Nearly a year after its first handset was introduced, Google’s (s goog) Android platform is picking up steam. Last week we saw Motorola (s mot) adopt it for the Cliq and today I see that LG has outed its own Android handset. The GW620 looks to have a generously sized, slideout QWERTY keypad to complement the 3″ touchscreen. Five rows of keys should please all but the most discriminating of fingers, although I always wonder if the sliding screen interferes with that top row.
LG says that European markets will see the GW620 in the fourth quarter of this year, so my gut says this is a GSM-based device with HSPA support. The LG press release is pretty light on specs, so I’m “spec”-ulating on the radio. ;) Unlike Motorola (s moto), LG appears committed to Windows Mobile as well. The company plans for at least 13 handsets in the next 16 months that utilize Microsoft’s (s msft) mobile operating system. This parallels what we’ve seen from HTC, which also builds handsets on Android and Windows Mobile.
I’m trying to figure out if Android is headed — over the long term — down a similar path to Windows Mobile. Many of the Android phones are very similar to each other and it’s becoming more difficult to determine key differences among them. The main differentiators so far appear to the custom UI functions like HTC’s Sense and Motorola’s MotoBlur — captured in an appropriately blurry video. Aside from that, the new Android handsets appear to be a slight variation on a theme for now. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad just yet, but something worth watching.