Verizon to Sell First LG Android Handset, the Ally, May 20
LG Electronics has joined the ranks of Android supporters with the May 12
introduction of the Ally smartphone, which will arrive on the Verizon Wireless
network May 20.
While LG is the No. 3 market share holder in the worldwide handset market, it has competed with mostly feature and messaging-based phones. In the first quarter of 2010, it claimed 8.9 percent of the handset market, ABI Research reported May 5, despite "a weak smartphone portfolio in the North America market."
With the introduction of the Ally, and its embrace of Google's popular Android operating system-which in the first quarter of 2010 passed the iPhone OS in market share-LG has begun to be address its weak point.
The Ally features a 3.2-inch touch screen with "touch vibration" for tactile feedback. There's a slideout QWERTY keypad, 802.11b/g/n connectivity, Bluetooth 2.1, and S-GPS for with location awareness and turn-by-turn directions. It's unclear which version of Android the Ally will run.
There are five homescreens that users can customize with shortcuts to widgets, e-mail, apps, social networking sites and the like, plus niceties like a light sensor that adjusts to conditions and a proximity sensor that locks the touch screen while a user is on the phone, so one's cheek doesn't dash off an e-mail.
Users have quick access to Google's Android Market, which is now 38,000-plus applications strong, and also included are a built-in MP3 and WMA music player, a microSD card slot for up to 16GB of memory, video recording time of up to 16GB and quite a bit more. The 3.2-megapixel camera, for example, offers features such as an image editor and four-times zoom, and the video recorder offers three resolutions and a choice of recording with or without sound.
Verizon has enjoyed a strong response to the Motorola Droid, and on April 29 it began offering the HTC Droid Incredible, which analysts and reviewers have found to live up to its name. While the Ally will arrive in the shadow of these two well-received Android-running players, Verizon has priced it at $99, with a service contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. At half the selling price of the $199 Motorola and HTC smartphones, this may enable the Ally to command its own portion of the playing field.
A win with the Ally could also help usher LG toward continued success with the remainder of its 2010 lineup. In January, the company announced it will release smartphones for first-time buyers in the first half of the year, followed by "cutting edge" designs in the second half.
Its new smartphone rollout is part of its stated plan to become one of the global top two handset makers by 2012-which would mean displacing No. 1 Nokia or, more likely, No. 2 Samsung.
Beginning May 13, Verizon Wireless customers can preorder the LG Ally at verizonwireless.com.