LG Optimus Me Android phone (preview)

LG Optimus Me preview: An Android phone targeted at first-time smartphone buyers

LG's Optimus Me (P350) is the latest in a wave of cheap Android smartphones targeting budget-conscious consumers. Its specifications are about what we would expect from a phone that will cost just over $200, but the fact the Optimus Me will be sold though mass retailers may give it an edge over similar priced competitors.

Read our roundup of the best budget Android phones.

According to LG, the Android-powered Optimus Me is targeted at consumers looking to buy their first smartphone. Curiously, it will be sold through mass retailers in Australia including Woolworths and Dick Smith Electronics, as well as mobile phone dealers Allphones and Telechoice.

The LG Optimus Me has a 2.8in capacitive touchscreen, but its resolution of 320x240 is rather low. The phone runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android operating system and offers all the features and functions of higher prices Android phones, including the ability to act as a wireless hotspot, access to the Android Market for third-party apps, and Google's suite of apps and services including YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Calendar, and Latitude.

The LG Optimus Me has 2GB of internal memory along with a microSD card slot, and comes with a 3-megapixel camera. LG claims the Optimus Me will provide a talk time of seven hours and a standby time of 510 hours from its 1250mAh battery — considering it has a small display, this should mean a battery life of up to two days.

The LG Optimus Me will be the latest in a range of Android smartphones targeting the budget segment of the Australian market. Telstra has unveiled and launched the first Android smartphone that allegedly breaks the $100 price barrier in Australia, the Telstra Smart-Touch, while Chinese manufacturer Huawei currently sells the Huawei IDEOS U8150 Android phone for $99 — but only to customers who purchase the phone online.

The LG Optimus Me will be available outright and unlocked from the beginning of April for $229.