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printed July 29, 2015
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Moto X Play Boasts Better Battery Life

Yesterday, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Yesterday, 8:34 AM

Motorola today showed off a variant of the Moto X called the Moto X Play, which indulges a 3,630mAh battery with Quick Charge technology. Motorola says the handset can last two days on a charge, and can gather 8 hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging. The Moto X Plat has a 5.5-inch full HD screen, 21-megapixel camera, Qualcomm 610 processor, and 5-megapixel user-facing camera. It will be available in August. Pricing was not yet disclosed, but Motorola said it is not announcing U.S. availability at this time.

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LG Terra, Flip World Phone, Lands On Verizon Wireless

Sunday, 6:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently added the LG Terra to its lineup of basic feature phones. The Terra is a flip phone that runs a simple operating system with features such as text-to-speech for listening to text messages and photo ID for identifying incoming calls. The handset operates on Verizon's CDMA 1x network in the U.S., but includes quad-band GSM/EDGE radios, too, so it can be used when roaming abroad in more than 200 countries. Other features include a 2.4-inch main display, 1.77-inch secondary display, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. The LG Terra cots $96 at full price, or $4 per month with a Verizon Edge payment plan.


LG Display to Amp Up Flexible Display Production

Jul 23, 2015, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display said it intends to invest about $907 million in a new plant that will focus on making flexible displays. The company said it believes smartphone makers will begin to increase demand for such screens in the years ahead. LG Display expects to begin production of its sixth-generation substrate sheets by the first half of 2017. The company says this new process can deliver more than 200 5.5-inch plastic OLED displays from a single substrate, which is four times more than its fourth-generation substrate. LG was one of the first to bring a smartphone with a flexible plastic OLED screen to market, the LG G Flex. LG's new line will join others in Gumi City, where LG says it has invested $12.1 billion over the years and created thousands of jobs.


Sprint Spreads the LG Tribute 2 to Virgin and Sprint Prepaid

Jul 20, 2015, 10:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced the LG Tribute 2 is now available from Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepaid. The Tribute 2 has LG's signature rear-placed buttons, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with LG's Knock Code, QuickMemo, and selfie camera tools. The screen measures 4.5 inches and offers 854 x 480 resolution. The Tribute 2 also includes a 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front camera, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of ROM. Virgin Mobile is selling the phone as the LG Tribute 2, but Sprint Prepaid has rebranded it to the Tribute Duo. It costs $99. Sprint-owned Boost Mobile is already selling the Tribute 2.


MetroPCS Dangles Free Data to Tempt Switchers

Jul 20, 2015, 8:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS today announced several promotions meant to entice consumers to ditch their carrier in favor of MetroPCS. For starters, customers who activate a new line on a $40 or higher service plan will receive an extra 1GB of LTE data per month on top of whatever data bucket they choose. The extra 1GB will remain with the line as long as the customer sticks with MetroPCS. Customers who port their number will be eligible for a $50 rebate on a new phone. MetroPCS is also offering a package deal on the LG Leon. MetroPCS is selling the Leon with a month of service (unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of data) for $59 after a mail-in rebate. Today's promotions are available only in stores.


G4 Beat Is a Less Expensive Variant of LG's Flagship

Jul 9, 2015, 6:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G4 Beat, a budget-minded version of the G4. The G4 Beat retains the G4's general size and appearance, but dials back the specs in order to drop the price tag. For example, the 5.2-inch screen has full HD resolution instead of quad HD resolution and the camera has an 8-megapixel sensor instead of a 16-megapixel sensor. The G4 Beat is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the main camera features LG's laser-assisted focus. Wireless radios include 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes in several different colors. LG said the G4 Beat will be sold in Europe and Latin America first, followed by other regions later. LG didn't say if the G4 Beat will reach the U.S.


