BlackBerry today announced that it has struck an agreement with LG to preload its BlackBerry Messenger application on some of LG's smartphones. The first device to include BBM is the LG G Pro Lite. Others will follow. In addition to the preloading agreement with LG, BlackBerry also said that updates to the Android and iOS versions of BBM will add features such as BBM Channels, as well as support for BBM Voice calling and BBM Video calling. BlackBerry said these updates will appear in the coming months.
Sprint today announced that it has completed a major upgrade of both its 3G and 4G networks in the metropolitan Chicago area. Sprint ripped out much of its legacy cell tower gear and replaced it with new equipment. The result, says Sprint, is stronger performance of its CDMA and LTE networks, including better voice calls and faster data. Sprint noted that it has worked hard to provide more coverage to sports arenas, major thoroughfares, shopping destinations, and business districts throughout the region. Last, Sprint said Sprint Spark, its next-generation LTE networking technology, is now widely available throughout the Chicago area. Spark soft-launched in limited fashion in late October. Sprint Spark relies on the company's three LTE bands and special network management technology to provide the fastest LTE speeds possible. In order to access Sprint Spark, customers need a tri-band LTE handset. To date, only the Samsung Galaxy Mega and S4 mini, and the LG G2 can access Spark.
LG today announced that the G Flex curved smartphone will go on sale outside of South Korea beginning this week. The phone will reach Singapore on December 8 and Hong Kong on December 13. According to LG, the G Flex will be sold at carrier stores as well as by electronics retailers. The G Flex is noteworthy for its curved design and healing skin. LG will push the G Flex to other Asian markets by the end of the year, followed by other, unnamed regions in 2014. U.S. carriers have not yet announced plans to sell the G Flex.
LG today announced that its future television sets will have Qualcomm's AllJoyn technology built-in. AllJoyn is a platform-agnostic tool that lets mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, control and connect to other non-smart devices, such as TV sets. AllJoyn offers a standard text, image, and multimedia notification service that allows media streaming between devices using open standards, and it allows devices to push their media player's user interface to other devices. According to LG, several mobile devices can participate in the same multiplayer game on an LG Smart TV even if they are running disparate operating systems. AllJoyn will be added to LG's Smart TV line beginning next year.
LG today announced a device loaner program meant to get its latest smartphones into the hands of developers so they can create apps for them. LG is offering registered developers an LG G2 handset for a period of 30 days. The device can be used to create and test applications. In addition to the loaner program, LG released a software developer kit for its QuickRemote application. The QRemote SDK will let developers tap into LG's IR remote control application to add their own devices. The app will also gain a macro button so developers can let it turn on multiple pieces of gear at once with the push of a single button. The QuickRemote SDK is available for download from LG's developer support site.
Phone Scoop takes a first look at the Nexus 5 from Google and LG. Here are our initial impressions.
Google today announced the Nexus 5, a new smartphone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat. The handset, manufactured for Google by LG, is similar to the LG G2. It features a 5.0-inch full HD display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Significantly, the Nexus 5 adds support for LTE, and it is compatible with the LTE networks run by AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S. It also includes Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. The Nexus 5 has an 8-megapixel camera with a optical image stabilization, HDR+ for improved colors, PhotoSphere, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera for selfies and video chats. It also features some of the innovations seen on the Motorola Moto X, such as Touchless Control. This lets users say "OK Google Now" to wake the phone and launch Google Now voice searches. The Google Nexus 5 is available for preorder from the Google Play Store. It ships November 5. It is being sold in both black and white. The 16GB model costs $349 and the 32GB model costs $399. It will also be sold by several online retailers, such as Amazon.com, and brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Best Buy. Sprint and T-Mobile have announced that their own variants will be available shortly.
Sprint today announced Sprint Spark, its next-generation networking technology that will make use of all three Sprint spectrum bands to boost mobile broadband speeds to 50-60Mbps. "Sprint Spark is a combination of advanced capabilities, like 1x, 2x and 3x carrier aggregation for speed, 8T8R for coverage, MIMO for capacity, TDD for spectral efficiency, together with the most advanced devices offering both tri-band capability and high-definition voice for the best possible customer experience," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Sprint said it will deploy Spark in 100 of the country's largest cities over the course of the next three years, but five markets are launching Spark today: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. Sprint expects 100 million Americans will have Sprint Spark or 2.5GHz coverage by the end of 2014. Sprint Spark gives tri-band devices the ability to actively hand-off data sessions between its three spectrum bands. Sprint says this helps boost both speed and capacity. The devices first to include Sprint Spark are the Samsung Galaxy Mega and Galaxy S4 mini, and the LG G2. All three handsets will reach stores November 8. The two Samsung phones will receive a system update shortly after they go on sale that will activate their tri-band services, while the G2 will receive the same update in early 2014. The Mega will cost $199.99 with a contract or $19.59 per month with Sprint One Up; the GS4 Mini will cost $99.99 with a new contract or $16.67 per month with Sprint One Up; and the G2 will cost $199.99 with a new contract or $22.92 per month with Sprint One Up. Sprint also said that the HTC One max will be available "soon." It will cost $249.99 with a new contract or $25.00 per month with Sprint One Up.
