LG Optimus Elite on pre-order at Virgin Mobile; carrier's first NFC phone in the US

Sprint may already count the LG Optimus Elite among its roster of smartphones, but today that handset is finding a second home at Virgin Mobile. The $150 Gingerbread-powered device is now up for pre-order, and Virgin says it will start shipping on May 15th. Though the 3.5-inch HVGA display, 800MHz CPU and 5-MP rear camera aren't exactly impressive specs, the Optimus Elite stands out as the carrier's first phone to include NFC and Google Wallet for mobile payments. Unlike Sprint, which offers a white version, Virgin Mobile will only sell the Optimus Elite in silver. And while the former carrier prices the phone at just $30 after a mail-in rebate, Virgin's cheaper monthly plans might convince customers that it's worth shelling out more up front.