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LG’s Optimus Vu phablet coming to the US, likely Verizon

LG Optimus Vu at MWC

The era of massive phones is just beginning. Following the success of the Galaxy Note in the US, LG is planning to launch the Optimus Vu here in North America — it’s entry into the 5-inch smartphone market. In a translated press release, LG claims that Vu sales have surpassed 500,000 in Korea and that the phone will come to the United States in the third quarter (or next couple months) of 2012. The phone will also have 4G LTE connectivity and run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

No exact release date or carrier partners are yet known, but leaked images in recent weeks point toward a Verizon launch. It’s possible that the Vu will come to more than just Verizon, but probably not at first. US wireless carriers  tend to prefer exclusive contracts on phones for at least a few months. It’s likely that the Vu may be renamed, perhaps as a Verizon ‘Droid,’ and feature Verizon coloring and other branding highlights.

The Optimus Vu, like the Galaxy Note, has been dubbed a ‘phablet,’ or phone + tablet, by the press because the device has a 5-inch screen that is somewhere between the average size of a smartphone and the smaller 7-inch tablets on the market today, like the Nexus 7. The Vu is unique, however, because it has a 3:4 aspect ratio instead of the the 16:9 widescreen ratio that is on most phones. This makes the screen shorter and fatter to hold in your hand.

More so than the Galaxy Note, in our hands-on time with the Optimus Vu, we found it to be too wide to hold comfortably. It also comes with a stylus, but the phone itself doesn’t have a slot to store it, so you’ll have to be careful not to lose it. That said, it does have processing power and storage that are on par with top-of-the-line phones.

We’ll have a full review of the Optimus Vu soon.