Review: LG Ally
The Ally runs a slightly modified version of Android 2.1. There are five customizable home screens, though only three have any content on them out of the box. The home screens can be loaded with apps, widgets, shortcuts, or other content. Home screens are reached by swiping to the left or right.
LG also offers its own custom theme for the Ally. The theme really only changes the appearance of the central home screen. It places four permanent shortcuts at the bottom of the screen (phone, contacts, messages, browser). It also changes the color of the main menu from black to white. Not the most earth shattering of differences.
The main menu is accessed by pressing the little software cube button at the bottom of the screen. This is where all the applications, widgets and anything you download from the Android Market wind up. If you download a lot, it starts to get intimidating. Thankfully, users can create folders and bundle their content to make this main menu easier to deal with.
The physical menu key placed at the bottom of the phone brings up a small menu box at the bottom of the screen for each application on the phone. The menu key is the easiest and best way to access the phone's settings and control menus. That's where all the nitty-gritty stuff is buried. One you're past the main menu itself, all the secondary menus retain the Android look of white text on a black background. No changes there. Android is such a young platform that it is still very easy to figure out and the underlying OS is nearly identical from phone to phone.
Each Android handset maker places the main Android keys (Home, Menu, Back, Search) in different places and in a different order. Once you learn where they are, they become essential to helping navigate the menus.
The keyboard includes 4-way directional keys, which help when editing text, but not necessarily when moving between the menus.
In all, there's nothing thrilling to report here.
LG is prepared to debut its first Android handset for the U.S. with Verizon Wireless.
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