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printed June 25, 2017
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LG Debuts G6+ with More Storage and Better Music

Jun 19, 2017, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G6+, a refined version of its flagship smartphone that offers a few under-the-hood improvements. The G6+ ships with 128 GB of on-board storage (rather than 64 GB) and premium headphones from Bang & Olufsen that are better able to take advantage of the 32-bit quad DAC. LG says the result is richer-sounding music. LG made some cosmetic improvements, too; for example, the rear glass panel how has a lenticular film to help create optical effects in the glass, and the bezels surrounding the display have been turned black in order to blend in with the screen (when off). The G6+ and the existing G6 are available in an expanded range of colors, including Optical Astro Black, Optical Marine Blue, and Optical Terra Gold. Beyond the G6+ hardware, LG also announced some new software features. LG plans to update the G6 with a Face Print feature, a new low-power consumption tool, and a covered lens warning. The Face Print feature is a security option that relies on facial recognition. Users hold the G6 up to their face and the user-facing camera will scan them and unlock the phone. The covered-lens warning is meant to tell users that their finger is blocking the camera. The idea is to prevent bad shots. These features will be preloaded on the G6 and G6+ moving forward, and will hit existing phones next month. LG said the timing of the G6+ launch and the software update will vary on a market-by-market basis. Pricing for the G6+ wasn't disclosed.


T-Mobile Rolls Out Buy-One, Get-One Offer for Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6

Jun 16, 2017, 8:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile said shoppers will be able to score a free Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+, or LG G6 or V20 (pictured) through a new buy-one, get-one offer that kicks off June 16. Existing T-Mobile customers need to buy both phones on an installment plan and subscribe to an unlimited data service plan in order to qualify. New T-Mobile customers will need to activate both phones on the T-Mobile One plan. The BOGO offer requires customers to mail in a rebate form. T-Mobile will then mail a prepaid gift card within about eight weeks to cover the cost of the second handset. T-Mobile says it will reimburse customers for the cost of the lesser of whichever phones they purchase, up to $500 for the LG G6 or V20 and up to $790 for the Galaxy S8 or S8+. Customers will need to pay sales tax on both devices at the point of sale. The offer is contingent on customers staying through the 24 month installment plan. Those who leave T-Mobile before 24 months will need to cover the remaining balance of the two phones. T-Mobile warns that video is streamed at 480p and the top 3% of users may experience reduced speeds during network congestion.


LG Offers Two-Year Warranty Service for the G6

Jun 15, 2017, 1:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 15, 2017, 3:04 PM

LG today debuted the Second Year Promise program for the G6 smartphone. The program is available in the U.S. to consumers who purchase the G6 through a carrier or other authorized reseller. Owners of the G6 will need to register the device within 90 days of purchase, including their own personal contact details, device identifiers (IMEI), and proof of purchase. LG says the Second Year Promise will provide G6 owners a free replacement device (new or refurbished) if their original is found to have manufacturer defects at any time during the 13th through 24th months of ownership. LG will provide free shipping and promises to get the replacement delivered within two business days. The warranty basically doubles the standard 12-month offering from LG. LG G6 owners can register through LG's web site.


Meet the LG Exalt, Verizon's First LTE-Only Flip Phone

Jun 15, 2017, 10:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently added the LG Exalt LTE to its lineup of inexpensive flip phones. The Exalt LTE has the distinction of being Verizon's first 4G LTE basic phone, according to the carrier. The handset includes LTE and UMTS/GSM radios, but the Exalt LTE does not support Verizon's legacy CDMA 3G network. That makes it unique among Verizon flip phones. In addition to LTE, the Exalt includes WiFi and a high-quality speaker for HD voice calls over either LTE or WiFi. The Exalt LTE has a 3.0-inch display with 400 by 240 pixels, a 1,470mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel camera. The Exalt LTE packs 8 GB of internal storage and supports microSD memory cards up to 32 GB. Verizon didn't say what operating system the Exalt LTE runs, nor what processor might be power the phone. The LG Exalt LTE is available online only for $168 at full retail or $7 per month for 24 months.


