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.
“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.