Virgin Mobile to Launch LG Optimus Elite with Google Wallet This Week

LG Optimus EliteFollowing up on a previous report, Virgin Mobile has confirmed that it will release the successor to its hugely popular LG Optimus V smartphone in the LG Optimus Elite, which features incremental updates compared to more extensive changes. Chief among the new additions in the Elite is the addition of a built-in NFC chip for use with Google’s less popular than expected Wallet mobile wallet service and may also be tapped for future functionality going forward.

The phone’s other updates also reflect the incremental nature of the Elite, with a slightly larger 3.5 inch HVGA display compared to the 3.2 inch display on the Optimus V, 800MHz processor up from the 600MHz unit in the same and an updated 5.0 megapixel camera with LED flash compared to the below-average 3.2 megapixel camera as found in the V. The phone will be launched on Tuesday May 15th for $149.99, or merely $20 more than the V with the additional cost factoring in the slightly upgraded hardware and the addition of Android Gingerbread.

This starts a worrying trend for Virgin Mobile, as it has refused to update its Optimus V to Android Gingerbread despite LG having prepared the update for the operator and Virgin Mobile merely having to deliver it to owners, although the previous negative experiences the carrier has suffered regarding software updates may have played a part in changing its tune on offering software updates for its Android phones. As evidenced with the update issues encountered with the Samsung Intercept, it suffered delay after delay before Virgin Mobile was able to push out the update in a timely manner to agitated owners expecting the update.

Virgin Mobile also has yet to deliver any sort of update for the Motorola Triumph, which was the operator’s halo device for its massively popular Beyond Talk service plans before being maligned for being as expensive as it was with below average performance and sits on top of Virgin Mobile’s current lineup despite only featuring Android 2.2, with the HTC EVO V supplanting it at the end of the month.

[Virgin Mobile]

Humberto Saabedra is the Editor-in-Chief of and an occasional columnist for He can also be found musing on things at @AnimeNewsdotbiz