Google's GBoard App for Android Lets You Draw Emoji

Jun 12, 2017, 11:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its GBoard keyboard application for Android handsets and made it possible for people to draw emoji. In the emoji search tool, GBoard can recognize finger-scrawled pictures and then automatically insert the correct emoji into your text. The keyboard app also introduces phrase suggestions to help speed up texting time. Once users have typed two or more words, the phrase suggestion tool can add several more to complete well-known phrases, such as "looking forward to it." This is available only in English for now, though more languages are on the way. GBoard also picks up expanded search tools. Now, searches performed in GBoard show multiple results cards that can open directly in other apps, such as Google Maps. Last, the app picks up a handful of new languages, pushing to total supported to more than 200. Some of the new ones include: Azerbaijani (Iran), Dhivehi, French (Belgium), Hawaiian, Maori and Samoan. GBoard is free to download from the Play Store.


LG X Venture Delivers Inexpensive, Rugged Performance

May 22, 2017, 9:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 22, 2017, 9:57 AM

LG today announced the X venture, an affordable Android smartphone that can take a beating. The phone has an IP68 rating for protection against water and dust, and a mil-spec 810g rating for durability against drops, bumps, scrapes, and other abuse. The phone features a 5.2-inch full HD screen with glove mode. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 435 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. LG says the main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with a standard field of view, while the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with a wide-angle lens. The phone packs a massive 4,100mAh battery with Quick Charge 2.0 for all-day battery life. Other specs include barometer with outdoorsy software, as well as Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, WiFi, FM radio, and NFC. The phone supports memory cards up to 2 TB and it charges via microUSB. The X venture runs Android 7 Nougat. AT&T plans to sell the LG X venture starting May 26, with support for its ePTT service, for $11 per month for 30 months, or about $330.


Google Updates Daydream to Version 2.0 Euphrates

May 18, 2017, 11:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 18, 2017, 12:20 PM

Google today provided some insight on its Daydream virtual reality platform and says a new version of Daydream will soon make its debut. Daydream 2.0 Euphrates targets standalone VR headsets and is powered by Android O. The entire experience is handled in virtual reality. Daydream 2.0 updates the home experience for standalone headsets and smartphones. Euphrates includes a new dashboard that will appear on top of any app and lets people remain in VR even when checking settings, reading notifications, and multitasking. Euphrates also adds Google Cast support, allowing people to pick a destination and cast from Daydream to other devices such as television sets. Daydream 2.0 makes it possible to capture screenshots and then share them via social networks. Google said there are eight Daydream compatible handsets right now, and it expects that number to increase significantly by the end of the year thanks to new entries from LG, Motorola, Asus, and others. Google believes tens of millions of Daydream devices will be in the market by the end of the year.


Cricket to Sell LG Stylo 3 Starting May 19

May 18, 2017, 11:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 19, 2017, 3:23 PM

Cricket Wireless today said it, too, will sell the LG Stylo 3 beginning May 19. A CDMA version is already available from Sprint and Boost, and a slightly higher-end Stylo 3 Plus is available from T-Mobile. The Stylo 3 has a 5.7-inch 720p HD screen, 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel front camera, and fingerprint reader. The phone includes LG's stylus and dedicated pen software. The phone runs Android 7 Nougat. Cricket Wireless has priced the LG Stylo 3 at $170.

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Google Says Samsung Galaxy S8 to Get Daydream

May 17, 2017, 1:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said Samsung will update the Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets later this summer in order to make them compatible with Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. Daydream is Google's year-old VR service that runs on select handsets. It includes a dedicated VR headset. Google also mentioned that a forthcoming flagship handset from LG will be Daydream compatible. Google is working with partners such as Qualcomm, HTC, Lenovo, and others to create more standalone Daydream headsets that should arrive later this year.