CTIA Says Smartphones Better Protected Against Theft

Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Beginning today, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will include anti-theft security tools. July 1 marks the day by which phone makers and network operators agreed to implement free theft deterrents on smartphones. According to the CTIA, most of the industry has responded by placing remote lock/wipe capabilities on consumer devices. The addition of an activation lock on the Apple iPhone, for example, has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in major cities. The activation lock prevents a stolen device from being activated by another person, thus making it useless to thieves. Remote wipe features allow people to erase the personal data from their handset if lost/stolen to protect their identity. The major participants in today's action include Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and ZTE. "Today's fulfillment of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is another example of the wireless industry proactively working together with policymakers and law enforcement to help protect consumers' smartphones in the event they are ever lost or stolen. We will continue to work with all interested parties to continue to deploy new technologies and tools to improve device theft-deterrence tools. We remind consumers to take a few minutes to use PINs, passwords, apps and other device features to protect their mobile devices and personal information." The industry was coerced into acting "voluntarily" when the FCC threatened to make such protective measures mandatory.


Boost Mobile Scores LG Volt 2 and Tribute 2

Jun 29, 2015, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 29, 2015, 11:24 AM

Boost Mobile today announced the LG Volt 2 and LG Tribute 2, updates to two of last year's big sellers for the prepaid carrier. Both devices share several hardware features, such as LG's signature rear-placed buttons, 1.2 GHz quad-core processors, LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi. They also boast similar software, such as Android 5.1 Lollipop with LG's Knock Code, QuickMemo, and selfie camera tools.

  • Volt 2: The second-generation Volt (pictured) improves the screen from a 4.7-inch qHD display to a 5-inch 720p display. The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and the front camera has been improved from 1.3 megapixels to 5 megapixels. It has a 2,540mAh battery.
  • Tribute 2: The less expensive of these two handsets keeps the screen at 4.5 inches, but improves resolution from 800 x 480 pixels to 854 x 480 pixels. The 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front camera, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of ROM are carried over from last year's phone. It has a 1,900mAh battery.
The LG Volt 2 and Tribute 2 are available from Boost's web site beginning today. The Volt 2 cost $149.99 and the Tribute 2 cost $99.99.


LG Agrees to Pay Nokia Royalties, But Rates Not Settled

Jun 16, 2015, 11:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has signed a patent-licensing agreement with Nokia over smartphone technology, but the companies have yet to agree on pricing for the patents. Nokia may have sold its handset business to Microsoft, but it retained many of the related patents for licensing purposes. Nokia and LG have agreed to enter arbitration to settle pricing for the patents in question. The arbitration period is scheduled to conclude within two years. In the meantime, LG will be able to use Nokia's patented technology in its own smartphones. Patent-licensing has been a contentious issue for smartphone companies over the years. Samsung is currently in a similar arbitration arrangement with Nokia, which should be settled soon. Nokia's patent business earned the company $649 million in 2014. Nokia's main focus is its telecommunications and networking gear business.


Boost Mobile Scores Live Sports App

Jun 2, 2015, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile today announced the launch of BoostTV. BoostTV is a video service that offers limited content for free. The video is streamed over Boost's network. Boost is also offering a premium $10 add-on called BoostTV Live Sports. The sports package provides access to a handful of extra channels, including AyM Sports, Azteca America, BeIN Sports, BeIN Sports en EspaƱol, Fightbox, Latin American Sports, and TyC. The package also provides access to live soccer matches, such as the upcoming Copa America. BoostTV is available to the HTC Desire, LG Tribute, Motorola E, and the Samsung Galaxy Prevail LTE, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S6. Boost Mobile said more handsets will be supported over time. The BoostTV app itself is free to download from the Google Play Store. Sprint is offering the same Live Sports TV service to its regular, postpaid customers, too. It is available to most Android and iOS smartphones sold by Sprint.


