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HTC: Monthly Security Updates Not Likely

Today, 9:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC says it is on board with the concept of monthly security updates, but admits the reality is a different story. Jason Makenzie, president of HTC America, said the company "will push for them, but unrealistic for anyone to say guaranteed every month." The comment came in response to question posed to Makenzie about HTC handset security. Earlier this year, Google announced plans to push monthly security updates to Android handsets in the wake of the Stagefright vulnerability. Samsung and LG quickly followed suit. In order for the updates to reach HTC handsets, HTC has to take the security patch from Google, build it into their platform for each handset, and then seek carrier approval for those updated platforms. The process takes months from start to finish, and, thanks to sagging sales, HTC phones likely have a lower priority within their carrier partner labs than those from Samsung and LG. HTC today reported a near 50% drop in revenue for the quarter on weak smartphone sales, and recorded a loss of $138 million.

Wireless Companies Agree to Support More Remote Wipe Tools

Friday, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The CTIA today announced that a number of member companies have agreed to take on additional measures to help prevent cellphone thefts. Following recommendations made by the FCC, wireless companies will make anti-theft tools available to all consumers that also respect consumer choice and privacy. All new phones made after July 2016 will "make readily available to the authorized user an option that allows the authorized user to enable or disable the anti-theft solution at any time that the smartphone is connected and is in the authorized user's possession." Beyond this baseline tool, consumers will have the option to use other, third-party solutions to locate, wipe, or reinstate their devices if they so wish. Companies that have agreed to this include Apple, Asurion; AT&T; BlackBerry; Google; HTC; Huawei; LG; Microsoft; Motorola; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile USA; U.S. Cellular; Verizon, and ZTE. In response, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said, "CTIA members' ... enhanced voluntary commitment to adopt anti-theft features and educate consumers demonstrates their resolve in combatting it. I am hopeful that this new voluntary commitment will make a meaningful difference for consumer safety. As the enhanced commitment recognizes, these solutions work only if they are adopted widely. The FCC will remain vigilant in this area by pushing for further improvements to the theft-prevention toolbox, and also by monitoring closely whether the efforts of industry and others are producing meaningful results." Apple's iOS and Google's Android already contain features that let device owners find and protect their mobile devices. The FCC hopes allowing people to download and use the protective measure of their choice will help encourage consumers to make broader use of the tool.

Hands On with the LG V10

Thursday, 12:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Thursday, 12:59 PM

LG's new V10 smartphone offers some unique features, including a secondary screen for shortcuts and notifications, and a pair of user-facing cameras for more fun with selfies. Here are our first impressions of this new phone from LG.

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AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Commit to Selling LG V10

Thursday, 10:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said the V10 will be sold in the U.S. by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Pricing and availability will be announced individually by each carrier. The phone is expected to arrive in the weeks ahead.

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Cricket Jumps Into 1,600 Target Stores

Thursday, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Thursday, 12:51 PM

Cricket Wireless today announced a significant expansion of its retail footprint thanks to Target. Beginning Oct. 25, Cricket handsets and services will be available in some 1,600 Target stores around the country. Consumers will be able to purchase smartphones from HTC, LG, Samsung, and ZTE for prices ranging between $50 and $130, as well as SIM cards for BYOD customers. Cricket says the expansion means it now has a presence in 9,000 retail locations around the U.S.

LG Adds Cellular Radio to Urbane Smartwatch

Thursday, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today rolled out an updated version of its Watch Urbane that includes a cellular radio and the ability to make calls without a cellphone. The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition runs Android Wear and is compatible with Android and iOS devices. The wearable features a 1.38-inch plastic OLED screen with 480 x 480 pixels. It is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and has 768MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. The phone boasts a beefy 570mAh battery to support its Bluetooth, WiFi, LTE, and 3G radios. The smartwatch includes a bevy of sensors as well, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, barometer, and GPS. It will be sold in black, blue, white, and brown. Pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.

