Smartphone makers LG Electronics and Motorola are preparing to challenge Apple's iPhone with innovative Android handsets featuring capabilities that exceed anything available in the mobile market today. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, LG showed off the company's forthcoming Optimus 2X smartphone, which breaks new ground as the world's first handset to sport a dual-core processor.
Announced last month, the new handset harnesses the power of Nvidia's advanced Tegra 2 chip to deliver faster, smoother web browsing and game play. "Consumers today want to connect and enjoy a constantly updated range of content and applications," said LG Electronics President Skott Ahn. "We understand this, and that's why 2011's going to be a big year for LG."
Running at a clock speed of one gigahertz, the Tegra 2 chip is designed to deliver high-performance video and audio playback without guzzling huge amounts of battery power. Moreover, the dual-core processor will give users seamless multitasking between applications, LG said.
"Dual-core technology is the next leap forward in mobile technology," said LG Electronics Mobile Communications CEO Jong-seok Park last month. "So this is no small achievement to be the first to offer a smartphone utilizing this."
In addition to offering 1080p HD video playback and recording, LG's Optimus 2X incorporates high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) technology that mirrors the handset's multimedia content on external displays up to full HD quality. "With unique features such as HDMI mirroring and exceptional graphics performance, the LG Optimus 2X is proof of LG's commitment to high-end smartphones in 2011," Park said.
Though the Optimus 2X being released in Korea this month runs Android 2.2, LG said the new handset will be upgradable to Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread. LG expects the smartphone to become available in Europe and Asia in the near future, but has yet to say when it will hit the North American market.
Stealing LG's Thunder
The good news for U.S. smartphone users is that the same trendy processor technology offered on the Optimus 2X will soon be available in the United States. AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega and Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha revealed Tuesday that the first 4G smartphone to run on AT&T's network will be Motorola's Atrix 4G.
Motorola's exclusive deal with AT&T fulfills one of the key requirements analysts said the handset maker had to achieve. "What is needed [at Motorola] is more marketing and a few deals with key carriers to make a difference," said Gartner Vice President Carolina Milanesi in an e-mail.
Like the Optimus 2X, Motorola's 4G handset will feature Nvidia's Tegra 2 processor as well as an HD media dock for displaying multimedia content on HDMI-compatible screens. AT&T subscribers equipped with the new 4G smartphone also will be able to use a super-thin laptop dock for which the Atrix 4G will serve as the "engine."
When running in what AT&T and Motorola call "webtop" mode, the laptop dock will enable users to experience connected computing no matter where they are, AT&T said. For example, the Atrix 4G will ship with Adobe Flash Player, together with the full version of Firefox 3.6 as well as the standard WebKit browser. Users also will be able to download and view TV shows live from AT&T's U-verse mobile TV service.