LG Thrive Android Prepaid Smartphone Coming from ATandT

AT&T's GoPhone pre-paid mobile unit will sell the LG Thrive for $179 without a contract, while the LG Phoenix is more or less the same Android 2.2 phone, albeit for $49 on contract.

AT&T said it will begin selling the LG Thrive and LG Phoenix, prepaid and post-paid Android 2.2 smartphones, respectively, at its U.S. stores April 17.

The Thrive and Phoenix, two of what AT&T pledged would be more than a dozen Android gadgets launching this year, are the same smartphone.

Both devices feature a 600MHz processor, 3.2-inch color touchcreens, a 3.2MP camera, support for Microsoft Exchange email and unlimited Wi-Fi usage on the national AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot network.

Both the silver-colored Thrive and the dark blue-hued Phoenix will include Google account synchronization, Facebook and Twitter apps and seven customizable home screens.

The Thrive and Phoenix also feature a 2GB microSD card, 160MB User Memory microSD storage up to 32GB, a 2GB microSD card installed and a 1500 mAh battery.

The differences between the handsets lie mostly in the pricing and data service plans.

The silver-colored LG Thrive is the first Android smartphone available for AT&T GoPhone prepaid customers, sporting flexible data packages and no contract for $179.

However, prepaid customers who buy the Thrive must pick a data package in addition to GoPhone's smartphone $0.10/min Plan or Smartphone $2/day Unlimited Talk and Text Plan. Data packages are $5 for 10MB of data, $15 for 100MB or 500MB of data for $25.

The LG Phoenix will cost customers $49.99 with a $36 activation fee and a two-year deal with a voice plan and smartphone data plan starting at $15 a month. Phoenix buyers are also eligible for mobile hotspot and data tethering, which require a DataPro 4GB Plan.

The Thrive and Phoenix lie at the opposite end of the smartphone spectrum from the premium, high-end Motorola Atrix 4G, which AT&T began selling in February for $199.99 with a two-year deal. The Atrix 4G has a 4-inch, quarter-high-definition screen.

The AT&T phones also come one week after T-Mobile unveiled its Samsung Galaxy Prevail prepaid smartphone, which like the Thrive runs Android 2.2, has a 3.2-inch touchscreen and costs $179 without a contract. This handset will be available until later this month from Boost Mobile.