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printed May 25, 2016
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LG Begins Selling G5 Friends Directly Online

Yesterday, 10:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today made the G5 Friends accessories available for purchase from its web site. Consumers can buy the CAM Plus ($70), 360 CAM ($200), 360 VR goggles ($200), and Tone Platinum headphones ($200) to go with their G5. LG is also selling battery packs and battery charging cradles. The CAM Plus adds a camera grip, dedicated buttons, and extended battery to the G5 via its modular hatch. The 360 CAM captures 360-degree video, while the 360 VR goggles allow people to view virtual reality content.


AT&T Adds More Phones to Extended BOGO Promo

Friday, 10:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today added a handful of new handsets to a buy one, get one free offer the carrier has had in place since February. The extended BOGO promotion now applies to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Microsoft Lumia 950, the HTC One A9, and the Kyocera DuraForce. The other handsets already included in the offer are the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus; Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, S6 Active, and Note 5; and LG G5 and V10. The offer lets new and existing customers buy one phone at full price and receive a second one for free. The two handsets must come from the same manufacturer. AT&T says both phones must be purchased via its AT&T Next installment plan. The first phone can be a new line or an upgrade, but the second phone must be a new line purchased with an AT&T Next 24 plan (req's 30 payments). Both phones must be added to a qualified plan, such as Mobile Share Value, which starts at $70 for two lines. Customers will need to pay sales tax on the two phones at the time of purchase and may need to make several monthly payments on both before AT&T credits up to $650 for the second phone spread out over the 30 months. The offer is available through June 30.


AT&T's GoPhone Adds the LG Phoenix 2

May 13, 2016, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T's GoPhone prepaid service recently made the LG Phoenix 2 available from its web site. This entry-level Android smartphone includes a 5-inch 720p HD screen and is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM. The Phoenix 2 has an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash, burst shot and gesture shot, and a 5-megapixel front camera. The phone has 16 GB of storage and supports memory cards up to 32 GB for additional storage. The Phoenix 2 ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and LG included some of its core software tools, such as KnockON, Knock Code, Quick Memo, and QSlide apps. It has a removable 2,125mAh battery and features LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and WiFi radios. The phone costs $99. GoPhone does not require contracts.


LG to Shuffle Mobile Execs, Verizon Intros G5 Bogo

May 10, 2016, 7:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG plans to shake up the executive ranks within its mobile phone business. The move comes on the heels of LG's first quarter report, in which the company's mobile phone business recorded its third straight loss. "We need to change the way we work to move faster and lighter," said Cho Juno, LG's CEO and mobile chief, in an email to employees. "Other business divisions also need people from mobile communications. We will continue to reshuffle personnel." The LG G5 flagship smartphone just recently went on sale and did not play a prominent role in the company's first quarter results. LG is forecasting second-quarter sales for the G5 of about 3 million. Juno said the company will trim staff in its mobile phone business unit so it can react quicker to changing market demands. Verizon Wireless recently rolled out a buy-one, get-one offer for the LG G5. In order to take advantage of the deal, new and existing customers must purchase two G5s on a monthly payment plan ($26 per month each for 24 months). After completing the purchase, customers can fill out a form to be reimbursed for the second device via Visa gift card. At lease one of the lines must be new. The bogo offer is good for a limited time.


FCC, FTC Query Carriers and Phone Makers Over Security

May 9, 2016, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC and FTC today asked carriers and phone manufacturers how they handle security updates for their devices. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and other carriers, while the FTC queried Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung. In particular, the agencies want to know: the factors carriers/OEMs consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular phone; data on the specific phones sold in the U.S. since August 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities. The government said the line of inquiry is to help it further understand how these companies do or do not protect consumers. "Consumers may be left unprotected, for long periods of time or even indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities once they are discovered," said the FCC. "To date, operating system providers, original equipment manufacturers, and mobile service providers have responded to address vulnerabilities as they arise. There are, however, significant delays in delivering patches to actual devices — and that older devices may never be patched." Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android devices, but individual phone makers lag badly. Apple provides occasional updates.