AT&T Details LG G4 Launch Plans

May 28, 2015, 9:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today was the last of the major carriers to disclose its plans for launching the LG G4 smartphone. AT&T said it will begin taking pre-orders for the device at 12:01 am on May 29. The G4 will reach company stores on June 5. AT&T is offering the metallic gray and black leather models, and has several financing options in place for the handset. The gray plastic version is available for $21 per month for 30 months with an AT&T Next 24 plan; $26.25 for 24 months with Next 18; or $31.50 for 20 months with Next 12. Customers may also buy the LG G4 for $199.99 with a two-year contract or for $629.99 at full retail price. The black leather model costs more. It's pricing runs $22.34 per month for 30 months with AT&T Next 24; $29.92 with Next 18; or $33.50 with Next 12. The black model costs $239.99 on contract or $669.99 at full retail. AT&T is also offering the LG G Pad F 8.0 for $0.99 to customers who buy an LG G4. Last, AT&T is offering a 32 GB memory card and battery bundle to those who order the LG G4 early.


Verizon LG G4 Presales Begin Today, Reaches Stores June 4

May 28, 2015, 6:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said customers can begin placing orders for the LG G4 today. Early orders will likely ship before the G4 reaches stores on June 4. Verizon is offering the G4 via its Edge payment plans for $22.91 per month for 25 months or at the full retail price of $549.99. Verizon is selling the white and gray plastic versions, as well as the black leather model. Like other carriers, Verizon and LG are offering a free 32 GB memory card, free battery, and free battery charger to those place orders early. Verizon is also selling the new LG G Pad X8.3 tablet for $12.49 per month for 24 months or $299.99. Customers who buy the LG G4 can snag the X8.3 for just $49.99, though a two-year contract is required. Last, Verizon is offering a $100 bill credit to customers who port their number to Verizon and activate a new smartphone via its Edge payment plans.


US Cellular to Sell LG G4 On June 4

May 26, 2015, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S Cellular today joined Sprint and T-Mobile in announcing planned availability for the LG G4 smartphone. U.S. Cellular will begin taking preorders on May 29 and the phone will reach stores June 4. U.S. Cellular is asking for $199 with a two-year contract, $29.50 per month for 24 months for the plastic rear cover, or $30.50 per month for 24 months for the black leather cover.


T-Mobile to Launch LG G4 On June 3

May 26, 2015, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it will begin selling its version of the LG G4 on June 3, with preorders beginning May 27. T-Mobile is offering the G4 for the full retail price of $599.76 or for $24.99 per month for 24 months with a Simple Choice. T-Mobile and LG are offering a 128 GB microSD memory card for free with the purchase of a G4 through June 21. T-Mobile says it will be the only U.S. carrier to offer the brown leather back cover for the G4; it also plans to sell the metallic silver model. The LG G4 has a 5.5-inch quad HD screen, Snapdragon 808 processor, and a 16-megapixel camera.


Sprint to Launch LG G4 On June 5

May 22, 2015, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 22, 2015, 8:39 AM

Sprint today announced launch details regarding the LG G4 smartphone, which will be available in stores and online beginning June 5. Sprint is offering a wide range of purchasing options for the phone. First, via the Sprint Lease the G4 will be available for $0 followed by $18 per month for 24 months. At the end of the lease, customers can turn the G4 in for another handset, or buyout the remaining value of the lease. Alternately, customers can use Sprint Easy Pay to finance the device over 24 months. Sprint Easy Pay doesn't require a down payment, but costs $25 per month for 24 months. Sprint will also sell the G4 for $199.99 with a standard two-year contract, or for the full retail price of $599.99 without a contract. Sprint plans to offer the plastic gray back plate or the black leather back plate. The phone has a 5.5-inch quad HD screen, Snapdragon 808 processor, and a 16-megapixel camera. Customers who preorder may receive a second 3,000mAh battery with charging cradle and a 32GB memory card for free. Preorders begin today.


T-Mobile Serving Up Variety of Memorial Day Promos

May 20, 2015, 12:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced a handful of device and service promotions that will become available over the holiday weekend. To start, T-Mobile is offering a free memory upgrade to buyers of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. From May 23 through May 25, the 64 GB model will cost the same as the 32 GB model. Customers who buy the 32 GB will receive a $50 Visa gift card. Following their appearance on T-Mobile's web site earlier this month, the company shared pricing details for the LG Stylo and Leon. The Stylo will cost $289.92 at full retail or $12.08 per month and the Leon will cost $149.76 at full retail or $6.24 per month. T-Mobile Prepaid customers can score the Leon for free with an online rebate. T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS will also sell the Stylo and Leon for $199 and $49, respectively, after online rebates. Customers who switch to MetroPCS from a competing carrier will receive a free LG Leon or $50 toward the phone of their choice. Last, MetroPCS is recirculating the 4x100 promotion. Customers can get four lines with unlimited talk, text, and 2 GB of data per line for a total of $100.


