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LG Readies More Smartphones

1/15/2010 12:00:05 PM Eastern

New York - LG's
U.S. cellular plans in 2010 include an expanded selection of Windows Mobile
smartphones and the company's first Android-based smartphones, but the company will
remain aggressive in feature phones and messaging phones, said marketing senior
director Tim O'Brien.

 LG’s O’Brien: Android smartphones and more Windows Mobile are coming along with smarter feature phones.

"We will continue
to invest in messaging devices," he told TWICE during the LG Mobile Worldcup
global texting championship. "[And] we're still committed to building smarter
feature phones. For manufacturers, that's where most of the volume is."

A large percentage
of consumers don't need the full functionality of an operating system, but they
want better music controls and good Web browsing, he explained.

O'Brien defined
smarter feature phones as offering an HTML browser; one-touch access to features
and Web sites, including social-networking sites; Web-based email; and such
carrier services as video streaming and navigation.

In that category,
O'Brien placed the recently announced touchscreen-equipped LG
Lotus Elite
and LG Rumor Touch. The former, a square-like quick-messaging
clamshell that also features hard QWERTY keyboard, became available Jan. 10 through
all Sprint retail channels at $99.99. The Rumor Touch features a touchscreen and
slide-from-the-side QWERTY and will be available through Sprint in the first
quarter at an unannounced price.

Earlier this week,
parent company LG Electronics in Seoul, Korea, said it would launch 20
smartphones worldwide in 2010, including Android-, Windows Mobile- and
Linux-based models.

In the U.S., LG
currently offers one Windows Mobile smartphone, the recently launched LG eXpo, which
features Windows Mobile 6.5 OS, 1GHz processor, touchscreen, slide-out QWERTY
keyboard and optional clip-on pico projector. It became available through
AT&T in December at $199. The brand's first U.S. smartphone, the Windows
Mobile-based Insight, was launched more than a year ago, also through AT&T.

In 2010, LG will
expand its Windows Mobile selection in the U.S. and will launch its first U.S.
Androids, having launched Android outside the U.S., O'Brien said.

In the smarter
feature-phone segment, LG in 2010 will offer phones incorporating Qualcomm's
Brew MP cellphone operating system, designed to bring smartphone functionality
to low-priced phones. At CES, AT&T said it would adopt the OS for all of
its quick-messaging phones.

Brew MP enables
downloadable apps that are more robust than those currently available for
phones that lack smartphone OSs, and it can run on lower-end chipsets with
lower speed and lower memory capacity while supporting Java and Adobe Flash,
Qualcomm said during CES.

AT&T plans to
include Brew MP in all of its quick-messaging phones by 2011, rolling out the
first ones beginning in the middle of this summer.