updated 12:30 pm EST, Sat December 11, 2010
LG Star gets detailed prototype preview
The LG Star received a more extensive hands-on today that suggested it could be one of the most advanced smartphones to date when it launches next year. It so far remains the first smartphone known to be using NVIDIA's dual-core Tegra 2 and, as promised earlier, is much faster in benchmarks than any other Android phone so far. A more real-world test from Engadget has also shown it to play embedded Flash video smoothly and handle both the GPU-accelerated Android interface and the native YouTube app's high quality mode properly.
Some of the hardware hasn't been tested, but the four-inch LCD is considered very high quality with colors and viewing angles that don't always show on smartphones. At 480x800, the screen isn't as high resolution as the 640x960 Retina Display on an iPhone 4, but the image quality shows the connection between the two devices, both of which have LCDs made by LG Display.
The eight-megapixel camera and 1080p playback, both of which may be highlights of using the Tegra 2, weren't given tests.
While ambitious, the device is unlikely to be shipped in the immediate future given its rough state. Although based on the same custom, production-ready Android 2.2 interface as the Optimus Mach (LU3000), the phone couldn't play non-streaming video and periodically bogged down without explanations. LG may also upgrade the phone to run Android 2.3 and could take extra time to polish the OS. The new OS could also help speed it up further still, as many of the background optimizations are tailored to gaming.
LG may use its keynote at CES in early January to unveil the Star, but most larger phone manufacturers save their releases for Mobile World Congress in February.
Other phones are expected to use the Tegra 2, including the Motorola Olympus, and could put pressure on both fellow Android phone makers as well as Apple. The latter's tendency to update the iPhone once a year in summer could leave it with a comparatively slow device until the iPhone 5, which is unofficially suspected to be getting a custom-designed chip using the same dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 foundation as the Tegra 2.