LG V10 Boasts Second Screen, Dual Front Cameras

Thursday, 6:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Thursday, 7:08 AM

LG announced the V10, a flagship smartphone that includes a ticker display, double cameras, and a more rugged design than some of LG's previous handsets. The main screen measures 5.7 inches and has quad HD resolution, while the secondary display, which sits above the main one, measures 2.1 inches and has 1040 x 160 pixels. LG says the Second Screen can set to be always on for notifications and status indicators with no impact on battery life. Moreover, the Second Screen can handle notifications while users do other tasks, such as watch videos, without disturbing what's on the main screen. The rear-facing camera has optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture, and captures 16-megapixel images. The front of the V10 features dual 5-megapixel cameras that can act together to capture images with a 120-degree field of view with no optical distortion. The V10 includes a manual video mode, which allows users to adjust white balance, exposure, shutter speed, and frame rate. It captures 1080p, 2K, or 4K video in either 16:9 or 21:9 aspect ratios. Other video camera functions include stabilization, audio monitor, video editor, wind noise filter, and quick-sharing features. Unlike some of LG's previous phones, the V10 relies on a stainless steel frame with "Dura Skin" on the back to protect against drops and knicks, and aid in grip-ability. The V10 has a 32-bit high-fidelity DAC by ESS Technology for improved audio reproduction. Other features include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 2TB. The phone has a 3,000mAh battery that can be removed, and it supports Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11ac, GPS, NGC, and LTE. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes with the usual set of LG apps, such as Knock Code. The LG V10 will be sold in black, white, beige, and two shades of blue. It will launch in Korea this month, followed by the U.S. and other countries in the near future.

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Arrive 'Next Week'

Sep 29, 2015, 11:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 29, 2015, 12:51 PM

Google today said it will begin pushing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus devices during the week of Oct. 5. Existing handsets, such as the LG-made Nexus 5 and the Motorola Nexus 6, will be able to install the brand new operating system from Google. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will ship with Android 6.0 on board. Android 6.0 Marshmallow brings a number of new features to the platform, including Google Now On Tap. Google's improved voice assistant is more aware of context when users make requests, and will automatically offer up certain types of information. Google Now is also accessible via voice command even when the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are locked. Marshmallow adds fast scrolling and faster search, as well as new animations and new notification behaviors. Further, the app drawer will learn which apps people use throughout the day and offer suggestions each time they open the drawer. Android 6.0 introduces a new permission model, and allows people to remove more unwanted apps. Marshmallow was first detailed by Google in May. The company did not say exactly when it will be released.

Nexus 5X from LG Rounds Out Google's Smartphone Offering

Sep 29, 2015, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 29, 2015, 12:45 PM

Google today announced the Nexus 5X, a less-costly alternative to the Nexus 6P. Where the 6P is made by Huawei, the 5X is made by LG. Notable features include the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor positioned on the back of the phone, which can be used to secure the phone and authenticate Android Pay purchases. The 5X also includes a USB Type-C port, the new connector for phones, tablets, and laptops. The Nexus 5X has a 5.2-inch full HD screen and is powered by a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 processor with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage. The phone's main Sony camera sensor captures 12.3-megpaixel images and relies on laser-assisted focus. It has an aperture of f/2.0 and a dual-tone flash for more accurate color. The user-facing camera rates 5 megapixels and has an aperture of f/2.2. The Nexus 5X includes a 2,700mAh battery, a wide range of sensors, and comes in white, blue, or black. The Nexus 5X runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and will be sold directly from Google unlocked. The 16GB model costs $379 and the 32GB model costs $429. It is available for pre-order beginning today and will ship in mid-October.

Virgin Mobile Gives Customers More LTE Data

Sep 17, 2015, 11:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile today updated its service plans with more 4G LTE data. The entry-level $35 plan bumps the monthly high-speed data bucket from 250MB to 1GB, the $45 plan improves from 1GB to 3GB, and the $55 plan improves from 3GB to 8GB. Virgin throttles data speeds down to 2G once the data bucket is exhausted in a single billing period, but customers can purchase more high-speed data for $5 per 1GB. Virgin also announced availability of the LG Tribute 2, a $100 Android smartphone. Boost Mobile, run by Virgin parent Sprint, has sold the Tribute 2 since July.