LG today announced the G Flex, an Android smartphone that has a curved display and a self-healing rear cover. The G Flex is curved across the horizontal axis, which makes it somewhat banana-shaped. LG says this curve helps the phone fit better against the owner's face, boosts the earpiece volume by 3dB, allows the phone to rest more comfortably in the hand, and is more comfortable when placed in back pockets. In order to make the curved shape possible, LG developed a curved, plastic OLED display, which measures 6 inches across the diagonal and has 720p HD resolution. According to LG, the plastic OLED display is flexible, durable, brighter, and more precise than traditional OLEDs thanks to the materials and use of Real RGB pixels. The curved screen is paired with a curved 3,500mAh battery, which LG announced earlier this year. LG claims the LG G Flex is the first smartphone to use a "self-healing" coating on the back cover, which is elastic and can recover from daily wear-and-tear nicks and scratches. Like the G2, the G Flex positions the volume and control buttons on the back surface, rather than the sides edges. Other unique features of the G Flex include QTheater, which gives users quick access to photos, videos, and YouTube from the lock screen; Dual Window split-screen multitasking; Swing Lockscreen, which alters the appearance of the lock screen depending on how the G Flex is held; Face Detection Indicator to let users know when the G Flex sees their face; and Camera Timer and Urgent Call Alert, which flash the LED on the rear key to indicate the timer is counting down or there is an emergency incoming call. The G Flex runs Android 4.2.2 and is powered by a 2.26GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor that is paired with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The main camera rates 13 megapixels and the user-facing camera rates 2 megapixels. It includes Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and support for various LTE networks. The LG Flex will be available in Korea starting in November, and availability in additional markets will be announced later.
HP is looking to sell its mobile technology patents in order to improve its financial footing, reports Bloomberg. Most of the patents pertain to webOS, which HP acquired when it bought Palm in 2010. HP killed off Palm's devices in 2011 and eventually open-sourced webOS before selling the operating system to LG. HP has approached several companies that it thinks might be interested in the patents, but those companies were not named by Bloomberg's sources. HP paid $1.2 billion for Palm, but there are no estimates about the value of the remaining patents. HP uses Microsoft's Windows platform and Google's Android platform for its PCs and tablets, respectively.
The Nexus 5, which has yet to be officially announced by Google, appeared in the Google Play Store this evening. A small photo of the device is visible alongside the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets, with the price listed at $349. There are no further details available in the Play Store at this time. A similar device manufactured by LG was approved by the FCC several weeks ago. The Nexus 5 is expected to run Android 4.4 KitKat.
LG today announced the G Pro Lite, a low-cost, big-screen Android smartphone that competes with the Samsung Galaxy Mega. The G Pro Lite features a 5.5-inch qHD display and a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of built-in storage. The G Pro Lite comes with a stylus that is embedded in the phone and a large 3,140mAh battery. It has an 8-megapixel main camera and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. Wireless networking speeds are limited to HSPA, and it also comes with Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS. According to LG, the G Pro Lite includes many of the user interface features seen on the G2, such as KnockOn for waking the screen, QuickMemo, and QTranslator. The LG G Pro Lite is headed to Latin American markets first, followed by others in Asia, Russia, China, India, and the Middle East. LG did not announce plans to bring the G Pro Lite to the U.S.
Mozilla today released Firefox OS version 1.1. The newest rendition of its smartphone platform adds a wide range of new features and capabilities. The update enables push notifications in the platform, as well as adds support for MMS, and adaptive app search. The platform received contact management improvements that let users sync their Google and Hotmail contacts in addition to Facebook and SIM card contacts. It is also easier to edit contacts that are already saved on the phone. The phone app now offers suggested contacts when users begin to type phone numbers, and the Firefox browser lets users save images, audio, and video directly to the handset. The email application has been improved with the ability to save drafts offline, download audio and video attachments, as well as send photo attachments. Other functions that have been improved include the music player, calendar, and keyboard. Mozilla said the update will be made available to developers with Firefox OS phones in the near future. Several handset makers, including LG and ZTE, have committed to releasing Firefox-based smartphones.
