MetroPCS launches first Android phone, LG Optimus M

MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) launched its first smartphone running Google's Android platform, the LG Optimus M. This launch continues  LG's streak of getting mid-range Android phone deals with U.S. carriers.  In addition, it serves as another example of the growing number of Android phone launches among Tier 2 carriers. 

LG Optimus M MetropcsThe flat-rate carrier will launch the Optimus M Nov. 24 for $229 with a required $50 monthly service plan. The device runs Android 2.2., has a 3.2-inch screen, 3.2-megapixel camera, WiFi and Swype.

LG has been steadily gaining ground at U.S. carriers with its Optimus line of Android phones. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA have launched versions of the device. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) also just launched LG's Vortex smartphone, another mid-range handset. Further, last week Tier 2 operator U.S. Cellular launched the LG Apex.

The South Korean handset maker has not yet had a high-profile Android phone launch, but it is trying to carve out more market share. The company, while No. 3 in handsets by volume, is attempting to increase is tiny smartphone presence.

The MetroPCS launch also speaks to the increasing number of Android phones at smaller carriers. U.S. Cellular now has four Android phones in its lineup and Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) launched its first Android phone, the Kyocera Zio, earlier this fall.   

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