ITC to Investigate 8 Phone Makers Over Patent Claims

May 6, 2016, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint from Creative Technology / Creative Labs that accuses eight different smartphone makers of infringing on patents. The ITC is prepared to look at phones made by BlackBerry, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and ZTE. Creative Labs says these companies are violating a patent related to media playback on mobile devices. The ITC did not say when it might make an initial ruling on the matter. Companies often use the ITC as a venue to settle trade disagreements because the ITC has the power to institute import bans.


Cricket to Sell LG Stylo 2 Starting May 13

May 4, 2016, 9:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said it will kick off sales of the LG Stylo 2 on May 13. The phone will cost $169.99. Cricket does not require contracts. The Stylo 2 has a 5.7-inch screen with stylus, a 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, memory card slot, and 3,000mAh battery. The phone is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cricket said consumers who switch to Cricket from other carriers will receive a $50 gift card, and consumers who switch from T-Mobile will receive a $100 gift card. The Stylo 2 is also being sold by Boost Mobile.


Google Keyboard Lets Users Adjust Key Height

May 2, 2016, 2:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is rolling out an update to the Google Keyboard application with a handful of new functions. To start, Android users can now adjust the height of the keyboard between short and tall, with five different heights available in between. This feature reflects what one seen on LG phones for several years. The keyboard can be set to left- or right-handed mode, allows full-word deletion, and adds a dedicated phone-like number pad for faster number entry. The Google Keyboard 5.0 is free to download from the Google Play Store.


LG Innotek Devises Under-the-Glass Fingerprint Sensor

May 2, 2016, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Innotek revealed a new fingerprint sensor that works through glass, allowing LG and other smartphone makers to create devices free from buttons. LG Innotek was able to do this by carving a small furrow out of the back side of the glass. It then glued the sensor in this furrow with a new, strengthened adhesive. LG Innotek says the embedded fingerprint sensor is just as accurate and quick as those within physical buttons, and has a false positive rate of 0.002%. LG Innotek claims the cover panel glass is still impact resistant, despite the thinner area where the fingerprint sensor is located. The company believes the solution will give phone designers more freedom to innovate, for example, by creating waterproof, buttonless phones. LG Innotek did not say when it expects its under-the-glass fingerprint sensor to ship. Synaptics developed a similar solution last year.


LG Display to Step Up OLED Production

Apr 29, 2016, 7:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display plans to invest $396 million to improve its ability to manufacture flexible OLED displays and OLED lighting panels. The company will sink about $272 million into an existing facility in order to boost production capacity, and about $123 million to build a new production line dedicated to OLED lighting. Last year, the company committed close to $1 billion to build a new OLED factory. LG uses flexible OLED displays in some of its smartphones and wearable devices. The G5, LG's latest flagship handset, uses an LCD panel rather than OLED.


Boost and Virgin Mobile Score Kyocera Hydro Reach

Apr 13, 2016, 11:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 15, 2016, 9:16 AM

Sprint's prepaid brands, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, plan to sell three low-cost smartphones in the weeks ahead, including the Kyocera Hydro Reach. The Reach (pictured) is an update to the Hydro Edge. It is water and dust proof, and the 5-inch qHD display supports wet finger tracking. The Hydro Reach is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and comes with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the user-facing camera has a 2-megapixel sensor. The device has a 2,160mAh battery and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. The Hydro Reach will go on sale April 15 from Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA. It will cost $99. Boost and Virgin also plan to add the LG Stylo 2 and Samsung Galaxy J7, both announced earlier this year, to their rosters. The Stylo 2 will reach Boost stores April 15 and Virgin stores May 9. It will cost $179.99. The Galaxy J7 hits Boost stores on April 15 for $229.99, and Virgin on April 19.


