LG Takes A Chance With The Oddly-Proportioned Optimus Vu

After spending the past few quarters in the red, LG recently turned things around with a bit of growth in their once-ailing smartphone division. By focusing half of their 2012 capital expenditures budget on developing smartphones, LG wanted people to know that some big mobile plays were on the horizon.

As it turns out, their plans for the year include the newly-leaked Optimus Vu, which isn’t exactly the sort of big we were hoping for.

The first thing you notice about the Optimus Vu is its large 5-inch display, followed shortly by the realization that it’s awfully square. LG opted to run with a 4:3 screen aspect ratio this time around for some reason, which has led to a handset design that’s more squat than I’m accustomed to seeing.

Now LG isn’t the first to toy with this sort of form factor. Fellow Korean manufacturer Pantech introduced the blocky-looking Pocket late last year, but to see a major player run with it is a surprise.

Meanwhile, someone has reportedly managed snap a shot of Optimus Vu in the wild (above) and with it comes a solid spec sheet. If true, the OV sports a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm chipset, 1GB RAM, NFC support, and an 8-megapixel camera. Sadly, there’s no Ice Cream Sandwich to be found here — the Optimus Vu is all about Gingerbread.

It’s easy to take potshots at the Optimus Vu — comment reels across the web (or at least the part of the web that cares about phones) are full of people decrying the device as a Galaxy Note knockoff. The comparison may be harsh, but in fairness, LG could do worse than to try to follow Samsung’s example here. The Galaxy Note enjoys substantial popularity in the international market, and if the rumors of the Optimus Vu having a stylus pan out, the phablet market may soon grow a bit more crowded.

Potential stylus inclusion aside, LG’s decision to go with a 4:3 display could come back to bite them when it comes time for people to decide on a new phone. Smartphones have historically grown taller instead of just wider, and while LG certainly has the novelty factor going with the Optimus Vu, whether or not that will translate into unit sales is still up in the air.