LG Chem followed LG Display's curved OLED screen announcement with one of its own: curved batteries. The company says it has successfully designed batteries that can be formed into shapes other than flat rectangles. The three new battery designs are curved, stepped, and cable. The curved batteries use what LG Chem calls Stack & Folding technology, which is used to reduce the stress on the curved battery pack. LG says this battery is a perfect match for devices with curved screens. Stepped batteries are made of two batteries that are added on top of one another to create a step. LG Chem says this battery type can be used to fill what might otherwise be dead space in certain device designs with additional battery capacity. Last, cable batteries will be ideal for devices that are bendable or wearable, says LG Chem. Its cable batteries can be tied in knots, won't heat up when used, and are waterproof. LG Chem believes this type of battery will be a perfect match for devices such as smartwatches. LG Chem said its stepped batteries are already being used in some devices, such as the LG G2. The curved batteries are expected to power LG's next wave of smartphones. Cable batteries won't be ready for consumer-grade gear for another year or so.
LG Display today claimed to be the first to mass produce a flexible OLED panel for smartphones. According to LG, its new screen technology is made from plastic substrates and not glass. The protection layer is applied to the back of the panel and LG says this helps make it bendable and unbreakable. The display is 0.44mm thick, and LG believes it will help spur more innovative designs for smartphones and wearables. The first screen developed by LG has a 6-inch diagonal, weighs 7.2g, and is concave from top to bottom. LG plans to introduce this flexible OLED display in a new smartphone as soon as next month, though it says volume production of curved panels and products incorporating them won't arrive until 2014.
T-Mobile today announced a promotion that will allow customers to purchase the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for $0 down. T-Mobile typically asks for about $100 down on most flagship devices. The Note 3 carries a retail price of about $700. With no downpayment, however, T-Mobile customers who buy the Note 3 will need to make 24 monthly payments of $29.50, which totals $708 over the course of two years. T-Mobile is offering the same $0 option for the LG G2, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II. The monthly costs for these phones are $25, $25, and $24, respectively. T-Mobile didn't say how long the promotion would run.
MetroPCS today announced that the LG Optimus F6 is available online and in stores across the country for $199. The F6 runs Android 4.1 and has a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and HSPA+/LTE. MetroPCS doesn't require contracts and offers plans that start at $40 per month.
LG today announced the Vu 3, a new iteration of its extra-wide phablet. Like its predecessors, the Vu 3 has a 4:3 aspect ratio display. It measures 5.2 inches across the diagonal and has 1280 x 960 pixels. The Vu uses the Qualcomm 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset, which is the same processor found in the LG G2. Unlike its predecessors, the Vu 3 adds a stylus. Other features include a 13-megapixel camera, support for LTE, and 24-bit sound. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and comes with LG's software customizations, which include Knock-On, QuickMemo, and guest mode. The Vu will be available in Korea September 27. There's no word yet if the device will be sold in the U.S. Verizon Wireless is the only carrier to previously offer the original versions of the Vu.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site provide the clearest look yet at what could be a new Google Nexus phone made by LG. LG submitted a "class 2 permissive change" for a variant of Verizon's LG G2 for "some hardware changes (antenna/PCB adjustments)" to the device. Such changes are typical close to the release of new phones. However, the photos that accompany the class 2 permissive change show what appears to be an entirely different device. The new device resembles the shape and design language of the Nexus 4, but has a larger camera design that is plainly visible on the back surface.
Sprint today announced that the LG G2 will be available for pre-order beginning October 11, and available for purchase "before the holidays." The G2 will cost $199.99 with a new contract. Sprint is offering the Quick Window case ($49.99) for free to customers who pre-order the G2 via its web site. The G2 is LG's flagship smartphone and has a 5.2-inch full HD screen, 13-megapixel camera, and Snapdragon 800 processor.
Verizon wireless today announced that its version of the LG G2 will be available online and in stores beginning September 12. It will cost $199 with a new contract.