T-Mobile Rolls Out $80 12 GB Plan for Two Lines

Apr 7, 2016, 8:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile kicked off a new promotion that offers 12 GB of data for two lines for $80 per month. Each line gets 6 GB of data in addition to unlimited talk and text. The deal also includes the standard list of T-Mobile features, such as Binge On, Music Freedom, and Data Stash. T-Mobile is also offering the LG K7 and Samsung Galaxy Core Prime to customers with no downpayment. The two-line plan will be available starting April 8. T-Mobile didn't say how long it will be available.


T-Mobile Debuts Enhanced Voice Services

Apr 6, 2016, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced the launch of Enhanced Voice Services, new technology that the company says delivers improved call quality. T-Mobile claims EVS improves call reliability in weak coverage areas, which means fewer dropped calls. It also improves clarity beyond what is produced by HD Voice thanks to an expanded audio range. EVS functions on LTE and WiFi, and doesn't require both the caller and recipient to have high-quality connections. Moreover, T-Mobile customers can enjoy EVS even when calling nonT-Mobile lines. EVS was installed on the LG G5 out of the box. The service is being added to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge through a software update. T-Mobile says the service will reach seven more phones by the end of the year.


Cricket Partners with Aaron's to Attract Lease-to-Own Shoppers

Apr 4, 2016, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced a new retail partnership with Aaron's that will make Cricket's SIM card starter kit available at about 2,000 Aaron's locations around the country. Aaron's offers goods on a lease-to-own basis. Consumers who lease a smartphone from Aaron's can now activate that phone on Cricket's network right at the Aaron's retail store. Aaron's online lineup of devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, LG G3, and Motorola Moto G. Lease prices are expensive. For example, Aaron's lists the Galaxy S5 retail price at $840. (The Galaxy S5 is available new from retailers such as Amazon.com for $360, unlocked.) Monthly lease costs from Aaron's run $90 per month for 18 months, which totals about $1,620. Finance charges are about $780 in this example. These prices don't include Cricket's service fees, which start at $40 per month.


LG Home 4.0 Brings App Drawer to G5

Apr 4, 2016, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 4, 2016, 7:17 AM

LG has made an alternate home screen experience available to G5 owners that brings back the app drawer. The G5 initially launched with LG's UX 5.0 home screen experience, which removed the app drawer and kept all apps on the home screen panels. The Home 4.0 home screen experience is available to download from the LG SmartWorld app on G5 handsets. Once installed, it returns the app drawer to the home screen, leaving the panels themselves available for widgets and other customizations. Within the app drawer, G5 owners can arrange and hide apps however they wish. Users can switch between the 5.0 UX and Home 4.0 whenever they wish. The more traditional home screen experience is free to download from LG.


LG G5 Officially Goes On Sale March 31

Mar 30, 2016, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG said its G5 smartphone will be available for sale in Korea starting March 31, with the U.S. to follow April 1. The G5 will reach other regions, including Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, over time. LG says more than 200 carriers plan to sell the phone. In the U.S., that includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, all of which will offer the phone on April 1. Along with the G5 itself, LG plans to sell the accompanying modules and accessories, called LG Friends. The two most notable Friends as the CAM Plus and Hi-Fi Plus, which are modules that plug directly into the bottom of the G5. The CAM Plus will be available in the U.S., but LG hasn't said if the Hi-Fi Plus will also be available. Other Friends include the 360 VR headset, 360 CAM, Rolling Bot, Tone Platinum, and H3 by B&O. Pricing for the LG G5 varies by carrier. The phone has a 5.3-inch quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 16-megapixel camera, and USB Type-C.


Verizon Launching LG G5 On April 1 with Free 360 CAM

Mar 24, 2016, 2:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless is now taking preorders for the LG G5. The phone reaches stores on April 1. The company is offering the phone for installments of $26 per month for 24 months or the full retail price of $624. For a limited time, people who purchase the G5 can get the LG 360 CAM and LG battery bundle for free. The camera can take 360-degree video, while the battery bundle includes a spare battery and charging cradle. The other major U.S. carriers are also launching the G5 on April 1 with similar offers.


