LG first with Tegra 2 Android phone

Doesn’t seem destined for the US

NVIDIAS FIRST DESIGN win as far as smartphones are concerned was announced today by LG in the shape of the Optimus 2X, an Android handset with a pretty rich feature set outside of the Tegra 2 processor. The Optimus 2X is equipped with a 1GHz dual core Tegra 2 processor, a 4-inch screen and some other goodies that should make this a really attractive Android handset in terms of features.

Although LG has announced the Optimus 2X today, it won’t be available for another month in Korea and only Europe and Asia are set to get this version of the handset. This is likely to cause a bit of a stir in some markets, but as always with these things, there tend to be localised versions for the different markets, so if you’re dying to get your hands on a dual core Android handset and don’t happen to live in the regions mentioned in the press release, then you might just have to wait a wee bit longer until LG announces its siblings.

In a way, it’s not surprising that it has taken this long for the first Tegra 2 smartphone to appear, at least not if you know anything about how slowly the mobile device industry works. It’s not just a matter of constructing the device, but mobile handsets have to go through rigorous testing by not only the manufacturers, but also various government organisations in pretty much every country where the handset will go on sale or even be used because each country wants to make sure that it meets their requirements and standards.

That LG became Nvidia’s first handset partner is something of a surprise though, as although the company has come up with some rather intriguing handsets over the years, it’s not a major player in the mobile handset industry. Then again, it isn’t straightforward for Nvidia to find a partner to work with, as the Tegra 2 SoC lacks a lot of the functionality that most of its competitors offer, most of it related to actual phone functions which means it requires additional third party chips.

The Optimus 2X looks like a very stylish handset and although it only has a standard 800×480 resolution display, it can play back and record 1080p video, a significant improvement over the first generation Tegra. This can be fed through its top mounted micro HDMI port and it can also do screen mirroring through the HDMI port. It also sports 8GB of flash memory which can be expanded via a micro SD card slot, an 8 Megapixel camera, a front facing 1.3 Megapixel camera, a 1,500mAh battery, a micro USB port, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. The details are scant as far as the rest of the specifications are concerned but the press release mentions some form of Wi-Fi and DLNA streaming over it and we’d presume it also features Bluetooth of some form.

Sadly LG will only ship the Optimus 2X with Android 2.2, although the press release promises an upgrade to Android 2.3 at an undisclosed point in the future. LG also appears to be kitting out the Optimus 2X with a custom UI on top of Android, but it doesn’t look as aggressive as say what Samsung is doing to its Android handsets. Engadget scored a preview of a pre-production unit a few days ago and you can find that here. They ran a few benchmarks and judging by the numbers, there’s no doubt that having to ARM Cortex A9 cores at its disposal, this is a fast handset and if this is a taste of things to come in 2011, we have some very powerful smartphones to look forward to.S|A

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