After almost two months of anticipation and advertising blitzes following the surprise confirmation in late January, the saga of the LG Optimus 2X on Straight Talk and Net 10 has come to an end with no release on either service provider, as Tracfone has pulled all online advertising and references for the model and has pulled the dedicated reservation page for the phone, replacing it with the sales page for the LG Optimus Q.
Calls to several local Wal-Mart stores have also confirmed that the phone is no longer listed in the chain’s inventory system for sale and any inventory that was received was returned to the distributor as recently as two weeks ago after the planned February 20th launch date passed with no official launch.
The http://www.reserve.straighttalkandroid.com/ domain now redirects to the generic Straight Talk Android page featuring the Sprint-powered LG Optimus Q and all traces of the LG Optimus 2X have been scrubbed from Straight Talk’s online presence save for a couple of announcements and images on its Facebook page. As it stands currently, Straight Talk’s online advertising campaigns are currently focused on free shipping for all Android smartphones as well as the recently launched BYOD SIM program.
The LG Optimus 2X was intended to be the first high-end Android smartphone on Straight Talk and the first high-end smartphone powered by the T-Mobile network with access to the carrier’s HSPA+ network, as the previous T-Mobile phones offered on Straight Talk and Tracfone as a whole were basic phones with rudimentary data access. The phone was quietly announced by Straight Talk on its Facebook page after the the reserve.straighttalkandroid.com domain was repopulated with the first references to the phone in January, which initially erroneously referred to the phone as having support for LTE.
For awhile it seemed that the phone would be released between January and February until a sudden turn of events meant that the phone may have met its end not long after it was announced, following the sudden launch of the Bring Your Own Device program on the virtual operator last month, whereby Tracfone is offering full-size and microSIMs through Net10 and StraightTalk online.
With the launch of the program last month, Tracfone may have considered that offering the Optimus 2X and the BYOD SIM program at the same time would have been seen as redundant, especially as the BYOD program was developed in response to the practice of buying the now discontinued Nokia E71, activating it, then taking the SIM card and using it in another phone since the SIM wasn’t bound to the device as is common with other Tracfone phones and sprung up a cottage community of SIM hacking and modding whereby activated SIMs were also used on all versions of the iPhone with few issues, as the Nokia E71 and 6790/Surge SIMs are already programmed for use on AT&T.
Another issue with the LG Optimus 2X was pricing. As Straight Talk never officially revealed the MSRP on the phone, it was expected that the phone would have been the most expensive in the lineup, with pricing estimated to be between $249-$299.99, similar to T-Mobile’s pricing on the phone post-agreement. As the Samsung Precedent is priced at $149.99 and the LG Optimus Q $179.99, the LG Optimus 2X would have been positioned as the high-end Android option with the specifications to match.
As specified by Straight Talk, the phone was to feature a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 at 1GHz, an 800×480 resolution touch display, front-facing 1.3 megapixel VGA camera and 8.0 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture along with a Wi-Fi N radio, Bluetooth, microSDHC slot with pre-installed 4GB card, 3.5mm jack and mini HDMI out.
Now that Tracfone has quietly cancelled the LG Optimus 2X in favor of its BYOD SIM program, this may mark Tracfone’s shift away from subsidizing expensive high-end devices to draw a minority of customers in favor of low-end and mid-range models for direct purchase and activation, while now offering the BYOD SIM program for those that want to pay full-price for their own unlocked devices or bring devices from AT&T and T-Mobile without much trouble.
While it would have been nice to see the Optimus 2X on the prepaid service, Tracfone may have decided that the same audience that would have purchased the Optimus 2X would be better served buying a SIM and buying the phone from T-Mobile or unlocked, since cursory checks on ebay show that the T-Mobile branded version of the phone can be purchsaed for $299.99 while the unlocked, unbranded version goes for $349.99.