LG preparing Android smartphone for Australia

LG Mini and GT540 mobile phones to hit Australia in 2010

LG's GW540 will be the first LG phone to run the Android operating system in Australia.

LG's GW540 will be the first LG phone to run the Android operating system in Australia.

In the middle of groundbreaking announcements from the likes of Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, LG has so far been fairly quiet at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Nathan Dunn, LG’s general manager for mobile communications in Australia. He has detailed plans to launch two new "hero" products into the Australian market in 2010 — the LG Mini (GD880) and the LG GT540.

The LG Mini has “a number of smartphone-like features,” including multitouch technology and a variety of social connectivity features. Like a number of other smartphones seen at MWC, it follows the trend of merging social networking contacts into a single, easy to use system.

The LG Mini runs an updated version of LG’s S-Class user interface, so it's technically not defined as a smartphone. When questioned why LG chose to use its own UI for the Mini, Dunn said its “easier to build the hardware around an operating system that doesn’t have specific boundaries or requirements.” He gave the example of Google’s Android platform as one that has particular hardware and feature requirements, often resulting in a lengthier time to market.

The good news is that LG isn’t ignoring the Android OS. The GT540 will be the company’s first Android handset released in Australia. It’s targeted at consumers who are buying their first smartphone, so it’s not a high-end device. The GT540 runs the 1.9 version of Android, has a resistive touch screen and is targeted at a ”youth orientated audience.” Dunn also revealed it may be sold as a prepaid device, though talks with operators are in early stages. An Android device on prepaid would certainly be a very interesting proposition.

As for Australian availability — expect the LG Mini (GD880) in April or May, and the GT540 “later this year.” LG also plans to release a “high-end” Windows Phone Series 7 smartphone in November.

Ross Catanzariti travelled to Mobile World Congress 2010 as a guest of Samsung.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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