Verizon Nixes LG Watch Sport

May 17, 2017, 11:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has cancelled plans to sell the LG Watch Sport wearable. The device, announced earlier this year, was meant to reach Verizon's network this spring with LTE support. Verizon did not say why it chose to drop the device, though it is offering those who preordered the smartwatch $100 off other connected wearables. The Watch Sport is a circular, fitness-focused smartwatch that can track workouts and health data, such as distance covered and heart rate. It is still available from AT&T. Verizon is focusing on the Watch24 wearable, which is Verizon-branded smartwatch running Android Wear 2.0.


T-Mobile Kicks Off Sales of LG Stylo 3 Plus

May 17, 2017, 11:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today added the LG Stylo 3 Plus to its lineup of Android smartphones. The device is a minor update to last year's Stylo 3. For example, it improves the 5.7-inch display to full HD resolution and jumps from a MediaTek processor to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 with 3 GB RAM, 32 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 2 TB. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. The phone has a fingerprint reader on the back and include NFC for Android Pay. The Stylo 3 Plus includes a pen stylus and LG's latest pen-based features. It runs Android 7 Nougat. T-Mobile is selling the phone for $225 at full retail or for $9 per month on an installment plan. The LG Stylo 3 Plus will reach MetroPCS stores in June.


Unlocked LG G6 Reaches Amazon and B&H

May 12, 2017, 1:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said the unlocked version of its G6 flagship handset is now available from select online retailers. The G6 is on Amazon.com for $630 and on B&H.com for $599. Both Amazon and B&H will ship the phone today. LG has listed the unlocked variant on its own site for $699 with shipping dates beginning May 18. LG said the unlocked G6 will also soon be available from BestBuy.com. The unlocked G6 supports CDMA and GSM/LTE networks and is compatible with most U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. The phone features a 5.7-inch 18:9 display, normal and wide-angle cameras, and a metal-and-glass design.


Cricket Wireless Improves Data Offering

May 11, 2017, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today made its base $40 plan more attractive thanks to more data. Moving forward the plan includes 4 GB of high-speed data, which is up from 3 GB. Customers who sign up for Auto Pay can get the plan for $35 per month. Customers who already subscribe to the $40 plan will be upgraded to the new data limit automatically at the start of their next billing cycle. Cricket is also offering significant discounts on a number of its phones. For example, the Alcatel Streak, ZTE Sonata 3, Samsung Amp 2, and LG Fortune are all free to those who port in their number. These same devices can be purchases at low prices for those upgrading a line. Other deals include the LG Escape 3 for $20, the Samsung Amp Prime for $30, the LG X Power for $50, the LG Stylo 2 for $80, and the Alcatel Idol 4 for $130. Again, these prices are offered to those porting in a number from a competing carrier.


LG Begins Rollout of the X Power2 Battery-Packed Handset

May 9, 2017, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said the X power2 is now available in North America and other markets. The X power2 features an embedded 4,500mAh battery that LG says delivers 15 hours of video playback, 14 hours of real-time navigation, or 18 hours of web surfing. It includes rapid charging and soaks up 50% of its capacity when plugged in for just one hour. Other specs include a 5.5-inch 720p HD display, 1.5 GHz octa-core processor with 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. The phone has a 13-megapixel main camera and a wide-angle, 5-megapixel user-facing camera with selfie flash. LG says the phone comes in black, gray, gold, and blue. Pricing was not disclosed. None of the U.S. network operators has yet announced specific plans to carry the LG X power2


LG G6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S8: Buying Points to Consider

Apr 24, 2017, 3:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Can't decide between the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8? It's a tough choice, to be sure. These appealing Android smartphones represent the best from LG and Samsung by breaking new ground in design and refining core features along the way. Here are how these two phones compare head-to-head on a handful of essential buying points.

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LG Harmony Springs Into Cricket's Lineup

Apr 14, 2017, 11:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 14, 2017, 11:46 AM

Cricket Wireless recently added the LG Harmony to its roster of inexpensive Android handsets. The phone, which is a down-spec'd variant of the K20, has a 5.3-inch 720p display and it is powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone boasts an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and a 5-megapixel front camera. It can record full HD video. Other features include a removable 2,800mAh battery, microSD memory card slot, and Android 7 Nougat. It includes LG software features such as KnockOn, Knock Code and Gesture Shot. The phone is available in stores and online today. The LG Harmony costs $99 when activated with a new rate plan. Cricket does not require contracts.


