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printed January 30, 2015
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LG to Kick Off Sales of G Flex 2 January 30

Jan 22, 2015, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG said it will begin selling the G Flex 2 in its home market of Korea on Jan. 30. The phone will reach other markets in the "coming months." Several U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular, have said they'll sell the phone but none has said when or for how much. The G Flex 2 will cost Koreans approximately $830 when it goes on sale next week. Separately, an LG executive refuted reports that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor overheats. Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that Samsung plans to drop the Snapdragon 810 chip from its forthcoming Galaxy S6 smartphone due to overheating issues. "I am very much aware of the various concerns in the market about the (Snapdragon) 810, but the chip's performance is quite satisfactory," said Woo Ram-chan, vice president for mobile product planning at LG. Woo said the chip emits less heat than other devices. "I don't understand why there is a issue over heat." LG uses the Snapdragon 810 in the G Flex 2.


MetroPCS Promo Includes Unlimited LTE 4G for $50

Jan 21, 2015, 9:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS today unveiled a new rate plan that includes unlimited talk, text, and LTE 4G data for $50 per month. Customers can sign up for the promotional plan between today and April 5. Once signed up, users can keep the unlimited LTE 4G data plan indefinitely. In order to use this plan, however, customers have to have a MetroPCS-branded LTE-capable handset. Customers cannot supply their own, unlocked handset. MetroPCS also increased the data available to its existing plans by 1GB each. For example, its $40 plan now includes unlimited talk, text, and up to 2GB of LTE (improved from 1GB), and a $50 plan with unlimited talk, text, and up to 4GB of LTE (improved from 3GB). These plans are available to BYOD customers and MetroPCS-branded devices. Last, MetroPCS said customers can buy the Samsung Galaxy Light for $49 and the LG F60 for $59. MetroPCS does not require contracts.


Sprint Expands Leasing Program to G3, Note 4

Jan 16, 2015, 12:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today increased the number of devices eligible for its leasing program by adding the LG G3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Sprint said new and existing customers can lease the G3 for $15 per month for 24 months or the Note 4 for $25 per month for 24 months. Customers can take the devices home for $0 down. At the end of the lease, customers can turn the device in and lease another or return the device (as long as it is in working order) and terminate their service. Sprint already offers leases on the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5.


Virgin Mobile Offering No-Contract Shared Data Plans

Jan 16, 2015, 10:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 16, 2015, 10:14 AM

Virgin Mobile today announced a new plan available exclusively to Walmart customers that includes sharable data without contracts. The plans are available to four specific phones for between two an four lines per account. The two-line plan costs $65 per month and includes unlimited talk and text, and 4GB of shareable data. The three-line plan costs $90 per month and boosts shared data to 8GB. The four-line plan costs $115 per month and includes 12GB of shared data. Users can manage their shared data with Virgin Mobile's account application. Top-ups costs $10 per 1GB. The plan includes parental controls and low-cost international options. Virgin is also offering an add-on that provides unlimited monthly access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pandora for $5 per month per line. Using these apps/services won't impact subscribers' monthly data allotments as long as they subscribe to the add-on plan. The four handsets capable of accessing the shared data service are the HTC Desire 510, LG Tribute, LG Volt, and Samsung Galaxy Core Prime. More devices will be compatible with the plan by the end of February. Virgin's new no-contract shared data plans will be available beginning Jan. 17. Last, Virgin announced two revised single-line plans. For $35 per month, Virgin customers get 300 voice minutes, unlimited messaging, and up to 2.5GB of high-speed of data. For $40 per month, users get unlimited voice and messaging, and up to 2.5GB of high-speed data.


Hands On with the LG Fx0 See-Through Firefox Phone

Jan 7, 2015, 4:17 PM   by Rich Brome

The first high-end phone with the Firefox OS recently went on sale in Japan, and it's a thoroughly unique phone. Most obviously, it sports a gold-tinted case that's completely transparent. But with LTE and NFC, it's also a new direction for Firefox OS, which previously only found its way into quite low-end devices. Further, the marketing is unique, specifically targeting tech-minded consumers for whom a hackable, open-source OS is a major selling point. We spent a few moments with one.

