LG Spectrum with 4G LTE and ‘True HD’ unveiled for Verizon – Will LG cripple it with Bing?


LG’s pre-CES press conference was light on mobile announcements today, but the manufacturer did announce one new device: the LG Spectrum for Verizon. The Spectrum has mostly predictable, though respectable specs–a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, Android 2.3 (with a promised Android 4.0 upgrade at some point), 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera, 1080p video recording—but the real selling factor is the 4G LTE connection and “True HD IPS” display, which delivers a 720p screen resolution of 1280×720.

The phone will be up against a growing slate of dual-core 4G LTE Verizon phones, including the Galaxy Nexus, which already has Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), and the Motorola Droid Razr, which has been a top seller over the holidays. While these two devices are currently priced at $300, a good $100 more than the announced price of the Spectrum, which will hit Verizon on Jan. 19 for $200 (with a two-year contract).

While the specs of the Spectrum sound good, the praise LG showered on Verizon during the press conference is some cause for concern. At one point, it referred to Verizon as a key “software partner,” which makes us wonder if we’ll have another situation like the LG Revolution. LG was one of the first manufacturers to support Verizon’s 4G LTE network with the LG Revolution, but it provided one of the worst Android experiences. Though Android is a Google operating system and people buy it for Google services like Gmail and Google Maps, due to a Verizon partnership with Bing, LG stripped these services out of the Revolution, replacing them with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and apps. While advanced users could download some of Google’s apps from the Android Market, the Bing search was not removable.

Let’s hope that the Spectrum has a lower price because of steep competition from the Galaxy Nexus and not because Verizon and LG have decided to cripple more of their own devices. Assuming this is not the case, the Spectrum could be a great new option for Verizon subscribers. The Spectrum will also have an exclusive ESPN 3D app.

Nothing more until MWC

T-Mobile G-Slate Front AngleAside from the Spectrum, LG held back all of its major smartphone and tablet announcements until the Mobile World Congress (MWC) show, which begins in Barcelona at the end of February. We don’t yet know if any other manufacturers will follow suit, but with CES becoming more and more crowded, it makes sense that manufacturers may hold back their biggest offerings until later in the year for shows like MWC and CTIA, which takes place at the end of May. The hottest season for phones is definitely not January and February.

The only other information we learned today was that LG believes it has 23 percent of the entire industry’s patents related to 4G LTE, worth an estimated $7.9 billion.

While LG did tease new smartphones, it did not mention tablets at all, making us wonder if it sees a future in the category. Last year, LG released its Optimus tablet on T-Mobile in the summer of 2011, but did not follow up with any other tablet launches through the end of the year. Hopefully we’ll find out more next month at MWC.