LG Smartwatches On Deck for Android Wear 2.0

Apr 10, 2017, 7:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG indicated via its Google+ page that it intends to update a handful of its oldest smartwatches to Android Wear 2.0. First up are the G Watch R and Watch Urbane, which should receive the new operating system this week. The Watch Urbane 2nd Ed. will see Android Wear 2.0 in early May. The new operating system has been wholly rethought by Google. It includes significant usability tweaks, and core features such as messaging and Google Assistant. In February, LG launched some of the first new watches to ship with the revised platform aboard, the Watch Sport and Watch Style. The G Watch R was one of the very first Android-based smartwatches to reach the market.


Comcast Details Mobile Phone Service as Xfinity Mobile

Apr 6, 2017, 8:30 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Apr 6, 2017, 9:07 AM

Comcast today revealed details of its forthcoming Xfinity Mobile phone service. The company will use Verizon's 4G LTE network for the service, using an existing MVNO agreement. The service will also automatically, seamlessly leverage 16 million Xfinity wi-fi hotspots for free data, capacity, and coverage. The service will initially be available only to customers who use at least one other Comcast Xfinity product, but will be billed separately. Comcast's main goal is customer loyalty. Plans include unlimited data, ranging from $45 to $65 per line, depending on the Xfinity home services the customer uses. Unlimited LTE data is throttled to slower speeds after 20 GB. For metered data, customers can create their own plan at $12/GB of LTE data. Texting and voice are unlimited. A new mobile app will let users monitor usage and change data plans on the fly. Customers can switch from metered to unlimited at any time via the app, even in the middle of a billing period, and the change will be retroactive without penalty. Customer service will be available via text messaging. The company will offer a range of phones, including the Apple iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S8, and LG X Power. Phones will be available for full price or on an installment plan. The company is launching a large trial of Xfinity Mobile today, open to all Comcast employees. It will launch for consumers in the coming weeks.


Google, Seeking Patent Peace, Debuts PAX Licensing Network

Apr 3, 2017, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced PAX, a patent-licensing initiative for Android that the company hopes will help resolve and/or prevent patent-related threats. Companies that join PAX give each other royalty-free patent licenses that cover Android and Google applications on compatible devices. The founding members of PAX include Google, Samsung, LG, Foxconn, HMD Global, HTC, Coolpad, BQ, and Allview. Together, these companies own some 230,000 patents. Google says the patent pool will only grow as more companies join the network. "We believe PAX will further expand the openness of Android for its members, promoting patent peace that will free up time and money for members, who can then dedicate those resources to creating new ideas," said Google. PAX is free for companies to join. Electronics companies often use technology patents as revenue sources, and litigate in order to seek payment. PAX may help reduce patent-based litigation depending on which companies join and what patents are cross-licensed with the group.


T-Mobile's LG K20 Plus Packs Better Specs

Mar 23, 2017, 2:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 23, 2017, 2:28 PM

T-Mobile recently rolled out its own variant of the LG K20 and the phone has somewhat better specifications when compared to the Verizon variant of the same handset. The T-Mobile K20 includes the same 5.3-inch 720p display and 1.4 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, but improves RAM to 2 GB of RAM and storage to 32 GB. The phone boasts a 13-megapixel main camera with flash and a 5-megapixel front camera with selfie flash. It can record video up to 1080p HD. Other features include a 2,700mAh removable battery, microSD memory card slot, and Android 7 Nougat. The LG K20 Plus is already for sale from T-Mobile for $200. The K20 Plus is also known as the K10 (2017).


