updated 11:25 am EDT, Fri September 30, 2011
Virgin gets Optimus Slider and Wildfire S
Virgin Mobile's US branch committed itself to Android further with two new additions that each bring a first to the prepaid carrier. The LG Optimus Slider is considered a sequel to the almost unusually popular Optimus V and brings in its self-described QWERTY keyboard for frequent messaging. LG hasn't said what processor is inside, but it will come with Android 2.3, a 3.2-inch (likely 320x480) touchscreen, and a 3.2-megapixel camera.
The Optimus Slider relies on microSDHC cards for most of its storage and has a light customization with Virgin Mobile's Live 2.0 app to mix social networking and a Virgin-run Internet radio stream. It will cost $200 contract-free when it ships October 17 through the online store, October 31 to Best Buy and Radio Shack, November 6 at Target, and November 13 in Sprint's stores.
Virgin's other addition, the HTC Wildfire S, is HTC's first smartphone on the network and parallels its place on Virgin's Canadian sister network. While this version uses CDMA and EVDO-based 3G, it's otherwise similar to the very small, touch-only design. A 3.2-inch, 320x480 screen is accompanied by a 600MHz processor, a five-megapixel camera with a flash, and Android 2.3 with HTC's Sense and the Virgin Mobile Live 2.0 app.
The Wildfire S will ship October 23 for $200 off-contract and will come either in white, at Radio Shack, or a US-exclusive silver at Best Buy.
Along with the new phones, Virgin quietly mentioned that its data throttling plans have been postponed to at least 2012. The network had originally planned to slow down the connections of anyone who went past a 2.5GB limit starting in October. No reason was given for the change of heart, although Sprint's ongoing losses, the presumed imminent Sprint iPhone 5's possible poaching of Virgin customers, and stiff competition may have led Virgin to promise true unlimited data for longer.