LG Shows Off the G4c, A Smaller, Less-Expensive G4

May 19, 2015, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G4c smartphone, a smaller and less-costly version of the G4 handset. The G4c has a 5.0-inch screen at 720p HD and runs a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor at 1.4 GHz with 1 GB of RAM. The phone has an 8-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel user-facing camera; 2,450mAh battery; and a handful of radios, including LTE 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS, and GLONASS. The LG G4c runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and includes LG software functions, such as Knock On, Knock Code, Quick Memo, and QSlide apps. LG said the G4c will reach key markets in the weeks ahead. LG also made the G4 Stylus more official. The G4 Stylus is being sold by carriers in the U.S. as the Stylo.


LG Begins Global Rollout of the G4

May 17, 2015, 9:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said it will begin the global rollout of the G4 smartphone this week. The first countries to see the G4 include Turkey, Russia and Singapore. They will be followed by most of Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, Middle East/Africa, and South/Central America. LG said about 180 carriers plan to sell device worldwide. U.S. carriers have yet to reveal their specific launch details. Most are expected to carry the phone at some point in June.


AT&T Reveals the LG Escape 2

May 16, 2015, 3:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T's web site recently provided details about an unannounced handset from LG called the Escape 2. The Escape 2 has specs similar to the LG Spirit, which was announced earlier this year. The Escape 2 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's user experience, including Knock On, Knock Code, Quick Memo, and QSlide apps, according to the user manual. The phone has a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage. The Escape 2 boasts LG's rear-positioned button array and a slight curve to design. Other specs include a 4.7-inch HD display, front and rear cameras, and 2,100mAh battery. AT&T's web site did not say when the Escape 2 will go on sale, nor how much it might cost.

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Verizon Adds LG Lancet to Windows Phone Lineup

May 14, 2015, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the LG Lancet, the first Windows Phone handset to support Verizon's Advanced Calling 1.0 service. Lancet owners will be able to make high-definition voice calls via Verizon's LTE network. The phone runs Windows 8.1, but carries over some features from LG's Android handsets, such as KnockOn for waking the phone and Quick Memo for capturing screen shots. The Lancet features a 4.5-inch screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 8 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 128 GB. The Lancet is a budget-friendly phone. The full retail price is $120, though Verizon is offering the phone for $5 per month with a Verizon Edge plan. The LG Lancet is available online starting today, and it will reach Verizon stores May 21.


Boost, Sprint to Sell LG G Stylo for $199

May 13, 2015, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 14, 2015, 3:17 PM

Boost Mobile today announced the immediate availability of the LG G Stylo. The G Stylo, also being sold by T-Mobile, features a 5.7-inch 720p HD display and a stylus. It also carries a 8-megapixel camera main camera, 5-megapixel user-facing camera, quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 processor with 1 GB RAM, and 8 GB of internal storage. The Stylo supports memory cards up to 32 GB and packs a 3,000mAh battery. The phone runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's user interface, which includes Knock Code and QuickMemo. Boost Mobile is selling the phone for $199.99. Sprint Prepaid will also sell the device at $199.99 beginning June 7.


T-Mobile to Carry LG G Stylo and Leon

May 12, 2015, 5:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile recently revealed it will soon sell the LG G Stylo and Leon handsets. The G Stylo features a 5.7-inch 720P HD display and includes a stylus. It also boasts a 13-megapixel camera, quad-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410 processor with 2 GB RAM, and 16 GB internal storage. The Stylo also supports memory cards up to 128 GB and packs a 3,000mAh battery. The Leon, which LG announced earlier this year, has a 4.5-inch FWVGA display with a 5-megapixel main camera, a VGA user-facing camera, and a 1,900mAh battery. Both phones run Android 5.0 Lollipop and support T-Mobile's LTE 4G network. Pricing and availability are not yet certain. The news was first reported by TMoNews.