LG K20 V Hits Verizon Today for $170

Mar 23, 2017, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today added the low-cost LG K20 V to its lineup of Android smartphones. The K20 V features a metal frame and rear-mounted fingerprint reader for security. The phone has a 5.3-inch 720p display and it is powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone boasts a 13-megapixel main camera with flash and a 5-megapixel front camera. It can record video up to 720p HD. Other features include a 2,800mAh removable battery, microSD memory card slot, and Android 7 Nougat. The phone is available in stores and online today. The full retail price is $168, but Verizon is asking for just $99 with a two-year activation.


Verizon Bundling Free TV with LG G6

Mar 16, 2017, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless' launch plans for the LG G6 include a free LG television set. To start, Verizon is asking $28 per month for 24 months, or about $672 in total for the LG G6. For a limited time, customers can get a free LG 43-inch Smart TV when activating an LG G6 on a new Verizon Unlimited service plan. In order to get the TV, customers need to remain with Verizon for at least six months and then submit a claim. The TV will be shipped 8 to 10 weeks after the claim is made. Verizon Wireless is also offering up to $200 on select trade-ins. The trade-ins must be in good, working condition and are limited to the Apple iPhone 6, 6 Plus and SE; the HTC 10; the LG G4, G5, V10, or V20; or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or 5, S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, S7, and S7 edge. Last, LG G6 buyers qualify for a free Google Home from LG. Preorders begin March 17 and Verizon will begin shipping the LG G6 on March 30.


AT&T Launching LG G6 with 2-for-1 Offer

Mar 16, 2017, 9:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced its plans to sell the LG G6 and the company is going a step further than competitor T-Mobile. For a limited time, people who purchase an LG G6 can score a second LG G6 when adding a new line. AT&T is asking for $24 per month for 30 months to cover the cost of the phone, or about $720 in total. The offer requires both lines use an AT&T Next installment plan, and the cost of the second device will be covered on a month-to-month basis. In addition to the two-for-one offer, customers who buy the LG G6 before April 30 will be given a free Google Home by LG. Last, AT&T customers who buy an LG G6 can get the LG Watch Sport for $50 with a two-year service agreement on the wearable. AT&T will start taking preorders for the LG G6 on March 17, with orders shipping on April 7.


T-Mobile to Sell LG G6 Starting April 7 for $650

Mar 16, 2017, 8:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 16, 2017, 9:02 AM

T-Mobile today said customers can buy the LG G6 online and in stores beginning April 7. T-Mobile is asking for $26 down and $26 per month for 24 months to cover the phone's $650 retail cost. Further, T-Mobile customers who order the G6 before April 30 will receive a Google Home from LG for free. The Google Home normally costs $129. The LG G6 has a 5.7-inch screen with an 18:9, or 2:1, aspect ratio. Other features include a Snapdragon 821 processor, dual 13-megapixel cameras, and a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. The phone is made from metal and glass and is waterproof. It runs Android 7 Nougat and includes the Google Assistant.


Boost and Virgin Mobile Selling LG Stylo 3 for $180

Mar 14, 2017, 1:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint-owned Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today both kicked off sales of the LG Stylo 3. The device, first announced late last year, features a 5.7-inch 720p display. It is powered by a 1.4 GHz octa-core processor from MediaTek with 3 GB RAM, 16 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 2 TB. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. Other features include a removable 3,200mAh battery, FM radio, and fingerprint sensor. The Stylo 3 includes a new stylus. LG said it improved screen feedback for a more natural feel. The revised pen-based software includes PenPop 2.0 (memos are never out of sight), Pen Keeper (warning system to prevent stylus loss), and Screen-Off Memo (note-taking even when the screen is off). Both prepaid carriers are asking $180 for the phone, which is available online and in stores.


Cricket Wireless Adds LG Fortune to Roster

Mar 13, 2017, 11:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced the LG Fortune, a low-cost Android handset for its prepaid service. The phone features a 5-inch FWVGA display and a 1.1 GHz quad-core processor. The Fortune include 5-megapixel cameras on front and back, and can capture full HD video. Other specs include a 2,500mAh battery, Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, LTE, and support for memory cards up to 32 GB. The phone runs Android 6 Marshmallow. The LG Fortune is available via Cricket's web site for $90.