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TCL to Revive Palm with Help from the Tech Community

Jan 6, 2015, 6:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 6, 2015, 6:05 PM

TCL Communications, the parent company of Alcatel OneTouch, today confirmed to Phone Scoop that it has acquired the Palm brand and plans to revive the failed tech company. "We are interested in the brand because we believe the brand has value," said TCL CEO George Guo. "It was once a very strong brand and there are many fans of this brand around the world, including people at TCL." TCL intends to resurrect Palm with new hardware, software, and services -- but not on its own. It will ask the community to contribute ideas for potential new devices, operating systems, and apps. It will commit engineers and its manufacturing resources to the project, but hopes much of the R&D will come from the tech community at large. TCL said it hasn't worked out the details of how this community-driven revival will function, but it is confident it can restore luster to the brand. "Palm was an original pioneer and we want to keep it that way. We want to attract the people who have ideas on how to revive the brand in a meaningful way." Guo shot down the idea of using webOS, which is owned by LG, and ran on the Palm Pre, Pixi, and other phones. "We are open to all ideas, but probably not webOS," said Guo. "Palm built by Palm fans is the intent." TCL expects to eventually offer both Alcatel- and Palm-branded products in the US. TCL said it couldn't comment on the terms of the acquisition. It will provide more details as they are developed.

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Volkswagen Signs Up for Android Auto and CarPlay

Jan 5, 2015, 7:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Volkswagen today took the diplomatic route with respect to enabling smartphone connectivity in its cars. Beginning with select models later this year, Volkswagen's second generation modular infotainment platform will support Google's Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay platforms, in addition to the platform-agnostic MirrorLink spec. The company said Android Auto will support devices from the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony, while CarPlay will support Apple's iPhone. The services will allow smartphone owners to access their device content, apps, and services through the infotainment console of their Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Golf will be the first model to support these connectivity platforms.


U.S. Cellular Joins G Flex 2 Party

Jan 5, 2015, 4:54 PM   by Rich Brome

In addition to AT&T and Sprint, U.S. Cellular plans to carry the LG G Flex 2 "this spring", according to spokesperson Katie Frey. No further details were revealed.

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LG G Flex 2 Coming to AT&T and Sprint

Jan 5, 2015, 12:02 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Jan 5, 2015, 12:07 PM

AT&T will carry the 32 GB version of the G Flex 2 that LG just announced at CES. Sprint will also offer the phone. Pricing and availability date for both carriers will be announced at a later date.


Hands-On with the LG G Flex 2

Jan 5, 2015, 11:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG is back with another bendable phone. It's best to think of the G Flex 2 as a curved LG G3 - especially since it carries over most of the specs.

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LG Shows Off Improved G Flex 2

Jan 5, 2015, 11:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 5, 2015, 12:16 PM

LG today announced the G Flex 2, a second-generation curved Android smartphone. The device makes dramatic improvements over the original in terms of design, features, and usability. The screen shrinks to 5.5 inches across the diagonal, but ups the resolution from 720p to 1080p HD. The plastic OLED panel has a Gorilla Glass 3 coating to help prevent damage, and the rear shell's self-healing powers have been improved, too. The G Flex 2 relies on a quad-core Snapdragon 810 processor with 2 or 3 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage, depending on the market. The device supports external memory cards up to 2TB and runs Cat. 6 LTE with Carrier Aggregation. The Flex 2 has a smaller 3,000 mAh battery than its predecessor, but it supports fast charging for a 50% charge in under 40 minutes. The phone offers Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC, and WiFi. Like the LG G3, the main camera sports a 13-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization and laser focus. It can record 4K video. The user-facing camera captures 2.1-megapixel pictures and 1080p HD video. The Flex 2 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's user interface skin on top. It will be sold in silver and red. LG said it will be available "soon" but it didn't specify where or for how much.


