Step 1: Slap a chicklet hardware QWERTY keyboard on there
Step 2: Squeeze the form factor down as much as possible
Step 3: Put middle-of-the-road specs in there, with maybe one or two nice features
Step 4: Stick the name “Pro” on it
Step 5: Make sure there’s a sister handset available that’s better, but minus the keyboard — just to make them suffer

If that’s the standard strategy, then LG‘s certainly running it by the book with the Optimus Pro, the latest hard QWERTY, candybar Android phone. The company unveiled the handset today along with sister smartphone Optimus Net.

The Pro is the “business-class” device with the BlackBerry-esque chicklet keyboard on the front face. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only thing that’s really “pro” about this, considering its 2.5-inch screen (at just 320 x 240) and 800 Mhz processor. Well, at least it comes with Gingerbread (Android 2.3), as well as three different color options, including white, black and a mysterious option called “titan.” And looking even more on the bright side, the 1,500 MaH battery and underwhelming specs will probably yield a fairly long life between charges.

As for the Optimus Net, it’s being marketed as more of a social networking device (thus the name) featuring a new LG app that dishes up Facebook and Twitter. But it is basically the same as the Pro, minus the keyboard, enigmatic third color and teeny, mediocre display. Of course, at 3.2 inches, the screen’s still not what you’d consider epic, but at least it has a bit better resolution (320 x 480). And word has it, the company might be releasing these with NFC in some regions.

Both phones will launch by late summer, starting with the European market first. There’s no word on pricing yet, but given that the better spec’ed Droid Pro is going for $150, and even the newly announced HTC Status is going for a mere pittance, at $50, our guess is that this will be arriving on the cheap.