Verizon’s LG Vortex was spotted in the wild earlier this week and the handset has made an encore appearance. As suspected, the Vortex is an entry-level handset from LG that reportedly runs Android 2.2 smoothly on its 600MHz processor. Though initial specs suggested that an FM radio was included , this LG handset does not have this little-used feature. Bad news for the Android purist eyeing the Vortex as a kick around secondary device. Similar to the Samsung Fascinate, the LG Vortex is loaded up Microsoft Bing search and Bing Maps.
Earlier this month, the Samsung Fascinate caused a stir when it launched with Microsoft Bing as the default search provider instead of Google. While Android users can download a Google search app, the integrated search for the Fascinate will always pull up search results from Microsoft’s search engine. Android fans erupted with disgust and dismay that Verizon had poisoned their Google Android OS with a product from Microsoft
This move away from Google was prompted by Microsoft’s multi-million dollar search deal with Verizon. The ink dried on the deal back in January 2009 and all of Verizon’s feature phones and its Windows Mobile smartphones now default to Microsoft Bing. Extending this reach to Google’s mobile OS is not surprising as Microsoft obviously wants a slice of the Android pie and Verizon is an easy entryway into this growing mobile platform. From what we have seen from Verizon in the past few months, it appears as if its non-DROID handsets from manufacturers like LG and Samsung will launch with Bing, while the DROID lineup will be the only one to keep its Google roots.
Android owners unhappy with this situation can vote with their wallet and select the Google-version of Verizon’s Android handsets. If you chose this route and take the high road, you may miss out on some sweet handsets. Despite its Bing integration, our first impressions of the Samsung Fascinate are quite favorable.