Google to Let You Push Music Directly to Speakers

Jan 5, 2015, 11:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 5, 2015, 11:11 AM

Google today announced Cast for Audio, a new version of its Chromecast technology that will allow people to cast audio content from their device to properly equipped speakers, receivers, and soundbars. According to Google, compatible audio equipment from Sony, LG, and HEOS by Denon will arrive in the U.S. this spring, with others to follow. The audio equipment will have built-in radios that can receive cast content and/or access it from the web. The initial batch of apps to support Cast for Audio include Deezer, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, and TuneIn Radio. Google says many more are on the way. The technology competes with Apple's AirPlay.


Liveblog of LG at CES

Jan 5, 2015, 10:48 AM   by Rich Brome

It's the big day in Las Vegas for big companies to hold big press conferences, and the morning belongs to LG. A tweet from Qualcomm has all but confirmed rumors of a new, high-end LG phone with a Snapdragon 810 processor. This liveblog will bring you all of the phone-related details as they happen on stage.

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Qualcomm Teases High-End Smartphone for CES

Dec 29, 2014, 2:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today suggested a new high-end smartphone is on deck for a big CES reveal. The company tweeted, "A new Snapdragon 800 powered smartphone is launching next week," along with an image and hashtag for the Consumer Electronics Show. The device pictured resembles LG's high-end G series, which features buttons placed on the back of the phone, though neither Qualcomm nor LG confirmed any other details about the device in question.


Apple's Patent Consortium to Sell 4,000 Patents for $900M

Dec 23, 2014, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Rockstar Consortium, a patent-holding company headed by Apple, has agreed to sell more than 4,000 mobile patents for about $900 million. Apple and partners Microsoft, BlackBerry, Ericsson, and Sony paid $4.5 billion for more than 6,000 patents from Nortel four years ago in order to help protect against litigation. The companies are selling two-thirds of the patents to RPX Corp., which is another patent-focused company that protects companies from lawsuits. RPX plans to license the patent portfolio to a syndicate of 30 technology companies, including Google and Cisco, according to the Wall Street Journal. The syndicate members contributed the bulk of the $900 million in order to purchase the patents. In addition to the patent sale, Rockstar will settle patent-related lawsuits it has filed against Android device makers, including Samsung, Huawei, HTC, and LG. Terms of those settlements were not disclosed. Rockstar Consortium will hold onto about 2,000 of the old Nortel patents, which the Journal described as the "most valuable" of the bunch.


Microsoft Targeting January for Lumia Denim Update

Dec 18, 2014, 1:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said that it will begin pushing the Lumia Denim system update to its Windows Phones en masse beginning next month. The update is already trickling out to a few phones in select markets, but all Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 will see the update at some point next month. According to Microsoft, improved imaging is the most significant new feature of the update. Notably, the camera app should function much faster, especially on devices such as the Lumia 930, 830, 1520, and Icon. In addition to speed, the camera will gain a feature called Moment Capture, which records 4K video at 24 frames per second with each and every frame saved as an 8.3-megapixel image. Users can snag a single frame from the video as a stand-alone image if they wish. Another new camera function is called Rich Capture. With it, the camera takes over settings such as auto HDR, dynamic flash, and dynamic exposure so users can focus on getting the shot and not on futzing with the camera app. Microsoft also notes the camera app makes use of new algorithms to improve focus and exposure. The Denim update also adds live folders, SMS merging, and other improvements. Microsoft first announced Lumia Denim in September.


Microsoft Twists Torque from Android Wear to Android Phones

Dec 5, 2014, 3:36 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently updated its Torque application for Android Wear and carried it over from smartwatches to smartphones. With Torque, Android Wear and Android smartphone owners can shake or twist their device to launch Bing Voice Search. Bing Voice Search requires internet access, but can be controlled through a wide variety of voice commands to check the weather, perform simple math, or search for information. Torque works with most Android smartphones, and works best with the Asus Zen Watch, LG G Watch, and Samsung Gear Live Android wearables. Torque is free.


