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LG Mini-fies G3 with G3 s

Jul 17, 2014, 8:10 AM   by Rich Brome

LG today announced the G3 s, a smaller and more affordable version of the company's new G3 flagship phone. The phone shares the same front and back design as the G3, but in a smaller, lighter body that's 1 mm thicker. The display shifts from 5.5 inches to 5.0 inches with 720p resolution. The processor steps down to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip. The camera steps from 13 megapixels to 8, although it keeps the laser focusing system. Memory, battery, and Wi-Fi specs have been similarly scaled down. It does retain a memory card slot, removable battery, LTE, and NFC. The new model launches tomorrow in Korea as the G3 Beat, and "in the weeks that follow" in Europe as the G3 s. Pricing and US availability were not announced.


LG G3 Reaches Sprint Stores a Week Early

Jul 11, 2014, 10:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint said the LG G3 is available in stores and online beginning today. The device was originally expected to reach Sprint stores July 18, but it has arrived a full week early.


Google Camera Adds Android Wear Shutter Button

Jul 10, 2014, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google pushed out a small update to its Android camera application this week that makes it compatible with Android Wear devices. Specifically, owners of the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live will be able to remotely trigger their smartphone's camera from their smartwatch. The functionality includes a countdown timer, but not a viewfinder. Google Camera is free to download from the Play Store.


LG to Improve the G3's Keyboard

Jul 10, 2014, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced a pending software update to the G3's Smart Keyboard application that will bestow it with new features. The added functions include emoji suggestions based on keywords; application-based text suggestions that learn to predict salutations for specific contacts; improved next-word suggestions; bilingual word suggestions that don't require users to swap languages; and improved trace input, which allows users to swipe words rather than type them. LG said the keyboard app will be updated once the G3's global launch is complete. The software will be pushed to users' devices automatically. The G3 Smart Keyboard is powerful in that it allows users to adjust the height of the keys to better suit their hands and typing style.


Verizon Taking Preorders for LG G3, Ships July 17

Jul 10, 2014, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless is now allowing customers to preorder the LG G3 via its web site. Verizon is asking for $99 with a two-year contract, $30 per month with Verizon Edge, or $600 at full retail. The device ships July 17 and is XLTE compatible.


Google Brings Screen Mirroring to Chromecast

Jul 9, 2014, 11:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said its Chromecast HDTV plugin device can now mirror the screens of nearby Android smartphones and tablets. With screen mirroring, anything that appears on the phone or tablet's screen will appear on the TV. The feature can be used to share photos or view/interact with apps on the big screen. According to Google, screen mirroring is available as a beta to Nexus devices and select phones from Samsung, HTC, and LG. Mirroring requires the Chromecast app version 1.7, which should reach the Play Store in the coming days. The Chromecast is a HDMI dongle that plugs directly into TV sets. Users can cast content, such as music and movies, from select apps to the Chromecast via Wi-Fi.


LG Debuts KizOn Wearable for Kids

Jul 9, 2014, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the KizOn, a wearable device for children. Like many kid-focused products, the KizOn is more about delivering peace of mind to the parents than it is about providing the wearer with features and functions. The KizOn uses a combination of Wi-Fi and GPS to provide parents with up-to-date location data. Parents can call the KizOn from their own smartphone to talk to the child. If the child doesn't answer 10 calls in a row, the device will automatically pick up the eleventh call and allow the parents to listen to what's going on around the KizOn. The KizOn can place calls, but only to one preprogrammed number. Parents can change the preprogrammed number at any time through the KizOn app. The KizOn will be offered in several different colors and it is compatible with a handful of accessories for personalization. LG said the KizOn will debut in Korea on July 10, followed by North America and Europe later this year. Pricing was not revealed.


AT&T's LG G3 Reaches Stores July 11

Jul 7, 2014, 8:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said its variant of the LG G3 will be available in stores starting July 11, with preorders starting July 8. AT&T is charging $199 for the G3 with a new contract, or $24.17 per month with AT&T Next 18, or $29 per month with AT&T Next 12 (no down payment required with the Next plans). AT&T is also kicking off preorders for the LG G Watch on July 8. The G Watch will join the G3 in AT&T stores July 11. It costs $229. AT&T said it will offer a 50% discount on select accessories for the G3 and G Watch for a limited time when purchased in stores.


Sprint to Begin Selling LG G3 July 18

Jul 3, 2014, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today revealed it will commence sales of the LG G3 on July 18 in stores, online and via telephone. Sprint is offering several different ways to pay for the device. With Sprint Easy Pay, for example, customers can buy the G3 with $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments of $25. Preorders for the device begin July 11. The company is offering award cards for early adopters of the phone. New and existing customers who buy the G3 between July 11 and July 24 will qualify for a $150 gift card, and those who buy the G3 between July 25 and August 14 will qualify for a $100 gift card. T-Mobile plans to sell the G3 beginning July 16. AT&T and Verizon have yet to announced G3 availability.