U.S. Cellular Debuts LG K8 and Unlimited Plan

Mar 13, 2017, 8:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular recently added the LG K8 (2017) to its roster of inexpensive Android smartphones. The K8 features a 5-inch 720p HD screen and it is powered by a 1.9 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor. The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with flash and the user-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Both cameras include LG's gesture controls. Other specs include 16 GB of storage with support for memory cards, 2,500mAh battery, Bluetooth, WiFi, LTE, and Android 7 Nougat. The LG K8 costs $50. The K8 is also sold by MetroPCS. In other U.S. Cellular news, the company recently added an unlimited plan to its service offerings. The plan costs $60 per month and includes unlimited talk, text, and data with all taxes and fees included. U.S. Cellular doesn't charge overages, but will slow the speeds of customers who use excessive amounts of data (>22GB). Other options include 6 GB for $50 per month or 2 GB for $40 per month. Monthly discounts are available for additional lines. Autopay and paperless billing are required to qualify for these prices.


AT&T Says LG Phoenix 3 to Reach GoPhone March 10

Mar 8, 2017, 8:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 8, 2017, 9:02 AM

AT&T recently announced the LG Phoenix 3, a low-cost Android handset intended for its GoPhone prepaid service. The device includes a 5-inch FWVGA display, and it is powered by a quad-core processor with 16 GB of storage. Both the front and rear cameras have 5-megapixel sensors, and the user-facing cam includes a selfie light. Other features include a slim design, 2,500mAh battery, and Android 6 Marshmallow. The LG Phoenix 3 goes on sale online and in stores March 10 for $80.


LG Says G4 and V10 To Receive Nougat Eventually

Mar 6, 2017, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said it plans to provide the Android 7 Nougat system update to its mid-2015 flagship phone, the G4, and its late-2015 high-end camera handset, the V10. The company said in a blog post that these phones were designed with Android 5 and Android 6 in mind, but customer feedback has forced LG to rethink its position on the phones' software. The company expects to have Android 7 ready for the V10 by the second quarter of this year, with the G4 to follow during the third quarter. LG says this upgrade schedule applies only to the G4 and V10 in Korea. The company will announce Android 7 Nougat update plans for the G4 and V10 in other markets at a later time.


Cricket Drops Price of Unlimited Plan, Says HD Voice On the Way

Mar 1, 2017, 10:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today lowered the price of its unlimited service plan to $60 per month for a single line. The plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data (speeds capped at 8Mbps), with taxes and fees included. Families can save on additional lines; a second line costs $50 per month, a third line costs $40, a fourth line costs $30, and a fifth line costs $20. Together, families can get four lines of unlimited service for $180 or five lines for $200. The company is offering a choice of several free handsets to those who switch to Cricket, including the Samsung Galaxy Amp 2, the LG Spree, the ZTE Sonata, or the Alcatel Streak. Last, Cricket plans to improve its service in the months ahead with new features, including HD Voice and WiFi calling.


Hands On with the LG X power2

Feb 27, 2017, 11:03 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 27, 2017, 11:11 AM

LG's X power was a unique phone focused almost exclusively on having an unusually large battery. This year's update improves almost every spec, including battery size (naturally), screen size, camera resolution, and memory. With fast charging, it's a battery beast. What's it like in person? We find out.

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Hands On with the LG G6

Feb 26, 2017, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 26, 2017, 8:39 AM

LG's flagship handset for the year is the gorgeous G6. It's a beautiful handset that packs an a amazing amount of technology into its slim frame. This may be the first year wherein LG's flagship truly goes toe-to-toe with the best from Apple and Samsung. Here are our first impressions of the LG G6.

