LG Viewty KE990 dumbed down to 2.5G. Headed for T-Mobile and China?

When LG Viewty KU990 was shown off in September, it was one impressive camera phone. About the only things missing in it were Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS.

So when I heard rumors that LG might be working on an update – LG Viewty KE990 phone, I thought that this might be it.

I had some doubts because of the name – LG “KE” phones usually meant only EDGE data support, with “KU” reserved for 3G UMTS/HSDPA phones. But still I hoped for the better.

Well, my doubts about LG KE990 phones were well founded. Turns out, KE990 Viewty is not the upgrade, but a downgrade of the Viewty phone.

LG KE990 Viewty seems to have kept most of the features of the original Viewty phone, except for the 3G HSDPA connectivity module. Yep, LG Viewty KE990 is just a dual band GSM (850/900) phone with GPRS/EDGE data support.

You can tell that KE990 is part of the Viewty family from the recently leaked LG phone roadmap:

lg-roadmap-2008-viety-ke990.jpg

And FCC approval documents for LG KE990 tells us the rest of the story – it’s a Cellular/PCS/GSM/EDGE phone that transmits on GSM850 and GSM1900 frequencies.

So what’s the point of dumbing down KE990 Viewty to only 2.5G connectivity options? Well, I can see several reasons:

  • With only 2.5G antenna module inside, it might be cheaper to make
  • It will use less power – so the durability of the phone improves
  • Quite a few people don’t really care about fast data downloads, so a cheaper high quality camera phone might be just the thing they are looking for
  • Some network operators do not yet have 3G/HSDPA support. Like the ones in China, or T-Mobile in U.S. So KE990 might be designed specifically for them

A closer look at FCC documents shows that there probably be three strands of LG KE990 Viewty phone – KE990 itself, KE990c and KE990d.

I don’t know where the “d” strand is headed to, but cellphone vendors usually mark models destined to China with “c” letter, so I guess that’s where KE990c is headed.

And as for KE990 itself? Could it be become an LG Viewty phone on T-Mobile network?

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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