Sprint, T-Mobile launch LG Optimus Android phones

Mobile operators Sprint and T-Mobile are both launching versions of the LG Optimus smartphones, hoping to attract new smartphone customers by lowering one of the primary barriers to entry: pricing. Rather than including every possible bell and whistle in the device, the LG Optimus is designed to be an inexpensive starter smartphone for folks upgrading from less expensive feature phones…but still packing the power and flexibility of Android.

First up, T-Mobile’s version will be called the Optimus T: it features a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display, 3.2 megapixel camera with video capture capability, microSD expandable storage (ships with a 2 GB card with support for cards up to 32 GB), and runs Android 2.2 (“Froyo”). T-Mobile isn’t saying exactly when the Optimus T will be on sale or how much it will cost, but they do plan to have it available in black and burgundy for the “holiday season,” and industry watchers are betting on seeing the unit on sale by the end of October.

Meanwhile, Sprint’s take will be called the Optimus S, with pretty much exactly the same specs as T-Mobile’s offering. One key difference will be the Android apps Sprint bundles into the phone, including a new “Sprint ID” service that enables users to download a “predefined experience” all in one go, including apps, widgets, ringtones, wallpapers, and more all in one pack. Sprint envisions Sprint ID being brand-specific, so users will be able to tap into packs reflecting their interests and enthusiasms: sports, fitness, music, new movies, and more. Sprint IDs could also be used for practical purposes: say, to switch the phone between English and Spanish. The Optimus S will also support Mobile HotSpot capability enabling up to five Wi-Fi devices to use its 3G connection. Sprint’s LG Optimus S will go on sale October 31 for just $49.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year service agreement.

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