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LG G6 Is Rugged, Waterproof, and Powerful

Feb 26, 2017, 7:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G6, its flagship smartphone for 2017, which is meant to compete with the Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8. The G6 features a sleek metal-and-glass design that keeps the footprint at a minimum despite the large screen. The G6 packs a unique 5.7-inch qHD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and curved corners. The rounded corders of the display, along with the rigid aluminum chassis and Gorilla Glass 3, make the display less prone to breakage when dropped. LG has tweaked the UI to take advantage of the added real estate with additional software controls that appear in select apps. The camera app, in particular, takes advantage of the 18:9 (or, if you prefer, 2:1) aspect ratio to allow for two side-by-side square photos when shooting, along with an always-visible film strip. The camera itself boasts two, identical 13-megapixel sensors, one with a 125-degree wide field of view, and the other with a standard field of view. The camera capture 4K video and includes a two-tone flash. LG selected a 5-megapixel sensor for the user-facing camera, which has a 100-degree field of view, a selfie flash via the LCD screen, and advanced beautification controls. It records full HD video. The LG G6 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The phone supports microSD memory cards up to 2 TB. LG improved the battery in size when compared to last year's G5 to 3,300mAh. It supports Quick Charge 3.0 rapid charging and Qi/AirFuel wireless charging through the Gorilla Glass 5 rear panel. LG said the phone will support myriad LTE bands, including those used by all four carriers in the U.S. Pricing and exact availability are expected to be announced by LG's carrier partners, though the retail launch is expected by March 10.


More Carriers and Phone Makers Agree to Adopt Google's RCS-Based 'Android Messages' Service

Feb 24, 2017, 7:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said more wireless network operators and handset manufacturers will use Android Messages, its RCS-based messaging service, as the default SMS/MMS tool on their phones. (Android Messages was previously known as Google Messenger.) Some of the features of RCS, which is a global standard, include group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, advanced calling features, and read receipts. It has been improved lately with more interactive tools, such as the ability to check into flights. Google says a number of brands plan to use RCS in order to enhance their own services and help spur adoption. Some of the brands include Walgreens, Baskin-Robbins, FICO, Gamestop, Sonic, Subway, and Time. Moving forward, the Android Messages app with RCS will be preloaded by LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Micromax, HMD Global, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, Lanix, LeEco, Lava, Kyocera, MyPhone, QMobile, Symphony, and Wiko, along with Google's own Pixel and Android One devices. Further, Google was already working with carriers Sprint, Rogers, and Telenor, and today added Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, and Globe. Notably absent fro the list of phone makers is Samsung, while AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have also yet to commit. Phones with Android Messages on board will still be able to interact with Samsung handsets and those running on non-Sprint networks of course, but will lose the advanced features available via RCS. Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon haven't said if or when they might adopt Google's Android Messages, though T-Mobile and Verizon already use their own RCS-like messaging platforms.


LG's X Power 2 Packs a 4,500mAh Battery

Feb 24, 2017, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the X power2, a follow up to last year's bountiful, battery-boasting handset. The X power2 features an embedded 4,500mAh battery that LG says delivers 15 hours of video playback, 14 hours of real-time navigations, or 18 hours of web surfing. It included rapid charging and soaks up 50% of its capacity when plugged in for just one hour. Other specs include a 5.5-inch HD display, 1.5 GHz, octa-core processor with 1.5/2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, LTE, Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS. The phone has a 13-megapixel main camera and a wide-angle, 5-megapixel user-facing camera with selfie flash. LG says the phone comes in black, gray, gold, and blue. It will ship to several regions, including the U.S. later this year. Pricing was not disclosed.


LG's G6 to Carry Dual 13MP Rear Cameras

Feb 20, 2017, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said its forthcoming G6 flagship smartphone will include two rear-mounted cameras and a single front-facing camera in much the same vein as last year's V20. The rear cameras will each capture 13 megapixels, says LG, with one taking standard field-of-view shots and the other taking 125-degree, wide-angle shots. LG says users will be able to switch between the two cameras seamlessly with no delay, and the wide-angle lens reduces optical distortion around the outer edges for cleaner pictures. LG said the cameras have equal resolution sensors due to consumer feedback wishing for higher quality images from the secondary camera. LG didn't specify the resolution of the user-facing camera on front, but did indicate it, too, takes wide-angle pictures with a field of view measuring 100 degrees. Moreover, LG has added a handful of new tools to the user-facing camera for self portraits, including the ability to combine between 2 and 100 images to create GIFs. Other features headed to the G6 camera include an enhanced food mode, and 360-degree panoramas for virtual reality apps captured via the wide-angle camera on the rear. LG has already shared lots of the G6's features ahead of the phone's expected Feb. 26 debut.


