Update:Â Electronic Times has retracted the story, citing errors in translation. Represenatives from LG declined to comment when we asked if this was due to the Voyager name remaining exclusive to Verizon, or the underlying hardware remaining exclusive.Â
The retraction however removed reference to Sprint… and simply states that LG plans to bring touch phones to AT&T later this year (which can be pointed to in the form of the LG Vu). There is no explanation for how the article could have incorrectly translated or extrapolated Sprint from the original interview.
LG has in the past claimed exclusivity with the same device (the Rumor on Sprint and Scoop on Alltel are identical, for example). However, representatives for LG did confirm that the retraction was appropriate.
The English-language version of the South Korean Electronic Times online newspaper has quoted an anonymous spokesperson for LG who stated that the success of the currently Verizon exclusive LG Voyager has led the manufacturer to expand availability of the touchscreen clamshell multimedia device on both Sprint and AT&T’s networks by the end of the year.
The spokesperson also claimed sales of 1.1 million units for the device on Verizon in five months since its introduction in November of last year, which lends credence to the competition between it and the iPhone, which sold one million units in four months after its June 2007 release.
Since the Voyager’s exclusivity agreement expires this November, this fits into LG’s plans of Voyager device launches on the aforementioned carriers, even though the common assumption is that Verizon’s line of currently exclusive LG devices are the sole domain of Verizon and that no one else is allowed to carry the devices.
Most carriers usually show no interest in picking up formerly Verizon exclusive devices once the exclusivity periods end, usually due to the relative age of the handset on the market, and carrier testing would further increase the length of time from exclusive Verizon availability to general availability, further decreasing the value for carriers to invest in the devices.
What is not known is how this will affect sales of another touchscreen display device in LG’s Vu slated for release next month on AT&T in two versions, one with MediaFLO mobile TV functionality, and one without for those not wanting the functionality, or for areas without MediaFLO service. The spokesperson ended commentary by stating that sales of the Vu will determine LG’s competitive position against the iPhone.