Sprint Goes Green (Yet Again) With The Eco-Conscious LG Optimus Elite

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Well, Sprint certainly seems hell-bent on making this Earth Day one to remember. Not only have they decided to launch the LTE-friendly LG Viper and Galaxy Nexus on April 22, Sprint has announced that they have chosen that same day to release the new eco-friendly LG Optimus Elite.

Unlike the flashier handsets launching alongside it, the Optimus Elite is unlikely to turn too many heads. It’s a strictly entry-level device, though I imagine its $30 price tag (after a $50 mail-in rebate) should help it pick up a little steam among first time smartphowners.

And what exactly does $30 net you these days? Pretty much exactly what you’d expect — a 3.5-inch display, a single-core 800 MHz processor, and a 5-megapixel rear camera, all conveniently wrapped in a body made of 50% recycled plastic. Like its big brother the Viper, the Optimus Elite also runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, because you apparently can’t be environmentally conscious and up-to-date at the same time.

I’m having a very tough time seeing what’s so elite about this thing, but it isn’t completely without surprises. The Optimus Elite sports an NFC chip and support for Google Wallet, so we cheapskates can finally tap to pay for our Slurpees. Users who take the plunge will also be able to score 50GB of free storage from Box, though I’m guessing it’s the same sort of limited-time deal that Dropbox has in place with partners like Samsung and HTC.

Here’s a quick word of warning though: if you’ve somehow succumbed to the Optimus Elite’s charms, you had best steer clear of Sprint stores comes April 22. You see, Sprint intends to start selling the Optimus Elite on their website and over the phone on the 22nd — you’ll be able to saunter into a Sprint store and walk out with an Elite of your very own come May 18. In the meantime though, I’ll just ball up in a corner and wait for LG to release some of their fabled high-end hardware around these parts.