LG G6 to Feature New User Experience to Match 'FullVision' Display

Feb 16, 2017, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has developed a new version of its Android user interface skin in order to take advantage of the unique 18:9 aspect ratio display of its forthcoming G6 flagship smartphone. The phone's display will measure 5.7 inches across the diagonal with 2880 by 1440 pixels. LG is marketing the size and aspect ratio as a FullVision screen. To start, LG will use more pixels at the top and bottom of the screen to display useful controls and information within select apps, such as the browser, video player, and games. The 18:9 ratio means LG can split the UI into two equally-sized squares. LG envisions that this will be particularly useful when multitasking with two apps open side-by-side at the same time. Some apps, such as the calendar, will be able to make use of both windows. For example, the calendar can show the full month in one square with a detailed view of the user's agenda in the other. Moreover, the camera will include a 1:1 shooting mode that lets people see their most recent shot in one square next to a live look at their subject through the viewfinder. The camera also gains a new food mode and GIF creator. LG has teased a number of the G6's other features in recent weeks, suggesting it will be reliable, waterproof, and more. LG is expected to announce the phone on Feb. 26 during the Mobile World Congress trade show.


Google Bringing Original Content to YouTube Kids App

Feb 13, 2017, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said it has a handful of new programs for its YouTube Kids service on deck. Specifically, subscribers to YouTube Red (Google's ad-free version of YouTube) will be able to watch four kid-focused series called Hyperlinked, DanTDM Creates a Big Scene, The King of Atlantis, and Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force. Google said it worked with Susanne Daniels to develop the shows, which are currently in production. Google expects these four shows to reach YouTube this spring with more originals to debut later this year. In addition to the new programming, Google plans to release a version of YouTube Kids for certain LG and Samsung Smart TVs. The Smart TV app will let children access their favorite YouTube Kids content — all with the same parental controls available to the mobile app — from their television set.


Verizon Rolls Out Trade-In Offer to Match New Unlimited Plan

Feb 13, 2017, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced a promotional trade-in offer that will give a free flagship-class phone to those who switch from other carriers. The offer requires users to select Verizon's new $80 monthly unlimited plan. It also requires a working trade-in that is fully paid off. Customers will need to port their number in from a competing service provider. Customers can then select the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel, Moto Z Droid, Moto Z Force Droid, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, or LG V20. Verizon will provide up to $792 toward the cost of the phone spread out over 24 months. In order to get one of the above phones for free, switchers will need to trade-in the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Note 5, LG G5, LG V20, or the HTC 10. Customers who have an older phone to trade, such as the Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Note 4, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G4, LG V10, or HTC M9, will need to pay $5 per month for the "free" phones being offered by Verizon. Verizon Wireless didn't say how long this promotion will be available.


T-Mobile Brings Back Free Pizza and Tablet Promos

Feb 10, 2017, 8:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced several promotions that customers can take advantage of over the next few weeks. To start, the company is offering a free pizza to customers who use its T-Mobile Tuesdays rewards program. T-Mobile said every line enrolled in T-Mobile Tuesdays can score a free pizza from Papa John's during one of the next four weeks. During the other three weeks, customers will be given a coupon for 25% off a regular menu item at Papa John's. On Feb. 14 (Valentine's Day), T-Mobile is also including a free Lyft ride and free movie rental from FandangoNOW. Separately, T-Mobile is bringing back its free tablet offer. Any customer who finances either an LG G Pad X 8.0 or Samsung Tab E on a T-Mobile Equipment Installment Plan is eligible for free monthly reimbursements over a two-year period. In order to get the free tablet, customers will have to put the device on a T-Mobile One or other mobile internet plan with at least 6 GB of high-speed data. T-Mobile said the free table offer is available for a limited time.


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