LG has an agenda for 2012 and is wasting no time. On Feb. 20 it launched the Optimus LTE Tag, a new Long-Term Evolution-enabled smartphone with which it's looking to help drive the near-field communication (NFC) market.
The announcement comes just a day after the release of the LG Optimus Vu, a 5-inch "phablet" with a stylus, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, two cameras and WiFi and LTE connectivity.
And don't be mistaken, says LG. The Optimus LTE Tag is no Optimus LTEthe world's first high-definition LTE smartphone, which LG says has enjoyed "impressive sales."
"Our goal is to offer the widest variety of LTE smartphones in the industry in 2012," LG CEO Jong-seok Park said in a statement. "The Optimus LTE Tag isn't just a cosmetically enhanced version of Optimus LTE, it offers a truly innovative feature which we think really makes a smartphone smarter.
The phone includes NFC technology. Far from the first to do this, LGwhile others have focused the technology mostly on mobile paymentswants to tie it to more proactive uses based on programmable NFC stickers, or tags.
"Swiping a tag upon entering the office could put the Optimus LTE Tag in silent mode and activate WiFi," LG suggests in its release. "A tag on the car dashboard could be programmed to turn on Bluetooth, GPS and raise the volume. The options are limitless."
Available in white, the Optimus LTE Tag also features a 4.3-inch display, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) and Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) support. It runs Android 2.3, Gingerbread, but you can bet that, as with its other phones, an update to Ice Cream Sandwich is coming soon.
LG hasn't announced U.S. availability for the phone, but as the Optimus LTE has made its way here, the same seems likely for the LTE Tag.
Google Wallet is one of a number of mobile payment solutions that rely on NFC, and ABI Research in August 2011 forecast that 85 percent of the point-of-sale terminals that ship in 2016 will be contactless-enabled, or able to support cards of NFC-equipped phones.