Ally, first LG Android smartphone, hits Verizon online sales Thursday

Will be competitor to Microsoft's Kin Two phone

The new LG Ally, the first Android smartphone from LG Electronics, will go on pre-order online Thursday from Verizon Wireless for $100 after rebate and a two-year contract.

The slider device -- the subject of tie-ins to the Iron Man 2 superhero film -- has a a 3.2-in. touchscreen and a physical Qwerty keyboard that works simultaneously with the touchscreen. It goes on sale in Verizon stores May 20, the carrier said in a statement.

The Ally, the first Android smartphone from LG Electronics is available from Verizon Wireless for $100 after a rebate and a two-year contract.

The Ally looks similar to the slider Kin Two from Microsoft Corp. and Sharp Electronics, which also goes on sale in Verizon stores Thursday. While the Ally has full smartphone capabilities, including downloadable apps, the Kin One and Kin Two have been criticized for lacking such smartphone capabilities even though Verizon is charging a minimum $70 monthly service fee, including $30 for data, for the Kin devices, which is the same monthly fee for the Ally smartphone.

Verizon sells dozens of different smartphone and mobile phone models, and is like all the carriers in trying to diversify its offerings across form factors and operating systems. Verizon described the Ally as a fully capable smartphone with access to 38,000 downloadable apps from the Android Market. The devide , and with a microSD slot for up to 16GB of memory that can be used to store video shot with the Ally's 3.2 megapixel autofocus camera/camcorder with flash. The device is 4.56 in. long, 2.22 in. wide and .6 in. thick. and weighs 5.57 ounces.

Verizon also emphasized various camera capabilities, including: five camera and three video resolutions; a zoom up to 4 times; Macro Mode for close up pictures; Panorama for up to three guided sequential shots; Scene mode for various settings; and an image editor with zoom, rotate, resize, crop and other capabilities.

Other features include turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps, access to social networks, five customizable home screens and a one-touch speaker phone. Ally supports Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi and 3G cellular.

The Ally runs a 1Ghz Qualcomm snapdragon processor and the Android 2.1 mobil operating system. Apps related to the Iron Man 2 theme and other information about Ally are available at an LG-Iron Man 2 Web site . One of the featured apps, called Wikitude, is described as a "futuristic fusion of Wikipedia and augmented reality that overlays location information right in the viewfinder. "

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld . Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Knowledge Center.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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