Verizon Updates LG G3 with VoLTE

Dec 5, 2014, 1:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless announced an over-the-air software update should hit the LG G3 beginning today that adds VoLTE capabilities. VoLTE passes voice calls over Verizon's LTE data network rather than its voice network. A handful of phones already support VoLTE. VoLTE offers HD Voice when both the sender and receiver have LTE coverage and VoLTE-capable handsets. Verizon recently said it plans to expand its selection of VoLTE handsets. Mike Haberman, vice president of network performance for Verizon, said the initial uptake of VoLTE by customers has been excellent.


LG's Mobile Business Gets New Chief Amid Restructuring

Nov 27, 2014, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced several changes to its business, including the appointment of several new executives. Jong-seok Park, who served as president and CEO of LG Mobile Communications, is being replaced by Juno Cho. Cho was most recently the president of LG Corp, LG Electronics' holding company. Park is being moved to the newly created position of Chief Technology Advisor. LG also said it will merge of its Home Appliance and Air Conditioning & Energy Solution business units to create a consolidated LG Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. LG shuffled about a dozen other executives throughout its top ranks. All the changes are effective December 1.


Verizon to Sell LG GizmoPal Connected Wearable

Nov 25, 2014, 1:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the LG GizmoPal, a wearable for children meant to provide parents with peace of mind. The wearable can make and receive phone calls, though only to/from a limited set of numbers. Parents can easily mange the GizmoPal through an app (Android and iOS), and use it to track their child's location throughout the day. The GizmoPal costs $80 and can be added to a More Everything plan for $5 per month. It will be available in select stores Nov. 26 and all Verizon sales channels by Dec. 11. It comes in either blue or pink.


Verizon Debuts LG Transpyre

Nov 23, 2014, 2:06 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Nov 23, 2014, 2:07 PM

Verizon today added the LG Transpyre to its prepaid lineup. This basic Android phone is essentially the same phone as the LG Tribute offered by Virgin Mobile, except with more memory and a better front camera. The phone has a 4.5-inch display, 5-megapixel main camera, and 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor. Other features include 4G LTE, a memory card slot, and a removable battery. Verizon is currently offering the Transpyre for $100 with a no-contract prepaid plan.


MetroPCS Adds LG F60 to Prepaid Lineup

Nov 13, 2014, 12:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS recently began selling the LG F60 handset through its web site. The F60 was announced last month. It features a 4.5-inch WVGA display and 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM. The device has a 5-megapixel main camera with Gesture Shot and Touch & Shot, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The device includes Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and LTE, and relies on a 2,100mAh battery for power. The F60 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes LG's Knock Code. MetroPCS is selling it for $100 after a mail-in rebate. The full retail price is $160.


LG to Start Pushing Lollipop to the G3

Nov 9, 2014, 7:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said it will soon begin distributing Android 5.0 Lollipop to its G3 smartphone. LG will deliver Lollipop to G3 owners in Poland first, followed by "other key markets in the near future." The company claims it is the first handset maker to offer Android 5.0 to its existing device base. LG also said it will soon publish a schedule detailing the Lollipop upgrade for other LG phones. The G3 is available from the major U.S. carriers, but neither they nor LG made any specific announcements regarding Lollipop's arrival on the G3 in the U.S. LG happened to manufacture both the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5 smartphones, which should be among the first to receive Lollipop. The Nexus phones will be updated directly by Google.


LG and Google Sign Patent Cross-Licensing Agreement

Nov 4, 2014, 7:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG and Google today announced the two companies have signed a multi-year patent cross-licensing agreement. The patents cover a wide range of existing technologies and also extends to patents filed over the next 10 years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "LG values its relationship with Google, and this agreement underscores both companies' commitment to developing new products and technologies that enhance consumers' lives," said LG in a statement. LG uses Google's Android platform for its smartphones, tablets, and wearables. It also manufactured both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones for Google.


