Last week Telus was showing off some new toys they’re launching in the fall, including the HTC Status coming to AT&T, alongside two LG Android handsets. The LG Optimus Black you may already know as a lightweight phone with an extremely bright display, but Telus is branding it specifically as their Skype phone, and will include some credit, a shortcut to install the app, and direct billing if you need any more credit. Sorry, no video calling just yet, but they’re working on it. Specs-wise, the Optimus Black is packing a 1 GHz OMAP 3630 processor, has a 5 megapixel camera on the back, 4-inch WVGA touchscreen, and the usual stuff like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 3G. The only downside is that it’s still running Android 2.2, but we’re expecting an update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread soon. For a deep dive, check out either of our hands-on videos.
Arguably the more interesting phone between the two is the LG Optimus Chat, which is a portrait slider aiming at the entry-level. This one we have yet to seen this side of the Atlantic, but it’s easy to imagine it as an Optimus One with a keyboard. It has a 2.8-inch 320 x 240 touchscreen, 3 megapixel camera on the back, and 600 MHz processor. It’s also powered by Android 2.2, which means you can share your phone’s 3G connection through a local Wi-Fi hotspot.
Since the Sony Ericsson Mini Pro never made its way to Canada for some reason, I think there’s been a big opportunity for entry-level, modern landscape sliders running Android, especially in smaller, pocketable form factors. The Optimus Chat looks like it can fill that niche relatively well, but I do worry that the Optimus Black’s Skype branding will lack any significant appeal without video calling out of the gate. Sure, hardly anybody makes video calls as is, but the more mundane reality of saving a few bucks on international voice calls doesn’t have as much appeal to it.
No word on pricing, but both the Telus LG Optimus Black and Optimus Chat are due to land before the end of the month. Until then, here’s a quick look of the devices.