LG Opens Registration for Consumer G4 Trial Program

May 5, 2015, 9:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG is going to let select consumers test the G4 smartphone ahead of the phone's official release in June. Consumers interested in trialling the phone need to register with LG, which will select participants at random. LG said recipients will receive the GSM-compatible phone for free and will be asked to participate in select social media activities and challenges. LG said spots in the trial program are limited. The G4 is LG's flagship smartphone for the year. It features a 5.5-inch quad HD screen, 16-megapixel camera, octa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, and an optional leather battery cover. Most U.S. carriers plan to sell the phone in June.


LG Logos Hits U.S. Cellular

May 4, 2015, 12:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular today launched the LG Logos, a modified version of the LG Spirit that was announced earlier this year. The Logos runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with LG's user experience. It includes a 1.2 GHz quad-core processors with 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage. The Logos boasts LG's rear-positioned button array and a slight curve to design, which LG says helps the device fit better in the hand. Other specs include a 4.7-inch HD display, 5-megapixel main camera (different from the Spirit's 8-megapixel shooter), 1-megapixel user-facing camera, and 2,100mAh battery. The U.S. Logos is on sale beginning today for $99. It can be paired with once of U.S. Cellular's Simple Connect Prepaid plans, which start at $45 for 1 GB of LTE 4G data.


TextNow Offering Unlimited Talk and Text, Plus 500MB for $19

Apr 30, 2015, 1:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

TextNow Wireless today announced new pricing for its service plans and added two handsets to its lineup. TextNow Wireless offers all customers unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of data for $18.99 per month. Similar to Google's recently-announced Project Fi, TextNow runs on Sprint's cellular network but defaults to WiFi connections whenever possible. The service is available to most any device (phone, tablet, PC) for WiFi-based calling and texting, and customers can use their TextNow number no matter which form factor they choose. Customers can upgrade to 1 GB of cellular data for $26.99 per month, 2 GB for $39.99, or 4 GB for $59.99. All plans include taxes and fees. In addition to the reworked plans, TextNow Wireless now sells the Google Nexus 5 ($249) and Motorola Moto X ($149). TextNow Wireless already offers a number of new and refurbished Sprint devices, including the Moto G, LG Optimus F3, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy S4.


AT&T, Verizon Pledge Support for LG G4, Too

Apr 28, 2015, 5:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and Verizon Wireless followed Sprint and T-Mobile today in announcing plans to sell the LG G4 later this year. Neither of the nation's two largest carriers said exactly when the phone will go on sale nor how much they'll charge for the new phone. Verizon did say its variant of the G4 will support VoLTE and HD Voice.


Hands-On: LG G4

Apr 28, 2015, 12:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG revealed the G4 at an event in New York City today. The phone boasts an impressive spec sheet and an optional leather rear cover. LG claims the phone offers superior camera and screen performance when compared to the competition. Here are our initial impressions.

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Sprint, T-Mobile Say LG G4 to Ship in June

Apr 28, 2015, 11:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint and T-Mobile followed LG's debut of the G4 smartphone with details of their own launch plans. Sprint said it will offer the G4 in black leather and metallic gray. T-Mobile didn't specify which colors it will offer, but is kicking off a preview program for the phone that will let consumers try the device for free. The program is officially a sweepstakes being run by T-Mobile, and it will give away a G4 once per day until the phone reaches stores. Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile said how much they'll charge for the LG G4, but said the device isn't expected to reach carrier stores until June.