LG Slices Display Bezel to 0.7mm

Oct 30, 2014, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display today announced a new LCD panel that practically eliminates the bezel. The panel measures 5.3 inches across the diagonal with full HD resolution. The bezels along the side edges of the screen measure just 0.7mm thick. LG said it accomplished this with what it calls "Neo Edge" module processing and an in-cell touch panel. It uses an adhesive instead of double-sided tape to attach and seal the edges of the screen's circuit board, backlight, and touch panel. These help eliminate a plastic guide panel, which would otherwise be required to hold everything together. The Neo Edge technology is dust and waterproof, blocks light leakage, helps prevent corrosion, and improves durability thanks to the flexibility of the the adhesive. LG said it will begin to produce the new panel in volume next month.


LG Shows Off Its First Mobile Processor, Dubbed 'Nuclun'

Oct 24, 2014, 6:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the Nuclun, its first application processor for smartphones and tablets. The Nuclun is an eight-core chip with two banks of four cores each. It uses ARM's big.LITTLE configuration with four 1.5GHz Cortex A15s for heavy lifting and four 1.2GHz Cortex A7s for power sipping. The Nuclun supports LTE Cat. 6, which boasts theoretical download speeds of up to 225Mbps. In order to properly showcase the Nuclun's capabilities, LG also revealed the G3 Screen, the first smartphone to rely on the Nuclun as its engine. The G3 Screen borrows its design language from the G3, but increases the size of the screen to 5.9 inches while downgrading the resolution to 1080p HD. The G3 Screen has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and supports microSD cards. The main camera captures 13.1 megapixels and includes optical image stabilization, while the user-facing camera captures 2.1 megapixels. The GS3 Screen has a 3,000mAh battery and runs Android 4.4 KitKat. LG didn't say when or where the G3 Screen will be sold.


HP to Shutter WebOS Support January 15

Oct 16, 2014, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HP recently indicated that it will cease all backend support for WebOS devices on January 15. After that time, WebOS device owners will no longer be able to download or update apps, reset or restore their devices, setup new devices, or retrieve lost passwords. According to HP, the web services shut down will not disable existing hardware. HP recommends that WebOS device owners download any apps they may want to keep prior to November 1, 2014. "Shutting down webOS cloud services is part of an orderly end of life program," explained HP. "HP announced the end of WebOS devices over 3 years ago, but the services were kept running to allow customers to continue to have a richer user experience. The user count has dwindled to the point where it is no longer viable to keep the services running." HP acquired WebOS when it bought Palm in 2010. HP killed its Palm hardware business in 2011 and has since open-sourced WebOS. LG eventually purchased WebOS from HP, which it uses in select consumer electronics.


LG Tribute Lands on Virgin Mobile

Oct 6, 2014, 9:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 6, 2014, 9:56 AM

Virgin Mobile USA recently made the LG Tribute available on its web site. The Tribute is a low-cost Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch screen, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 5-megapixel camera, LTE and LG's Knock Code. The device runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Virgin is selling the Tribute for $80 without a contract. The device is also being sold at Best Buy, RadioShack, and from Amazon.com, QVC.com, HSN.com.


LG Debuts the F60, A Budget LTE Smartphone

Oct 1, 2014, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 1, 2014, 7:56 AM

LG today announced the F60, what it calls an affordable handset with LTE 4G on board. The F60 features a 4.5-inch WVGA display and 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM and either 4 or 8GB of internal storage. The device has a 5-megapixel main camera with Gesture Shot and Touch & Shot, and a 1.3-megapixel selfie camera with a user-facing light for improved selfies. The device includes Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS, and relies on a 2,100mAh for power. The F60 features a number of LG's signature capabilities, such as Knock Code. The F60 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and will go on sale in the weeks ahead. U.S carriers have not announced support for the phone yet, but LG said it will be sold in the Americas.


U.S. Cellular Scores LG's G3, to Go On Sale in October

Sep 30, 2014, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular today said it will soon offer the LG G3. The flagship device, which boasts a 5.5-inch quad HD display and 13-megapixel camera, will go on sale in October, though U.S. Cellular didn't say exactly when. U.S. Cellular said the phone will be available for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments for well-qualified customers. The company didn't disclose the full retail price of the G3. The G3 has been available from other carriers for several months.


