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LG turns to Google Android for new phones

More than half of its handsets will use Google OS

In the absence of a new version of Windows Mobile, LG said it plans to use Google Android on more than half its smartphones, despite a recent pledge to use primarily Microsoft's mobile operating system.

On Wednesday, LG said that at least 10 of the 20 smartphones it plans to introduce this year will be based on Android. The rest will run Windows Mobile and Linux. In a statement, LG said its hopes are particularly high for Android phones.

LG said just under a year ago that it would make Windows Mobile its primary - although not exclusive - phone software platform over the next four years. It also said it planned to launch 50 Windows Mobile phones during that period, including 25 in 2012.

But Microsoft has been slow to make Windows Mobile more competitive in a new smartphone landscape first defined by the iPhone. Since LG announced its agreement with Microsoft, Android has gained momentum while Windows Mobile has stagnated and lost market share. Microsoft is expected to release Windows Mobile 7 sometime this year.

In the meantime, about 20 Android phones have been released from various hardware makers. The introduction of the Nexus One, made by HTC and sold exclusively by Google online, does not appear to have discouraged LG. Some onlookers wondered if Google’s decision to sell phones itself might dissuade manufacturers from choosing Android.

Microsoft has been working with LG to "lay the foundation for an increase in scale," it said in a statement. "We're very pleased with the long term trajectory of our relationship with LG and look forward to bringing a number of new phones to market in 2010."

According to research from IDC, LG is the third-largest mobile-phone maker by volume, but it does not yet rank among the top five smartphone makers. It has lofty aspirations. On Wednesday LG said it hopes to achieve a double-digit share of the smartphone market in 2012. Currently, fifth-place Samsung has 1.3 percent market share, IDC said.

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