It seems like some time in the last 5 months or so, all of the major Android handset makers had the same idea: they, too, needed a BlackBerry-esque QWERTY candybar handset. It’s as if RIM’s self-fueled fiery demise made them realize that BlackBerry owners might be abandoning ship soon, so they adopted a form factor that would make the transition to Android that much smoother.
While Motorola had the Droid Pro way back in Q3 of last year, Samsung joined the keyboarded-slab party just back in March with the Galaxy Pro. HTC announced their first Android QWERTY candybar, the lawsuit triggering ChaCha, back in February and will launch it in the US (as the AT&T Status) this weekend.
The latest OEM to board the ol’ Android-QWERTY-Candybar Express: LG. This morning, they’re debuting two brand new pieces of hardware, both running Android v2.3 (Gingerbread).
First up — the Optimus Pro (getting dangerously close to “Optimus Prime” there, aren’t we LG?):
As the aforementioned QWERTY Candybar, the Optimus Pro is essentially LG’s stab at cracking out something the BlackBerry expatriates might prefer. Despite what the “Pro” name might imply, we’re not exactly talking top of the line here: the screen comes in at just 2.8 inches (mostly due to the keyboard taking up nearly half of the face), and the processor clocks in at a relatively sluggish 800mhz. The Pro will ship in white, black, and something LG calls “titan” (alas, I have absolutely no idea what the hell color “titan” might be. Dusty yellow?)
Next up — the LG Optimus Net:
Oddly, LG’s main selling point with this one seems to be that it has “social networking portals” built in to a widget right on the homescreen. I say “Oddly”, of course, because this is something that pretty much every Android phone made in the last year or two has done in one way or another. At 3.2 inches, the screen on the Optimus Net comes in quite a bit bigger than that of the Pro — unfortunately, it’s spec’d at just 320×480. Like the Pro, the Net is clocked at 800mhz. Some of the Optimus Net models will be NFC-enabled, though it’ll vary region-by-region. It’ll ship in white and black. (What, no “titan”? Dang. I love titan.)
All in all, we’re looking at two markedly mid-range handsets, with their sole saving grace being that they’re running Android 2.3. Look for them to ship all over the world (starting in Europe first) this summer. No pricing info was disclosed for either.