Microsoft Joins Qualcomm-Backed AllSeen Alliance

Jul 2, 2014, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has joined the AllSeen Alliance, an effort backed by Qualcomm to provide a standard for connecting the Internet of Things. The alliance already has 50 companies on board, including LG, Panasonic, and Sharp. The group's goal is to make it easy for devices to interact with one another by devising a single standard through which they can communicate. Qualcomm's rivals, however, are prepared to form their own group, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters. The competing consortium may launch as soon as next week, and will seek to create its own standard for connecting the Internet of Things. Apple has already announced HomeKit, its own protocol for connecting smartphones and tablets to devices around the home. Further, Google recently released an SDK for its Nest thermostat, which will eventually allow smartphones, tablets, and other apps to interact with Nest. Multiple standards may make it more difficult for consumers to find devices that work with one another. Reuters didn't say which companies are going to support the competitor to AllSeen.


T-Mobile Now Accepting Preorders for LG G3

Jun 30, 2014, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile announced that customers can preorder the LG G3 beginning today. The device reaches stores July 16. The full retail price is $599. T-Mobile didn't immediately say what monthly pricing will be for Simple Choice Plans.


GIV Mobile Offering Free Phone to Customers

Jun 26, 2014, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

GIV Mobile today said it is offering potential customers a free Android smartphone when they prepay for two months of service. GIV is an MVNO that operates on T-Mobile's network. Its plans cost $40 and $50, and include unlimited talk and text and up to either 250MB or 2.5GB of 3G/4G data per month, respectively. GIV is giving away the Alcatel OneTouch for free, but also sells older flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG G2 at reduced prices. GIV is unique in that it earmarks 8% of customers' bills for donation to various charities. Customers are able to select up to three charities to which their donations can be sent. GIV launched in May 2013.


Google Shows More Details of Android Wear

Jun 25, 2014, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today provided a deeper look at what Android Wear - its platform for wearable devices - will be able to do. Android Wear will first be deployed on smart watches, with LG, Samsung, and Motorola making the first wave of hardware. Much of Android Wear's functionality comes from Google Now and its voice-controlled searches and actions. The user interface includes multiple screens that are accessed by swiping up and down, and back and forth. Many of Android Wear's initial powers will center on interacting with smartphone-based notifications. The Google Now functionality adds tools such as voice reminders, voice search, and similar powers to the platform. Android Wear supports third-party apps thanks to the full SDK, which Google made available to developers today. The apps are automatically installed on Wear when the corresponding version is installed on the associated smartphone. The LG G watch and the Samsung Gear Live will be available for sale later today, with the Moto 360 arriving later this summer. Google didn't provide details about the hardware, but they can be ordered via the Google Play Store.

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Samsung Bumps Galaxy S 5 Specs in Korea

Jun 18, 2014, 8:31 AM   by Rich Brome

Samsung today introduced a new version of of its flagship Galaxy S 5 phone with a faster processor and higher-resolution display. The Galaxy S 5 LTE-A has a quad-HD display like the rival LG G3, the new Snapdragon 805 processor, and support for LTE-Advanced at speeds up to 225 Mbps. For now, it's available only in Samsung's home country Korea; no plans for global release were announced.


Virgin Offering $25 Monthly Smartphone Plan

Jun 17, 2014, 9:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile USA today announced a limited-time offer that drops the price of its entry-level smartphone plan to $25 per month. The Unlimited Talk and Text plan is available to select Android smartphones, including the LG Volt, LG Optimus F3, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, and several others. The plan provides unlimited domestic voice minutes and domestic messaging, but no data. Virgin says the devices all include Wi-Fi and can access data through hotspots. The idea is to give customers many of the benefits smartphones offer without the associated monthly cost. The plan is available to new customers only through September 2. Virgin is also offering a $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot plan that allows select handsets to act as mobile hotspots for up to five devices. The plan provides 250MB of data access and is compatible with the HTC Desire and EVO V 4G, iPhone 4s/5/5s, Kyocera Hydro Vibe, LG Volt, and Samsung Galaxy S5. Customers need to subscribe to Virgin's Beyond Talk monthly plan in order to use the $5 Daily Mobile Hotspot feature.