Verizon Taking Preorders for LG Watch Urbane 2nd Ed.

Mar 24, 2016, 8:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Following AT&T, Verizon Wireless today said customers can place orders for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition with LTE. This wearable, delayed by several months due to manufacturing issues, has its own cellular connection to Verizon's network and can be used fully independent from a smartphone. It can make calls and send messages from the owner's main cell number. The wearable runs Android Wear and costs $499. Verizon will drop the price by $50 for those willing to sign a contract. It costs $5 per month to add the watch to an existing service plan. For a limited time, Verizon will sell the watch for $399 when purchased with the LG G5 or V10 smartphones.


Verizon Selling the LG K4 for $120

Mar 24, 2016, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 24, 2016, 9:16 AM

Verizon Wireless added the LG K4 to its smartphone roster today. The phone is available online for $120, or $5 per month on an installment plan. The K4 is already being sold by Verizon's prepaid business as the Optimus Zone 3 and by Cricket Wireless as the Spree. The K4 includes a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, and 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. The phone has 1 GB of RAM and improves storage from 8 GB on the Zone 3 / Spree to 16 GB in the K4. It supports memory cards up to 32 GB. LG's Quick Memo tool is on board, as are some of its camera modes, including Gesture Shot, Burst Shot, and Selfie Light. The K4 also has Knock On and Knock Code, as well as LG's customizable keyboard. The K4 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.


LG V10 Handset Scores Marshmallow from Verizon

Mar 24, 2016, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless is rolling out the Android 6.0 Marshmallow system update to the LG V10 smartphone. According to Verizon, the update installs all the expected features of Google's latest platform, such as Google Now On Tap, Doze, revised permissions, and silent mode. Verizon did not call out any new software unique to the V10. The update is available as an over-the-air download and Verizon recommends users connect to WiFi before installing.


Sprint to Sell LG G5 April 1, Preorders Start March 24

Mar 23, 2016, 5:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint said it will begin accepting preorders for the LG G5 on March 24. The device will reach stores April 1. Sprint is offering the phone via installment plan, with a contract, or at full price. Monthly payments for the phone will be $24 for 24 months; the retail price is $576. Customers willing to sign a two-year agreement can snag the G5 for $150 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Sprint says it will offer a minimum of $150 towards the G5 for phone trade-ins. Early adopters will be rewarded with a battery bundle, which includes a spare battery, charger, and USB-C to micro USB adapter. Sprint will sell the 360 CAM for $199.99 and the CAM Plus module for $69.99. Sprint said the phone is available with several of its ongoing promotions, such as half off service rates plans for those who switch from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. Sprint will also pay ETFs and other switching fees up to $650.


AT&T Taking Preorders for LG G5 with BOGO Deal; Brings Back LG Watch Urbane

Mar 21, 2016, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T customers interested in the LG G5 can preorder the modular smartphone starting today. The device will reach AT&T stores on April 1. AT&T is offering the G5 for $22.97 on an AT&T Next 24 installment plan (30 payments). Customers who want two LG G5 handsets can score the second for free as long as one of the two phones is activated on a new line and both are financed on the AT&T Next 24 plan. AT&T will reimburse the cost of the second phone spread out over the 30 monthly payments. The full retail price is $689. AT&T is also bringing back the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition with LTE. This wearable supports AT&T's NumberSync service and can be used with the customer's phone for taking calls and sending messages all from the same wireless number. AT&T will sell the LG smartwatch to customers for $99.99 with a two-year agreement when purchased with an LG G5 on an AT&T Next plan. Alternately, customers can purchase the watch for $0 down with 20 payments of $18. LG halted sales of the watch last year after discovering manufacturing problems. The issues have since been resolved.


