Verizon Wireless has added a new mid-tier Android offering to its lineup, the LG Spectrum. LG may take exception to such a descriptor, as it seems rather proud of the device's 4.5-inch "True HD IPS (in-plane switching) display" and HD content capabilities, but at $200 with a new two-year contract, compared to the $300 Verizon charges for the 32GB Droid RAZR and the Galaxy Nexus, mid-tier may suit many consumers just fine.
Among the top-four brands, it was the only one to see shares dip year over year, though it shared this position with fellow Android supporter Sony Ericsson, which, with its 1.9 percent share fell, behind ZTE, Huawei and HTC.
The Spectrum's Gorilla Glass display features a 16:9 aspect ratio and 329 pixels per inch, which LG says makes for an exceptional viewing experience. Paired with "efficient display power consumption," LG suggests that doesn't necessarily translate to a zapped battery.
The Spectrum runs Android 2.3.5, known as Gingerbread, but it can be upgraded to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There's a feature-packed 8-megapixel camera on the back-think: auto focus, face detection, exposure control, geo tagging, white-balancing, a self timer and more-and on the front, a 1.3-megapixel camera for video chatting. Also on board is a SmartMovie HD app, for creating and editing HD video on the phone.
Verizon executives made it known at the 2012 CES that every device issued from now on will be able to run on the carrier's 4G LTE network-now in 195 markets, covering 200 million folks-and the Spectrum indeed fits the bill.
The Spectrum also ships with a Netflix app, an ESPN ScoreCenter app and Dolby Digital Plus, enabling users to stream 7.1 channels of surround sound to their home entertainment systems. It measures 135.4 by 68.8 by 10.4 millimeters-put in relatable terms, the iPhone 4S measures 115.2 by 58.6 by 9.3 millimeters.
Finally, but not only, the Spectrum will respond to voice commands, such as voice dialing; includes a 1500MHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor, microUSB, microSD and microSDHC slots, with support for an up to 32GB card; and has Mobile Hotspot capabilities, allowing up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices to hop online.
Over at Android and Me, the early verdict from a quick tryout is that the Spectrum "feels incredibly solid in the hands" but that LG's user interface for Android is a little annoying-though that's coming from an Android purist critical of most user interfaces.
On sales of 21 million units, LG held just 4.8 percent of the worldwide mobile device market during the third quarter of 2011-having slipped from 6.6 percent and 27.5 million units a year earlier-which, Gartner reported, was enough to put it in the No. 3 spot behind Nokia and Samsung, respectively, and ahead of the No. 4 player, Apple, with its 3.9 percent share.
A shortage of parts due to late-2011 flooding in Thailand and unprecedented competition in the smartphone space has been the lament of many an Android-supporting manufacturer, Sony Ericsson most recently.