In a marked contrast to the media hurricane surrounding the launch of the iPhone, that other magical touch-screen phone is slinking into the marketplace with nary a peep. In fact, it's not going to be officially available in the United States at all. It seems that no major U.S. wireless carrier could be convinced to support the LG/Prada phone.
The attractive device is being sold through several outlets online including Amazon and eBay for various prices ranging from $549 up to nearly $800. In Sunday's New York Times we caught J&R advertising an unlocked Prada phone for $549, but when when we visited the store later that day, a salesperson told us they were sold out of them and had no idea when they would be getting more. The next step was to go directly to the source, and at Prada SoHo, an informative staff member was surprised to hear that other stores were selling the phone. "We were supposed to get them in April or May," he told us, "but our orders were canceled, and we had list of people waiting for them."
Does this make it a bomb?
Well, yes, especially since they were clearly planning to sell it here.
We have to wonder why none of the major carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon wanted to support something with such built-in appeal. AT&T was obviously already committed to the iPhone and probably didn't want to confuse the issue with a suspiciously similar model from another vendor. As for the other carriers, they may have been spooked by the possible legal ramifications of a copycat item (so far as we know there have not yet been legal problems between the Apple and LG), or they may have been faced with even less favorable terms from Prada than AT&T got from Apple. Knowing Prada, they may have been subject to strict exclusivity rules to keep the precious brand out of the seedier, independent cellphone stores.
These, of course, are just The Shophound's random speculations, but not selling the phone in one of their largest markets must be considered a failure for Prada. On the upside, if you do get your hands on one, you won't see your phone coming and going on every random ear in town.
PRADA phone by LG (official site)