LG's Leather-Clad G4 Steps Into the Ring

Apr 28, 2015, 10:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 28, 2015, 11:15 AM

LG today announced the G4, its 2015 flagship smartphone. The G4 is skinned in "vegetable-tanned" leather in a bid to set the phone apart from competing designs from Apple, HTC, and Samsung. Like its predecessors, the G4's main controls are placed on the back of the phone, something LG contends makes for easier use. The phone features a packed spec sheet, marking LG's intent on delivering a premium experience to G4 owners. For those not interested in leather, the G4 has other materials available for the back cover, such as "hammered metal." The screen has a 5.5-inch quad HD IPS Quantum display, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with X10 LTE. Qualcomm said it specially tuned the 808 for the LG G4 to improve call quality and offer (theoretical) download speeds of 400 Mbps. Qualcomm says its work on the 808 pushes battery life beyond a single day, and its sensor-based location services are more accurate than GPS alone. The phone's camera features a wide aperture of f/1.8 and captures 16 megapixel images. It has laser-assisted focus, fast optical image stabilization, and a color spectrum sensor to read visible and infrared light to help improve color. The phone can shoot in raw format, and can also capture 4K video. The 3,000Ah battery is removable, as well as support for memory cards. The user-facing camera boasts 8-megapixels and LG says it made improvements to the Gesture Shot feature to make selfies faster and easier to snap. The phone features the fourth-generation user interface from LG, which is based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. It relies on Google's apps for many functions and added something called Quick Help for searching the phone and the web. LG didn't say when the phone will be available, but carriers are likely to provide those details soon.


Liveblog of LG's G4 Launch Event

Apr 28, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Rich Brome

LG is holding a major launch event today, and hasn't been shy about dropping hints as to the content. Their new flagship phone for 2015 - the G4 - will be announced. Advance hints have us expecting a stitched leather back (at least as an option) and an advanced camera with a large, high-quality lens and a raw photo mode. We'll be reporting live from the event in downtown NYC. Tune in here.

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AT&T to Sell LG G Flex 2 April 24

Apr 20, 2015, 9:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced it will begin selling the LG G Flex 2 on April 24. The handset will be available at a variety of price points. The full retail cost of the phone is $708.99 and the two-year contract price is $299.99. Customers interested in monthly payments can snag the G Flex 2 for $23.64 per month with an AT&T Next 24 plan, $29.55 per month on a Next 18 plan, or $35.45 on a Next 12 plan. The G Flex 2 is a second-generation curved phone. It has a 5.5-inch full HD screen that is semi-flexible. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 810 processor and has a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization. It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. Sprint has been selling the G Flex 2 since March.


LG Outs the G4 On Its Facebook Page

Apr 16, 2015, 10:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today released an official teaser image of the G4, which the company is expected to fully reveal at an event later this month. The image shows a phone with what it described as a "vegetable-tanned leather cover." The device resembles the G3 and G2 in that it has buttons placed on the back, rather than the sides. LG has also said the phone will have a 5.5-inch quad HD display and a 16-megapixel camera with an aperture of f/1.8. The G4's debut is scheduled for April 28.


Verizon's Note 3 Earns Lollipop Update Today

Apr 15, 2015, 9:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said its version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will begin to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop today. The over-the-air update will roll out to all users gradually. According to Verizon, seven of its handsets now run Lollipop, including the Motorola Moto X (2nd gen); Galaxy Note 4, S5, and Note 3; LG G2 and G3; and the HTC One M8.


Apple Grabs 3D Imaging Company

Apr 14, 2015, 2:56 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today confirmed it has purchased a small camera technology company called LinX. The company, based in Israel, sells small cameras and sensors for smartphones and tablets. Together with its own algorithms, LinX's technology can be used to gauge depth and create three-dimensional image maps. Apple didn't disclose terms of the acquisition, but sources cited by the Wall Street Journal peg the value of LinX at about $20 million. Apple didn't say what it might do with LinX's technology. Amazon's Fire Phone, released in July 2014, had four user-facing cameras to create 3D effects within the user interface.


