LG Optimus Elite pics surface for Sprint, Virgin Mobile NFC phone

Despite its misleading name, the LG Optimus Elite should still offer NFC on a budget.

The LG Optimus Elite should be a budget-friendly Android with NFC support. Pocketnow

A pair of newly leaked renders arrived online this week, providing a clear look at the next LG smartphone, aimed for both Sprint and subsidiary Virgin Mobile. Despite its name -- the LG Optimus Elite -- early details suggest that the smartphone is anything but fancy.

The rumored specifications suggest a 3.2-inch HVGA display, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a slower 800MHz processor, and NFC support. Although it isn't clear which version of Android the Optimus Elite runs, the screenshots clearly indicate that it won't be 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The photos suggest it'll be an almost pure Gingerbread experience, with only Sprint ID/Mobile ID on top.

Save for its color, Virgin Mobile's edition looks identical. Pocketnow

As some readers may recall, Sprint plans to roll out a number of smartphones in 2012 with NFC and Google Wallet support. Despite the otherwise low-end features, the inclusion of NFC should not come as a surprise.

If Google and Sprint are to see mass adoption of the new mobile payment service, then we should expect to see NFC on even the most basic of smartphones.

Sprint may soon be announcing the LG Optimus Elite, according to Pocketnow, followed by Virgin Mobile in May. As for pricing, the tech blog indicates that the no-contract option may not fetch much more than a $100 price tag.

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