LG to Offer Android-Powered Handset in Q4

Mobile giant LG will launch the Google Android-powered LG-GW620 in Europe in the fourth-quarter 2009.

Handset maker LG has announced plans to offer a Google Android-powered mobile phone-the touch-screen LG-GW620, which boasts a 3-inch full touch-screen and a slide-out QWERTY keypad. The company positioned the announcement as an indication of its two-tier strategy of offering mobile customers a choice between open-source platforms and proprietary platforms such as Windows Mobile.

LG said the handset will be available in the fourth quarter of this year in select European markets.

In addition to the Android model, LG announced in early September that it will be introducing a minimum of 13 new smartphones over the next 16 months that utilize Microsoft's Windows Mobile. The newest release, Version 6.5, was announced just last week, and three more will be introduced in the next few weeks.

"The LG-GW620 will appeal to first-time smartphone customers by offering a new and different kind of user experience," said LG Electronics Mobile Communications President and CEO Dr. Skott Ahn. "Our objective is to provide a wide selection of smartphones to satisfy the diverse preferences of today's consumers. This Android phone is just one of many smartphone models we plan to introduce worldwide in the years ahead."

LG's announcement comes a mere week after smartphone maker HTC announced another mobile phone that will be powered by Google's Android operating system-the Tattoo, a compact device that allows user customization. That handset will also only be available to European customers. The handset integrates Google's mobile services, including Google Maps, search, Google Mail and Android Market, where users can download thousands of applications and games. It also comes with a variety of hardware features, including a 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera, a 3.5mm stereo headset jack and expandable microSD memory.

HTC is reportedly working to release an update to the company's Touch HD smartphone, currently running on the Windows Mobile operating system, which instead will be powered by Google's fledgling Android OS. Earlier this month, technology blog Register Hardware quoted sources from the company saying it is making the switch for the handset, for which a release date hasn't yet been set.

The source also said the updated handset will use a faster 628MHz Qualcomm chip and feature a 3.8-inch touch-screen. HTC's decision may not come as great surprise to some, as the company has launched previous handsets with Android, including T-Mobile's G1 (the first phone to the market that used the Android mobile device platform), the Vodafone Magic (unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February) and Hero (the first Android device to support Adobe Flash).