Pantech Puts Itself Up for Sale

Sep 26, 2014, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Pantech, based in Korea, has staked a For Sale sign in its front lawn. The company, which declared the equivalent of bankruptcy last month, is seeking a buyer to scoop up the entire business. Pantech has been facing trouble all year long. It twice sought delays in debt payments and entered into court receivership in August. The company believes it will fetch a higher price if sold as a single entity (approx. $366 million) rather than broken up and sold in pieces (approx. $181 million). Bids for the company are due in early October. Pantech found itself unable to compete with Samsung and LG, which are also based in Korea. It faced financial losses six quarters in a row, which led to its debt problems and eventual bankruptcy.


LG G3 Vigor Reaches AT&T Stores Sept. 26

Sep 22, 2014, 1:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today confirmed it will begin to sell the LG G3 Vigor on September 26. AT&T is asking for $335 for the G3 Vigor with no contract, $13.96 a month with Next 18, $16.75 a month with Next 12, or $50 with a new two-year contract. The Vigor has a 5-inch 720p HD screen, 8-megapixel camera, and LG's customized apps and software.


Verizon's VoLTE Service Live for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Sep 20, 2014, 10:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon has made its Advanced Calling 1.0 feature available to the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The free service will pass voice calls over Verizon's LTE 4G network rather than the cellular network. It offers high-quality voice calls and video calls. In order to enable the service, owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus need to use the settings tool to allow "voice & data" over LTE directly on their phone. Once enabled, the feature will appear as active in their Verizon account online. VoLTE calls only work between two Verizon VoLTE-enabled devices. The only other Verizon devices that support VoLTE right now are the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G2.

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Verizon Starts VoLTE Roll-Out; Wi-Fi Calling on Deck for 2015

Sep 17, 2014, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has slowly begun to enable VoLTE on select devices on its network. To start, VoLTE is available to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G3. In order to use the service, subscribers need to download an app called Advanced Calling 1.0. More devices will supported over time. In order for VoLTE to work, both parties need to have VoLTE-capable phones and access to Verizon's LTE 4G network. The service, which is free to use, offers high-quality calls that are passed over the data network rather than the traditional voice network. Separately, Verizon Wireless said that, like AT&T, it is going to wait until 2015 to launch Wi-Fi Calling. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said it will eventually roll out the service, which is supported by the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but it is not a priority. "We built our voice platform so extensively [that] there was never a need for us to tell our customers, 'Oh, our network is not good enough so you need to go on Wi-Fi to complete your call,'" said Shammo. Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer Wi-Fi Calling to a growing number of handsets. T-Mobile just today launched its Personal CellSpot in order to help its customers experience better voice connectivity when in their homes.


AT&T Also to Sell LG G3 Vigor

Sep 15, 2014, 5:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T chimed in today to say it, too, will offer the LG G3 Vigor to subscribers. AT&T didn't specify how much the device will cost, nor when it will go on sale. Sprint also plans to sell the Vigor.


Sprint to Sell LG G3 Vigor

Sep 15, 2014, 2:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 16, 2014, 3:56 PM

Sprint today announced the LG G3 Vigor, an affordable smartphone that places the volume and screen lock keys on the back, like LG's flagship devices. The phone has a 5-inch 720p HD display and quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor under the hood to keep costs low. Stand out features include LG's suite of specialized apps, such as Knock Code and Knock On, LG Gate for enterprise security, as well as QSlide Apps, QuickMemo, and LG's Smart Keyboard. The phone runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and is compatible with Sprint Spark. Sprint services on board include HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling. The full retail price of the LG G3 Vigor is $312. Sprint also offering the G3 Vigor for $13 a month with Sprint Easy Pay.


