LG unveils its first Android smartphone

The LG-GW620 will arrive in some parts of Europe in the fourth quarter

LG Electronics has joined the ranks of mobile phone makers putting Google's Android mobile operating system into smartphones, unveiling the LG-GW620 on Monday.

The launch follows the debut of Motorola's first Android-based smartphone, Cliq, which was announced last week. LG's South Korean rival Samsung Electronics has already launched an Android smartphone, as has High Tech Computer (HTC) of Taiwan. The new mobile phone OS is aimed at making Internet services such as social networking sites, e-mail, online maps and particularly Google services more easily accessible on smartphones.

The LG-GW620 sports a 3-inch touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY keypad. Few other details about the smartphone were immediately available.

The device will hit some markets in Europe in the fourth quarter of this year, LG said in a statement.

The new smartphone is LG's first with the Android OS installed. The company said the new OS gives it the flexibility to offer more choices to users. LG has traditionally used Microsoft Windows Mobile in smartphones.

LG "will be introducing a minimum of 13 new smartphones over the next 16 months that utilize Microsoft's Windows Mobile," the company said in the release.

The latest version of Windows Mobile, 6.5, will be widely available in new smartphones launching Oct. 6, Microsoft said early this month. The new version of the OS takes over from Windows Mobile 6.1.

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