Cricket Kicks Off Fall Promotions, Adds HTC Desire 520

Sep 10, 2015, 11:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced availability and pricing details for the HTC Desire 520 in addition to a slew of other discounts and deals. The Desire 520 reaches Cricket stores Sept. 11 for $99.99. The 520 is an entry-level Android handset. Cricket is also offering significant discounts to new customers who port their number from another carrier. For example, it will drop the price of the LG Risio from $49.99 to $19.99 and the price of the LG Stylo from $149.99 to $99.99. Customers can grab the Samsung Galaxy S4 for $299, the S5 for $399, or the S6 for $499. Last, Cricket is holding open enrollment for its device protection program, called Cricket Protect. The service covers damage and other issues for $7 to $10 per month, depending on the handset.

Google Brings Android Wear to the iPhone

Aug 31, 2015, 10:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today released an Android Wear application for iOS devices that makes the iPhone compatible with Google-based smartwatches. The Android Wear app works with the iPhone 5, 5s, 5c, 6, and 6 Plus as long as the phones are running iOS 8.2 and up. Android Wear allows iPhone owners to check their information at a glance, such as calls, messages, and notifications; set and follow fitness goals, such as tracking steps or heart rate; and also receive timely information about flights, traffic, calendar appointments, and more. Android Wear for iOS supports "OK, Google" voice-based queries, as well. Google says the LG Watch Urbane is the first Android Wear smartwatch to support iPhone compatibility, and that all future devices, including those from Huawei (pictured above), Asus, and Motorola, will also support iOS. Many of these manufacturers are expected to debut new smartwatches this week at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

Cricket Launches the LG G Stylo and HTC Desire 626s

Aug 17, 2015, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said the LG G Stylo and HTC Desire 626s are available at its stores and on its web site. The G Stylo costs $199.99 and the Desire 626s costs $149.99. Service plans for these Android handsets are as low as $35.

LG Display to Invest More In OLED Technology

Aug 17, 2015, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display today said it plans to invest about $8.5 billion in OLED displays for television sets, smartphones, and wearables. The company wants to boost its capabilities with the technology to stay ahead of the adoption curve as OLED becomes more mainstream. OLED screens offer improved color and are more power efficient than LCDs, but they are more costly to manufacture at the present. Making large panels for television sets is particularly pricey. LG Display plans to improve its abilities in order to lower the cost for manufacturing OLED screens for TVs, while also making flexible OLED panels for smartphones and wearables. It eventually hopes to push OLED adoption to other form factors, such as signage and automobiles. LG Electronics uses OLED is some of its products, but the majority of its smartphones still use LCD panels. Samsung has adopted OLED screens across a much wider swath of its handsets and tablets.

LG Announces Music Service for Its High-End Phones

Aug 13, 2015, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced a high-fidelity music service for several of its flagship handsets. The Hi-Fi music offering will make high-quality tracks available to LG owners in about 70 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. The service is available to the LG G4, G3, G2, and G Flex 2. LG is offering two free Hi-Fi track downloads per month, with discounts on songs in the catalog. LG didn't say how many titles it is offering. The service will be accessible from the LG SmartWorld app, as well from the site. LG didn't say anything about pricing, but the service goes live later this month.

