job on simplifying access to more sophisticated functions because Apple has simplified the interaction and they have made it consistent through the different applications. That's what other manufacturers really (hopefully) have to understand, rather than keeping increasing the complexity of the cellphones and adding never-ending cascading list menus to them.
And yes, I confess I am itching to make the Jesus-phone into the Jesus' Jesus-Phone once it comes out.
Press release [NTT DoCoMo]