LG has confirmed it will be bringing several Android mobiles to the UK market in 2009, and that it will play a big part in pushing mobile social networking.

Although the much expected slew of Android handsets never showed up at this year's Mobile World Congress, LG confirmed to TechRadar that 2009 will still be the year of Android for the company:

"We'll be launching several Android handsets in 2009, likely in second half of the year," said Jeremy Newing, head of marketing for LG Mobile in the UK.

"For Android we have a huge interest in using it for social networking handsets, as these are going to be big pillars of our strategy for 2009."

Phone for the times

There has been some surprise and criticism over LG's strategy to use Android for the first time on the KS360, a QWERTY-based mid range handset, but Newing believes the economic climate has made this the ideal handset for the job:

"The KS360 will get be brought out in a 3G version, as well as an Android model too. We chose this lower-end handset as we're in a recession, and customers want a value proposition while still expecting a similar level of functionality, so the handset has to be right for the price point.

"We will use Android in different ways, in mid and higher end handsets, with the difference coming through form factor and different application needs for each handset.

"If you think about where the platform came from, i.e. Google, then you'll see it'll be heavily mobile internet based and designed for messaging."

Windows Phone

However, Newing also says that LG's new S-Class interface, which uses two chipsets to help keep the animation and transitions running smoothly without lag, will also be used to varying degrees in a large number of LG phones, as well as the new Windows Phone interface making a big impression in the UK next year:

"We will have a similar UI to the S-Class in more handsets, running the same two chipsets; the reason we haven't done it before comes down to a lot factors, such as the size of the components.

"It's likely we'll see [the result of the R&D deal with Microsoft] in the second half of this year in the UK, although it's more likely deal we've signed with Microsoft now will come to fruition in 2010, when we'll see a larger number of devices based on the new Windows Phone platform."