Qualcomm Refreshes Adreno GPUs and ISP Tech

Aug 12, 2015, 7:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced its next-generation graphics chips, which it claims deliver significant performance improvements compared to the previous generation. The company also showed off new image signal processing technology that will boost smartphones' imaging abilities. The Adreno 530 and 510 are the first two 5xx series GPUs. Qualcomm says they are 40% faster and 40% more power efficient when compared to the Adreno 430 GPU. The new GPUs offers a wide range of graphics and compute APIs, such as OpenGL ES, Renderscript, and Vulkan. The GPUs offer support for 64-bit virtual addressing, shared virtual memory, and co-processing with 64-bit CPUs. Other features include improve fine-grain power management, new compression techniques, and the ability to push 4K video at 60 frames per second over HDMI 2.0. Qualcomm Spectra ISP is the company's new image signal processing unit, which Qualcomm claims brings dSLR-quality image capturing to smartphones. Qualcomm Spectra ISP produces more natural skin tones thanks to 14-bit ISPs. It supports up to three simultaneous cameras, and image sensors up to 25 megapixels at 30 frames per second with no shutter lag. Qualcomm says its hybrid autofocus framework and new algorithms support "next-generation computational photography." The new ISP is also more power efficient and produces less-noisy images. The Adreno 530/510 and Spectra ISP are being introduced with the forthcoming Snapdragon 820 processor. Qualcomm says devices with the Snapdragon 820 are expected to reach consumers during the first half of 2016.

TextNow Scores More Smartphones and Payment Locations

Aug 11, 2015, 2:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

TextNow today announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG Volt, two new additions to its roster of handsets. TextNow is selling the Galaxy S5 for $399 new or $299 refurbished. The LG Volt is just $13.99. Both handsets are more than a year old. The company said its phones, starting with the Moto G, are now available at all Fry's Electronics location. Moreover, TextNow will soon accept cash payments at more than 10,000 varied retail locations around the country, including Gates Petroleum, Sunoco, NMart, and Circle K stores, among others. TextNow Wireless offers all customers unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of 4G data for $18.99 per month. TextNow runs on Sprint's cellular network but defaults to WiFi whenever possible. TextNow Wireless already offers a number of new and refurbished Sprint devices, including the LG Optimus F3, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Samsung Galaxy S4.

Motorola to Issue Stagefright Fix to Most Phones

Aug 9, 2015, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has said it, too, will push a security patch to resolve the Stagefright vulnerability found on its Android smartphones. Motorola's newest phones, the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and Moto G (3rd Gen) will have the patches installed in the factory. Motorola is actively building patches for the Moto X, G, and E (1st Gen, 2nd Gen); Moto X Pro; Moto Maxx/Turbo; and Droid Turbo and Droid Ultra/Mini/Maxx. Motorola will begin handing the patch to its carrier partners on August 10, but it will be up to carriers to deliver the final version of the patch to end users via over-the-air software updates. Google, Samsung, Alcatel OneTouch, and LG have all said they plan to issue Stagefright security patches in the near future.

LG Pairs Android with Flip Phone to Make the Wine Smart

Aug 5, 2015, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 5, 2015, 8:55 AM

LG today debuted the Wine Smart, a flip phone that runs Android 5.1 Lollipop. The device was first revealed for the Korean market several weeks ago as the Gentle. The Wine Smart is the international version of the phone. LG says it was designed to appeal to people who prefer the functionality of older handsets with physical keys. It includes LG's Safety Care feature, which can be used to transmit emergency alerts and location to pre-selected contacts when needed. The Wine Smart is a slim clamshell that boasts a 3.2-inch 480 by 320-pixel touchscreen, 1.1GHz quad-core processor with 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, and support for microSD cards. The phone has a 3-megapixel main camera and a VGA user-facing camera. It includes Bluetooth, WiFi, and LTE radios, and has a 1,700mAh removable battery. The LG Wine Smart is headed to France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Kazakhstan, and Japan, and other countries later this month. LG has not said if the phone will be sold in the U.S.

LG and Verizon Offering $100 Gift to G4 Buyers

Aug 3, 2015, 3:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG and Verizon Wireless today announced a short promotion that will reward buyers of the LG G4 with a $100 Visa Gift card. Verizon customers must buy the G4 between Aug. 1 and Aug. 12, and register for the gift card by Aug. 31.

Moto X Play Boasts Better Battery Life

Jul 28, 2015, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 28, 2015, 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

Jul 26, 2015, 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.

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