LG points to more Windows Mobile smartphones

During a visit from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Korea-based LG gave more than a hint that it plans to expand its projects with Microsoft, despite belonging to Google's Open Handset Alliance and the Nokia-backed Symbian Foundation.

LG Electronics has made an official vow to keep working with Microsoft on mobile technology, in the face of growing competition to the Windows Mobile operating system from Google's Android, Apple's iPhone, Symbian, and RIM's BlackBerry platform.

"The agreement ensures continued strategic collaboration in R&D, marketing, applications, and services in the field of converged mobile devices," LG said in a statement issued during a trip by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to South Korea. "Both companies will continue to define and align their mobile strategies through [an] annual top management meeting."

Also during Ballmer's visit, Samsung rolled out a Korean version of its Omnia touch screen handset which is based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system.

Teaming up with Microsoft is not exactly entirely new for either of these two manufacturers. LG's KS20 phone for the European market runs Windows Mobile, and a US edition made an initial appearance on the FCC Web site late last year. LG also produced a Windows Mobile-based version of a Chocolate phone for the Korean market.

Meanwhile, in unconfirmed reports, some bloggers are speculating that LG and Microsoft could be cooking up a Windows Mobile-based "iPhone killer."

LG and Samsung are both members of the Google-spearheaded Open Handset Alliance (OHA), an industry group supporting development around the Android platform, in addition to the Symbian Foundation. Although less well known to many people in the US than Android or the iPhone, for example, the Symbian platform, which is backed by Nokia, is used in two-thirds of the smartphones produced in the world today.

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