New entries in the L series (inventively named the L II), new 4G capable Optimus F5 and more make up LG's rather budget-centric 2013 Australian range. The news isn't so good if you were hanging out for the large screen Optimus Pro, however.
It would be a reasonable guess to say that LG is targeting the budget market with a whole host of phones announcing Australian availability and pricing today. First of all, there's the L series phones, which are now the L II series. First off the rank there is the L3 II, which features a 3.2 inch display and 1,540mAh battery and will set you back $99 from Telstra today.
The L5 II, with a 4 inch display and 1700mAh battery will be $179 through Boost in July. Optus has the slightly more upmarket L7 II for $229 this month, but only in a single SIM model; a dual-SIM L7 II will go on general sale in July. Like many dual-SIM models, it's 2G/3G rather than dual 3G, but LG representatives told me it should be capable of on-the-fly switching to and from 3G no matter which SIM slot is used, which would make the distinction rather moot.
But wait -- LG isn't done yet. It has also announced the Optimus F5, an Android 4.1.2 phone with Dual Core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 and 4.3-inch qHD IPS display. It's $299 outright, or with Virgin and Optus this month on a $35/month contract from Optus, or $29/month contract from Virgin. This is arguably a strategy that could pay off well for LG; having a whole host of available models has certainly allowed Samsung to scoop up large portions of Android market share, and LG is quite aggressive about its market position. It reckons it has taken a significant chunk of the pre-paid space since launching the L series late last year, and that having presence there as well as in the premium space with the Optimus G gives it good market presence.
I've had a brief bit of hands-on time with the new L series and F5 phones and, at least at first glance they're fair for the money, without being massively premium offerings. The L3's tiny screen makes it pocketable, but it is grainy. As you move up the price tiers things get noticeably better.
One LG phone you won't find in Australia -- officially at least -- is the larger screened LG Optimus G Pro. LG representatives told Lifehacker that there were no plans at all to bring the G Pro to Australian shores. LG's decision around this was apparently based on their estimation of its commercial success, stating that the larger screened/phablet market was a "niche", and whether or not they could get operators to offer it. Given that it won't be officially launched here, it's not too hard to guess how those discussions went.