T-Mobile today said that the LG G2 smartphone will be available from the company's website on September 18 and in most stores on September 25. It will require a $99 down payment followed by 24 monthly payments of $21 each. The G2 is LG's flagship smartphone for the year and features a 5.2-inch HD display. It is available in black or white, though white will only be sold online. The F6 from LG will be available online beginning today and it reaches stores September 11. The F6 will require a $49 down payment followed by 24 monthly payments of $10 each.
LG today confirmed that its G2 flagship smartphone will reach at least one U.S. carrier this month. The phone debuted in August and was originally said to launch "later this year." LG didn't name the carrier that will be first to sell the G2.
Verizon Wireless today began selling two phones from LG on its web site. The LG Enact (pictured) is a sideways slider Android smartphone and the LG Exalt is a basic flip phone. Both phones are available online.
- Enact: This QWERTY-equipped smartphone features a 4-inch, 800 x 480 display; 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture; dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor; and LTE 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0. It includes a handful of LG applications, including QSlide apps and QuickMemo. The Enact costs $19.99 with a new two-year contract.
- Exalt: The Exalt is a feature phone that has a 3-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 3.0, basic web access and messaging apps, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. The Exalt is limited to Verizon's 1X network. It costs $79.99 with a new two-year contract.
LG today claimed to debut an industry first: a 5.5-inch quad high-definition, in-plane switching LCD screen for smartphones. The quad HD resolution display includes 2560 x 1440 pixels, which creates a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch. The panel measures 1.21mm thick and has a 1.2mm bezel. LG claims it is the world's thinnest and slimmest display panel, slimmer even than the one used in the G2. The display also uses a Low Temperature Poly-Silicon (LTPS) substrate to allow for a brightness of 430nit. Quad HD screens are the next logical step after 1080p HD. LG says the high resolution will let smartphones display full-sized web pages with sharp text and no distortion. LG did not say when the new panel might be made available to device makers.
LG came out gunning for Samsung with the G2, its new flagship smartphone. The G2's spec list is crammed full of the latest and greatest options, and its software improvements are also notable.
T-Mobile today said that it will carry several LG smartphones in the coming weeks. First, it confirmed that it will sell the just-announced LG G2. The G2 is the new flagship smartphone from LG that features a 5.2-inch HD screen and 13-megapixel camera. The F6 is a new mid-range Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch display, 5-megapixel camera with back-side illumination and a number of LG applications, such as QuickMemo, QSlide, and VuTalk. Last, T-Mobile confirmed again that it is offering the LG F3, which ls already available at T-Mobile-owned MetroPCS stores. Pricing and availability of the G2 and F6 were not provided.
LG today announced the G2, the successor to last year's flagship smartphone and the first to use the company's new "G" branding for its premium devices. The G2's stand-out feature is a 5.2-inch in-plane switching 1080p HD display. The phone is powered by a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM. The G2's main camera rates 13 megapixels with optical image stabilization and the user-facing camera rates 2 megapixels. Both can capture full HD video. Connectivity options include HSPA+ and LTE, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, HDMI and NFC, and GPS/GLONASS. Storage is set at 32GB. The G2 is packed with software, much of which was created just for the G2. For example, Answer Me will automatically answer calls when the phone is picked up and placed next to your year. Two knocks on the screen will wake it from sleep. It uses a new multitasking feature called Slide Aside, which can be used to page through multiple apps. Text Link scans items such as your text messages and will automatically pull up associated apps like the calendar when the software reads that there's an event invite in the message. Last, it features Guest Mode, which can be used to put the device into a safer setting when the device is handed to friends or children. The G2 is powered by a 3,000mAh battery. It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The LG G2 goes on sale later this year at all four major U.S. carriers and will be available in black or white. Pricing was not disclosed.
We're live from LG's international launch event for their G2 flagship phone. Much has leaked, but not everything. Get the details here first, straight from the source.
Sprint recently added the LG Rumor Reflex S to its lineup of feature phones. The Rumor Reflex S is a slight update to last year's sideways slider that also includes a touch screen. It features a 3.0-inch WQVGA display, QWERTY keyboard, 2-megapixel camera with camcorder, GPS, and microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB of memory. The Rumor Reflex S is also ecologically friendly, and uses recycled materials in the redesigned outer shell. The device includes an energy efficient charger, and is free of harmful materials. It is available from Sprint's web site for $29.99 with a new two-year contract.