Sharp Develops 4K Smartphone Display Prototype

Apr 14, 2015, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sharp has engineered a 4K (Ultra HD) screen for smartphones. The prototype measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal and includes 3860 x 2160 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 806 pixels per inch. By way of comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus's 5.5-inch screen has 1920 x 1080 pixels, or 401 pixels per inch. The prototype LCD relies on Sharp's IGZO technology, but the company is not sure if the prototype will ever be used. "Currently there are no driver ICs for small 4K panels, so the panel is not ready for mass production at this point," said Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama in an email to Computerworld. Some of today's flagship devices (LG G4, Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S6) have jumped from full HD to quad HD, or 2560 x 1440 pixels. The majority of high-end phones still use full HD screens, while mid-range phones have moved to 720p screens. Entry-level phones generally offer 800 x 480 or 960 x 540 resolution displays.


Lollipop Reaching Verizon's LG G3 Just Ahead of G4's Debut

Apr 13, 2015, 12:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has begun updating its variant of the LG G3 to Android 5.0 Lollipop. Asside from the standard list of new features, the G3 gains a new version of LG Health. The update is rolling out over the air in phases and is free to download.


LG Innotek Shows Off the G4's 16-Megapixel Camera

Apr 9, 2015, 7:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Innotek today announced a new camera sensor bound for the LG G4 smartphone. The module, which LG teased earlier this week, has a 16-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/1.8. LG claims the sensor allows 80% more light to reach the sensor than was possible with the G3's camera. LG says the larger aperture will aid low-light and action photography, in particular. LG Innotek also developed a new user-facing camera with an 8-megapixel sensor and aperture of f/2.4. This wide-angle shooter also boasts an IR filter that is half the thickness of competing filters. LG says this sensor is ideal for selfies. Both cameras are expected to be part of the LG G4, which LG is revealing at an event to be held April 28.


LG Provides Peek at G4 User Interface and Camera

Apr 7, 2015, 7:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG is slowly revealing aspects of its forthcoming flagship smartphone bit by bit. The G4, expected to arrive at an event later this month, will have LG's newest user interface called LG UX 4.0. The UI has a new design based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. According to LG, UX 4.0 "provides more optimized and intuitive convenience to each individual at every user level." One new feature is called Quick Shot, which lets users to take pictures by double-tapping the phone's rear key even while the display is off. The camera itself gains new functions, too, including a manual mode that gives users full control over the camera's settings and behaviors. LG updated its calendar app with a drag-and-drop scheduler and improved its Smart Bulletin tool with the ability to collect data across more apps. The UX also introduces LG's version of Google Now, called Smart Notice. LG says Smart Notice provides personalized notifications for weather, travel, and more by analyzing users' daily routines and habits. LG also posted a teaser video on its YouTube channel regarding the G4's camera. The camera will have an aperture of f/1.8, which means it can let in a little bit more light than most competing smartphone cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S6, for example, has an aperture of f/1.9 and the HTC One M9 has an aperture of f/2.2. Earlier this month LG revealed a new 5.5-inch quad HD display for the G4. Together, these hints provide a decent picture of what the LG G4 will offer. The LG G4 launch event is scheduled for April 28.


Sharp Looking to Divest LCD Business

Apr 6, 2015, 7:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sharp is hoping it will be able to spin off a portion of its LCD panel business. The company wants to unload the piece of its display unit that makes small- and mid-sized displays for devices such as smartphones and tablets. The company hasn't been able to compete with rivals LG Display and Japan Display in the market for small screens. The company hopes to sell off this business to a government-supported investment fund, though it hasn't made any final decisions. Sharp has been struggling for years and is undergoing a larger restructuring that it hopes to present to investors in May. The company sells one smartphone in the U.S., the Aquos Crystal, which has a unique borderless display.


LG Shows Off the G4's QHD Display

Apr 3, 2015, 7:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display today revealed a new screen for smartphones that stretches 5.5 inches across the diagonal and boasts quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. According to LG, the new panel uses in-cell touch technology to reduce thickness while maintaining excellent sensitivity. It can be used when wet, for example. LG also says the LCD panel offers 50% higher contrast and is 30% brighter than its previous screens, while not requiring any more power. Combined, LG says these two elements help improve outdoor viewability. LG plans to use the panel in and upcoming flagship smartphone, which is likely the successor to last year's G3.


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