T-Mobile Kicks Off LG G5 Sales March 29

Mar 18, 2016, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said customers can order the LG G5 online starting March 29. The phone will reach stores April 1. T-Mobile is offering several incentives to encourage early adopters. Customers who buy the G5 before April 5 will receive the LG 360 CAM ($200) for free. The 360 CAM lets people capture 360-degree video. Customers who by the G5 before April 17 will receive a battery bundle, which includes a spare battery and docking station ($80). T-Mobile is selling the G5 for $0 down and 24 payments of $26.25. The full retail price of the phone is $629.99.


LG Rounds Out K Series Phones with K8 and K5

Mar 15, 2016, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced two more low-cost Android smartphones, filling in several open spots in its K range of devices. The K8 has a stylish design thanks to the use of curved glass edges and woven back panel and the K5 features a slim, metallic body.

  • K8: The higher-spec'd of the two phones has a 5-inch 720p HD screen and is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor with 1.5 GB of RAM. The phone includes an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies. The K8 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and has LG software, such as Gesture Shot. It packs a 2,125mAh battery and will be sold in gold, indigo, and white.
  • K5:This entry-level handset has a 5-inch FWVGA display and is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and support for microSD memory cards. The main camera captures 5-megapixel images, while the selfie camera captures 2-megapixel images. The K5 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, packs a 1,900mAh battery, and will be sold in gold, silver, and titan.
The K8 will initially be made available to consumers in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, while the K5 will target customers in Europe and Latin America. LG did not say if versions of the K8 and K5 will be made available in the U.S. The LG K7 is being sold in the U.S. by T-Mobile and Boost Mobile (as the Tribute 5).


LG Adds DAB+ to the Stylus 2

Mar 14, 2016, 7:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said the Stylus 2 smartphone will be the first phone to ship with support for DAB+ for digital radio broadcasting. The phone has a dedicated DAB+ chipset and special application meant for digital radio broadcasts. DAB+, which is expected to replace traditional FM radio, doesn't consume mobile data and is free to use. Further, LG is providing broadcasters with the technical interface so they may create their own DAB+ apps. The Stylus 2 with DAB+ will first be made available to consumers in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. LG says DAB+ is already broadcast in 40 countries covering some 500 million people. LG hasn't said if or when the LG Stylus 2 will be sold in the U.S., nor if the U.S. variant will support DAB+. The phone has a 5.7-inch screen, 3,000mAh battery, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and 13-megapixel camera. It includes a stylus and dedicated software for accessing popup menus, calligraphy, and more.


LG G5 to Make US Debut In Early April

Mar 10, 2016, 9:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said U.S. consumers can expect to see the G5 smartphone reach stores in early April. The modular smartphone will be available via AT&T, Best Buy, B&H, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. LG said carriers will be responsible for announcing their own release dates and pricing. The G5 has a removable bottom hatch that allows users to access the battery as well as add modules called LG Friends. The first two modules are a camera grip and stereo DAC. The phone also boasts dual rear cameras and a Snapdragon 820 processor. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.


LG Spree Hits Cricket March 11 for $90

Mar 9, 2016, 10:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced the LG Spree, a low-cost Android smartphone that goes on sale March 11 for $89.99. The Spree includes a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, and 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor. The phone has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage, and supports memory cards up to 32 GB. LG's Quick Memo tool is on board, as are some of its camera modes, including Gesture Shot, Burst Shot, and Selfie Light. The Spree also has Knock On and Knock Code, as well as LG's customizable keyboard. The phone includes a 1,940mAh battery. The LG Spree reaches Cricket stores on Friday.


Google Drops Project Fi Invites, Drops Nexus 5X Price

Mar 7, 2016, 1:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today nixed the invite system it used for Project Fi and opened the MVNO service up to everyone. Project Fi relies on WiFi and cellular access from Sprint and T-Mobile to provide coverage around the U.S. Its software is able to dynamically jump from network to network in order to provide the best-possible speeds and service. Project Fi is novel in that it only charges people for the actual amount of data used each month, rather than for large buckets. Google says the first 10 months of the project have gone well and it is ready to move into the next phase. For the next month, anyone who activates Project Fi will be able to purchase the Nexus 5X handset from LG for $199.99. The phone's normal price is $349.99. Project Fi is only available to Nexus smartphones, including the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, and Nexus 6P. Basic service costs $20 per month, plus $10 per 1 GB of cellular data. Google refunds users for the unused portion of data each month.