T-Mobile today expanded the reach of its MetroPCS brand by launching it in 15 new markets. The additional markets for MetroPCS largely overlay the existing footprint of rival Cricket Wireless, and include Birmingham, Ala.; Fresno and San Diego, Calif.; Tallahassee, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; Baltimore, Md.; Akron, Cleveland, Sandusky, and Toledo, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn.; Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, Rio Grande Valley, and San Antonio, Texas; Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.; and Washington, D.C. Though T-Mobile will set up MetroPCS retail shops in these markets, the MetroPCS stores will actually be selling devices that run on T-Mobile's network, including the Nokia Lumia 521 for $99 and the LG Optimus F3 for $149. Customers in these markets may also bring their own, unlocked GSM handset to use on the Metro/T-Mobile network. Prepaid plans start at $40 per month for unlimited voice and messaging, and 500MB of data.
Consumer Cellular today announced its own smartphone financing program, called EasyPay. EasyPay is available to consumers purchasing smartphones that cost $300 and up. The program requires a $100 down payment, and then monthly payments of $25 that are added to the service plan fees until the device is paid off. A $300 phone, for example, would take eight months to pay off entirely after the $100 down payment and monthly installments. There are no financing costs associated with EasyPay. Consumer Cellular said the LG 930 is the first device compatible with EasyPay. Other devices that can be financed will debut throughout the remainder of the year. EasyPay is a response to similar programs introduced by Cricket Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
The FCC today approved the LG LS-980. The phone supports all three frequency bands Sprint plans to use for LTE in the coming years. It's the first such phone to gain the FCC's approval, although the company Sprint currently uses the 1900 band (band 25) for LTE, but in the coming year will start deploying LTE in the 800 and 2500 bands the company acquired from Nextel and Clearwire, respectively. FCC documents show that the LG LS-980 also supports CDMA, as well as GSM and WCDMA for global roaming. NFC is also included. The FCC approved a potentially related VS-980 phone with Verizon frequency bands the day before.
The FCC today approved an LG phone with distinct design elements that match teaser images LG has issued for its forthcoming G2 flagship phone. The variant approved by the FCC supports AT&T's unique LTE frequency band.
Virgin Mobile USA announced that the LG Optimus F3 is available beginning today for $179.99. The F3 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and has a 4-inch IPS LCD screen with Gorilla Glass; a 1.2GHz dual-core processor; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and LTE 4G; and a 5-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. It comes with LG apps such as VuTalk, QSlide, QuickMemo, and Q Translator. Sprint has been selling the F3 since last month, though under contract. Virgin Mobile does not require contracts.
LG today announced that its next flagship device will be called the G2. Beginning with the G2, LG will no longer include the name "Optimus" with its G Series devices, which represent its top-of-the-line handsets. Further, LG said that its high-end smartphones with 4:3 screens will all be rebranded under the Vu name. LG is expected to fully reveal the G2 on August 7.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today announced that LG has joined the organization's board of directors. Specifically, Minsoo Lee, chief research engineer for standards and technology at LG, will fill the new seat at the SIG's board. The Bluetooth SIG's board is composed of 11 different companies spread around the globe, including Apple, CSR, Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Nordic, Toshiba, and now LG Electronics. The group has more than 18,500 member companies.
LG today said that owners of the LG Optimus G Pro may now download and install a feature pack that adds several new capabilities to the device. The feature pack focuses on several neat tools, including Smart Video (pauses/resumes video playback based on user's eye position), Dual Camera (shoots images with both cameras at the same time), and Pause & Resume Recording (lets users create a single file from multiple recordings). The feature pack also makes improvements to the smart remote with support for text entry via the G Pro. Last, the feature pack adds more color options to the LED light. The feature pack is free to download over the air.
The U.S International Trade Commission today found that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not violate a patent owned by InterDigital. This was the preliminary decision reached by an administrative law judge. The full ITC will make a final decision on the matter in October. InterDigital is a patent-licensing firm and had sued the companies over intellectual property pertaining to power conservation and messaging in mobile devices. LG was also named in the original suit, but settled with InterDigital. InterDigital was hoping the ITC would block the offending devices from entering the U.S.
Qualcomm and LG announced that the successor to the LG Optimus G will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. The 800 is the most advanced processor currently available from Qualcomm. According to Qualcomm, the 800 delivers up to 75% better performance than the S4 processor thanks in part to improved asynchronous multiprocessing, which raises and lowers the performance of each core in response to computing needs. The 800 can be paired with LTE 4G, and includes the Adreno 330 GPU, which offers twice the graphics performance of the current Adreno chip. The 800 also supports 1080 video capture and playback, Miracast, as well as DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus audio. Neither Qualcomm nor LG said when this new G phone would reach the market.