By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Joining Telstra in the cheap smartphone race today is LG. The Korean supplier has announced the Optimus Me (LG P350, RRP $229), a candybar Android model aimed squarely at the entry level.

Almost an impulse purchase, this smartphone is unlocked and will be sold through the mass channel, with Woolworths (and its tech retail brand Dick Smith) already signed on to sell the handset. Also on board is specialist mobile phone purveyor Allphones.

The Optimus Me runs off Android 2.2 (Froyo) and has a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen (QVGA). There’s a 3-megapixel camera, 2GB of built-in memory (expandable up to 32MB via MicroSD) and a stereo FM radio.

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As is the case with these budget smartphones, it’s what you don’t get that makes the difference. In addition to a now outdated version of Android (Gingerbread is the current release, with the magnificently named Ice Cream Sandwich due in mid-2011), no mention is made of video recording (let alone HD), GPS, Wi-Fi, HDMI or DLNA.

The new LG Optimus Me is RRP $229.

Here’s a surprisingly short quote for a mobile phone press release:

“By making everything simple and easy to use, the Optimus Me is the perfect entry level device for these consumers, while also offering the latest Google Mobile Service features to keep the more tech-inclined users happy,” said LG general manager of mobile communications Nathan Dunn.

The Optimus Me will be released in early April 2011.