Hands On with the LG Stylus 2, X cam and X screen

Feb 22, 2016, 9:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has a handful of new phones on display in Barcelona that are not the G5. The Stylus 2, X cam, and X screen round out the middle of LG's profile and are interesting smartphones in their own right. Here is a look at each.

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Hands On with the LG G5

Feb 21, 2016, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG revealed the G5 today and it marks an impressive change of direction for the company in terms of design, materials, and functionality. The new metal chassis is impressive and so is the modular hatch that supports a handful of accessories. LG says it didn't want to build a me-too slab, and that's exactly what it's done. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the G5.

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LG G5 Adopts Metal Design, Adds Trick Battery Hatch

Feb 21, 2016, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced its flagship handset for 2016, the G5. The phone represents a re-think from LG, which has altered the design and functionality entirely from earlier G models to help set it apart from competing phones. The G5's stand-out feature is a removable hatch that opens the battery compartment and also allows modular accessories to be added to the phone, such as a camera grip. Other significant changes include a shift from plastic materials to metal, and relocating the volume buttons from the back of the phone to the side. The power button, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor, remains on the rear panel. The G5 has a 5.3-inch quad HD display and is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB of RAM. The main screen includes an always-on feature similar to the V10, but without a separate screen. It has minima, power requirements. It comes with 32 GB of storage, but supports memory cards up to 200 GB. LG bestowed the G5 with dual rear cameras. The main shooter rates 16 megapixels at f/1.8 and a normal 75-degree field of view. The second camera rates 8 megapixels and has a wider, 135-degree field of view. Both cameras are assisted by laser focus and can capture 4K video. The user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and captures full HD video. Other hardware features include a 2,800mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, WiFi, and of course LTE. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and LG toned its user interface skin way back. The LG G5 comes in four colors (silver, titanium, gold, pink) and will be sold by major U.S. carriers come April. Pricing was not revealed.

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Verizon Delivers Marshmallow to HTC One M9, LG G4

Feb 16, 2016, 10:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Feb 16, 2016, 11:01 AM

Verizon Wireless today said it is providing the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update to a handful of phones, including the HTC One M9, LG G4, and LG G3. For the M9, Marshmallow brings Android Pay support, customizable notifications, Google Now On Tap, Doze, bug fixes and other improvements. For the G4, Marshmallow adds WiFi Calling in addition to the standard upgrade list for Android 6.0. The G3 will see a straight update to Android 6.0 without added feature from Verizon. Verizon said Marshmallow is pushing out over the air starting today. It may take several days to reach all devices.


LG's Pen-Equipped Phone Earns a Sequel in the Stylus 2

Feb 15, 2016, 8:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today showed off another new handset ahead of Mobile World Congress, the Stylus 2, a second act for last year's G4 Stylus. LG says the new stylus pen is more accurate thanks to a nano coating at the tip. Further, the accompanying software is more refined. For example, features such as Pen Pop toggle a popup menu, while Pen Keeper alerts users to a potentially lost stylus, and Calligraphy Pen lets users scratch notes that are redrawn with high-quality penmanship. The Stylus 2 has a 5.7-inch 720p HD screen and measures 7.4mm thick. The handset boasts a metallic frame containing a 3,000mAh removable battery and memory card slot. The phone is powered by a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. LG didn't call out any special features for the cameras. The device will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. LG did not reveal pricing nor availability for the Stylus 2. More details will be made available during the MWC trade show in Barcelona.


