LG lowers cost of LTE smartphones with Optimus F series

The Optimus F5 and Optimus F7 are both powered by dual-core processors and have big batteries

LG Electronics has launched the Optimus F5 and Optimus F7 smartphones, which will bring LTE to a "mass audience."

Global LTE smartphone shipments are expected to triple this year, allowing the technology to take off on a grander scale and driving down device prices, according to market research company Strategy Analytics.

LG agrees: "The adoption of LTE is expected to explode in 2013," and with the two new devices the company wants to show that 4G techology "isn't just for heavy content users and techies anymore. It's for everyone," according to a statement.

LG didn't say what the phones will cost, but the specifications provided by the vendor hint at a lower price tag. The Optimus F5 has a 4.3-inch screen, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a 2,150 mAh battery. The Optimus F7 has a bigger 4.7-inch HD screen, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and a 2,540 mAh battery. Both phones will use Android Jelly Bean.

The worldwide rollout of the Optimus F5 will start during the second quarter in Europe, followed by the Optimus F7 in selected markets. Details on timing and pricing will be announced at a later date, according to LG. The phones will be displayed at Mobile World Congress, which starts Monday.

The Optimus F family follows in the footsteps of the Galaxy Express, which was launched by Samsung Electronics in January. It is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and has a 4.5-inch screen.

LTE smartphone shipments will grow from 90.9 million units in 2012 to 275 million in 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.

By the end of 2013, there will be numerous midrange models available for under $200 wholesale, according to Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics. However, LTE won't start to spread to the low-priced devices until 2014 or 2015, he said.

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