Telstra launches “Optimus” Android phone from LG

update The nation’s largest telco Telstra has intensified its focus on the Android mobile phone platform revealing plans to launch LG’s Optimus handset into the local market on Tuesday 1 July – and before any other carrier gets their hands on it.

“With Google Android-powered smartphones growing in popularity the LG GT540 Optimus provides customers with an ultra-affordable way to get in on the action” said Telstra executive director of Mobility Products Ross Fielding in a statement issued by the big T this afternoon.

The Optimus offers significantly reduced specifications compared with Telstra’s flagship Android offering the HTC Desire. It has a 3″ touch screen at a resolution of 320×480 pixels a 3 megapixel camera with face detection and geo-tagging functionality the ability to record MPEG4 video at 15fps and an FM radio.

The handset runs the legacy 1.6 version of the Android platform although it is upgradable to 2.1 and it comes bundled with a 2GB microSD memory card – although it can support up to 32GB of microSD storage. The Optimus supports speeds of 7.2Mbps on Telstra’s Next G network (although actual speeds will be less in real-world conditions) and it also boasts GPS Wi-FI and Bluetooth connections.

One important caveat of the Optimus is that it only has a pressure-sensitive (resistive) touchscreen rather than the electrical field-sensing (capacitive) screens found in most phones nowadays such as the iPhone. Resistive screens sometimes miss taps of your finger and require a firmer pressure to register each screen tap. That being said some reviewers have said that the GT540’s resistive screen is better than average.

The phone will be available for nothing upfront on Telstra’s $49 cap plan on a 24 month contract or purchased outright for a recommended retail price of $504.