LG to Push Back LG Pay Launch to Give G5 More Attention

Feb 15, 2016, 11:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has decided to delay the official debut of LG Pay, which was expected to mark its arrival at this month's Mobile World Congress trade show. "LG Electronics has delayed the official launch of LG Pay to the second quarter of this year to help the new LG flagship smartphone — G5 — receive more media attention," said an LG spokesperson to the Korea Times. LG denied the delay had anything to do with its progress in signing up partners for LG Pay. The company has already scored two deals with South Korean credit card companies. LG has teased the G5's arrival for several weeks now, and today announced the X cam and X screen phones ahead of MWC.


LG Announces the X Series 'Specialist' Phones

Feb 15, 2016, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced two new smartphones that mark the launch of the X Series handsets. LG says rather than offer all the best features in a single device the X Series mid-range phones will focus on providing one advanced feature. The X cam and X screen, the first two phones in the series, dedicate themselves to the camera and screen features, respectively. The handsets were designed with care. The X cam, for example, has curved glass and a profile as thin as 5.9mm, while the X screen has a "glass fiber" exterior.

  • X cam: The cam is defined by two rear-mounted cameras, one at 13 megapixels and the other at 5 megapixels. LG says this setup allows for creative photo taking. The cam also has a 5-megapixel front camera. Other specs include a 5.2-inch full HD screen, 1.14 GHz octa-core processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, a 2,520mAh battery, and support for LTE networks.
  • X screen:The screen's stand-out feature is its secondary, always-on screen. The phone has a small 1.76-inch screen above the main display similar to last year's V10 handset. This second screen can be used to display the time, incoming notifications, app shortcuts, and other info. The X screen also includes a 4.93-inch 720p HD screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, a 13-/5-megapixel rear/front camera configuration, 2,300mAh battery, and LTE.
Both phones ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. LG says it will push the X cam and X screen to Asia, Europe, and Latin America beginning in March, with other regions to follow. LG will share more details during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.


T-Mobile Selling LG K7 for $140

Feb 10, 2016, 9:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today made the LG K7 available for sale from its web site. The phone, announced last month, has a 5-inch screen, quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor, 5-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, and LTE 4G. T-mobile is selling the handset for $139.99 at full retail or for $5.84 for 24 months. Boost Mobile is selling the K7 as the Tribute 5.


LG Teases the G5's 'Always On' Feature

Feb 10, 2016, 8:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG touted another aspect of the unannounced G5, which will boast an "always on" display. In a picture posted to its Facebook page, the silhouette of a mobile device shows the clock, date, and notifications on the lock screen, similar to Motorola's Active Display. LG's own V10 handset has an always-on screen, though it is limited to a small, secondary panel above the main display. LG is expected to fully reveal the G5 at an event planned for February 21.


LG Says G5 Set for February 21 Debut

Feb 3, 2016, 4:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG used its Twitter account to tease the G5, its next flagship phone. The handset will mark its debut at a press event to be held February 21 in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress trade show. LG didn't provide any details about the phone itself, other than the G5 name.


T-Mobile Offering Free Phone to New Prepaid Customers

Feb 1, 2016, 9:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile will give a free phone to new customers who sign up for one of its prepaid services. The free phone deal kicks off February 3 and includes the Coolpad Rogue, ZTE Obsidian, LG Leon, and Samsung Core Prime. Customers must select a Simply Prepaid, Simple Choice Prepaid, or Simple Choice No Credit plan valued at $40 per month and up in order to receive the free phone. Customers who opt for a Simple Choice No Credit plan can receive an extra $50 mail-in rebate when activating a second line. T-Mobile didn't say how long the free phone deal will be available.


T-Mobile Kicks Off BOGO Handset Sale

Jan 27, 2016, 9:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile is running a limited promotion for customers on Simple Choice plans that can help them save some cash on hardware purchases. Beginning today, new and existing customers can buy one phone at full price and get a second phone of equal or lesser value from the same manufacturer for half price. T-Mobile says the deal can be used for some of its flagship phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG V10. T-Mobile believes the promotion is idea for families or small businesses looking to upgrade their phones. It will allow customers to purchase up to six handsets at half price. No trade-in is required. T-Mobile didn't say how long the promo will be available.


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