T-Mobile Expands Wi-Fi Calling, Partners with GoGo

Sep 10, 2014, 3:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 17, 2014, 7:04 AM

T-Mobile today said it will make Wi-Fi calling available to all its postpaid customers for free. The move, announced at an event in San Francisco, is meant to help provide improved voice coverage in spaces where T-Mobile's network doesn't reach. Wi-Fi calls can be made from any open network. Even so, T-Mobile also debuted the T-Mobile Personal Cell Spot. This Wi-Fi hotspot, made by Asus, requires a $25 deposit and works with existing in-home internet service. It will permit T-Mobile customers to experience high-quality Wi-Fi calls when at home. It prioritizes voice functionality over data functionality. New phones sold by T-Mobile (including the iPhone 6) will have this new functionality built in from the get-go, while older devices will receive an update to gain the new Wi-Fi calling features. The Personal Cell Spot will remain private; only those with the Wi-Fi password will be able to use it for calls and messaging. The Wi-Fi calling feature is free to use for all customers. T-Mobile offered a similar service back in 2007, called Hotspot@Home, but discontinued it in 2010. T-Mobile also announced a partnership with GoGo that will let its customers send and receive SMS/MMS messages from GoGo-equipped airplanes, as well as receive visual voicemail. The in-flight messaging service goes live September 17 and is free to all T-Mobile customers. The service will work with select phones at launch, including Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, HTC One, and LG G3 among others. More will be added over time.

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Google Plans to Add Bluetooth, GPS to Android Wear

Sep 2, 2014, 11:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is working on several updates to Android Wear that will introduce more features to the platform for wearables. Director of Engineering for Android Wear, David Singleton, told CNET that the first update to arrive will add certain Bluetooth functions to Android Wear. "We'll have an update coming that allows you to pair a Bluetooth headset with your watch. And that means you can play music stored on your watch directly on your Bluetooth headset," said Singleton. Google also plans to add support for GPS, meaning properly equipped devices will be able to track location data directly without an accompanying smartphone. These updates are expected to arrive later this year. The company is also working to make Android Wear compatible with a wide range of sensors. Google envisions Android Wear devices interacting with a broad scope of other devices in order to develop richer and more useful data for owners. According to Google, thousands of Android applications have already been updated with support for Android Wear, and Google created a separate section of the Play Store for compatible apps. Several Android Wear devices are currently available and LG, Asus, and others are expected to debut more Android Wear devices this week.


LG Debuts Round Android Wear Watch

Aug 27, 2014, 9:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G Watch R, a round smartwatch based on Google's Android Wear platform. LG already offers a square-shaped device called the G Watch. In designing the G Watch R, LG said it carefully weighed how consumers view watches as accessories and often require them to be stylish as well as functional. The G Watch R is made of stainless steel and features a 22mm calf-skin strap. According to LG, the G Watch R is the first wearable to feature a plastic OLED display, which measures 1.3 inches across the diagonal with 320 x 320 pixels. It is highly visible, even in direct sunlight. The G Watch R is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage. It boasts an IP67 rating against water/dust intrusion, and can withstand up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. The device features a heart rate monitor, 9-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, and barometer. It has a 410mAh battery, but LG didn't offer information on expected battery life. The G Watch R can run all apps compatible with Android Wear, and includes a number of LG-designed fitness apps. The LG G Watch R will go on sale in select markets early in the fourth quarter. Pricing and exact availability will be announced on a market-by-market basis.

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LG Shows Off the G3 Stylus

Aug 26, 2014, 7:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G3 Stylus, a variant of the G3 that adds a stylus, but seriously ramps down the specifications. The device carries over the design language of the G3, but the 5.5-inch display goes from Quad HD (2560 x 1440) to qHD (960 x 540). The G3 Stylus also loses the G3's quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and instead includes a quad-core 1.3GHz processor. It offers a 13-megapixel main camera and 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The G3 Stylus has 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and a memory card slot, and it boasts a removable 3,000mAh battery. The G3 Stylus runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat along with a number of LG's signature apps, such as QuickMemo, QSlide Apps, Knock Code, and the Smart Keyboard. LG didn't call out any specific features or applications customized for the stylus. The device is limited to 3G networks for now and goes on sale in Brazil, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa this fall. LG didn't indicate if a version of the G3 Stylus will reach the U.S.


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