Europe and Korea Look to Define 5G

Jun 16, 2014, 7:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 16, 2014, 8:00 AM

The European Commission and South Korea today announced plans to together define the future 5G wireless standard, as well as develop the technologies to support it. The two bodies signed a Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and 5G to increase the discussions and research around the topic. A wide number of companies will participate, including Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Nokia, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor, and Telefonica from Europe, as well as Samsung, LG, SK Telecom, and others in Korea. One of the key ideas behind 5G is not to just increase speeds, but to significantly boost capacity. Capacity improvements will help the 5G networks of the future handle all the potential devices connecting to them, such as phones, tablets, wearables, vehicles, and the broader Internet of Things. The collaboration has three main goals: First, to develop a broad definition of the key functionalities of 5G and create a time table for its creation by the end of 2015; Second, to kick off joint research in the pursuit of 5G by 2016 in coordination with 3GPP and ITU: and Third, to agree on global radio frequency bands for 5G in order to promote interoperability and roaming between carriers and countries. "5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and Korea recognize this," said Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda. "This is the first time ever that public authorities have joined together in this way, with the support of private industry, to push forward the process of standardization. Today's declaration signals the our commitment to being global digital leaders." LTE, which is what most 4G networks use, has some room for growth in terms of speeds, but capacity is limited and the potential for global roaming is limited due to the wide number of spectrum bands used by carriers around the world. It is these and other issues that the EU and S. Korea hope to resolve in their pursuit of 5G.


LG Debuts SDK for the G3's QuickCircle Case

Jun 10, 2014, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today made an SDK available to developers that will allow them to tap into the QuickCircle case accessory that goes along with the G3. The QuickCircle case handles several different tasks. First, the case has a circular window to the G3's screen through which users can view the time, place calls, send text messages, take photos, or listen to music. The case includes circular smart lighting to accentuate the design, and includes a Qi-based connector for wireless charging. The LG QCircle SDK will let developers customize their own apps and make them directly accessible from the QuickCircle window via LG's QCircle user interface. The SDK is free for developers to download. The LG G3 will be available in the U.S. later this summer.


ZTE Hopes High-End Phones Will Increase Sales

Jun 9, 2014, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

ZTE today said it plans to push into the high-end smartphone market controlled by the likes of Apple, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony. According to Reuters, sales of ZTE's mid-range and entry-level handsets are strong, but margins are too thin. The company wants to use high-end handsets to help increase its margins. "We will make more and more premium smartphones," said ZTE's Zeng Xuezong to Reuters. The company wants to trade its image as a low-cost phone maker for one that rivals the current market leaders. "There is indeed a gap between the brand awareness of Chinese companies and those top global brands, and this is what our team is trying to build for consumers" with handsets such as the Nubia Z5, said Zeng. ZTE believes it can increase is worldwide sales from 40 million units in 2013 to as much as 100 million units by 2016. In the U.S., it is seeking to raise its marketshare from 6% to 10% by 2017 with the help of premium devices and by spending more money on marketing. Most of the ZTE handsets available in the U.S. are entry-level devices sold by prepaid or low-cost carriers.


Cricket Snags LG Optimus L70 for $50 After Rebate

Jun 4, 2014, 1:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced the LG Optimus L70 smartphone will be available online and in stores beginning Friday for $50 after a $50 mail-in rebate. The L70 was announced earlier this year and is already being sold by MetroPCS and others.


Hands-On: LG G3

May 27, 2014, 2:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The G3 from LG shows plenty of promise, though it is far more complicated than the "simple is the new smart" message LG used to describe it. Here is our initial hands-on report.

continued ›

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LG Shows Off the G3, with Quad HD Display, at Global Events

May 27, 2014, 12:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 27, 2014, 12:41 PM

LG today announced the LG G3, its flagship smartphone for 2014. The G3 follows design ideas set by the G2 and later refined by the G Flex. The defining feature of the device is the display, which is one of the industry's first quad HD (2560 x 1440) screens. It measures 5.5 inches across the diagonal, making for a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch. The G3 has a "metallic" (but made of plastic) rear cover to boost its visual and tactile appeal. Like the G2, the volume toggle and home buttons are placed on the back of the phone rather than the sides. LG claims this makes the buttons more natural to use when the device is held in the hand. The G3 has a 13-megapixel camera aided by optical image stabilization, laser-assisted auto-focus, and dual-LED flash. The device has a 2.1-megapixel user-facing camera with wide aperture. The G3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with four cores at 2.5GHz each. The device will come in several different configurations with respect to memory, including a 2GB model and a 3GB model. Internal storage will range between 16GB and 32GB. The G3 has a built-in 1W speaker with Boost AMP for improved sound reproduction. The phone has a 3,000mAh battery that is removable, and it supports wireless charging. The G3 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes a new, redesigned user interface from LG that is flatter and more closely resembles that of native Android. Some of the software features include a kill switch that owners can use to disable the device; Knock Code for personalized device security; Content Lock to secure and protect individual files; as well as Smart Keyboard for adaptive learning of the owner's typing habits; and Smart Notice for a personal assistant (akin to Siri or Cortana). The LG G3 supports global LTE networks and will be sold by all four major U.S carriers later this summer. It will be offered in a handful of colors.


T-Mobile Debuts VoLTE in Seattle

May 22, 2014, 11:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 22, 2014, 11:48 AM

T-Mobile today announced that it has launched VoLTE service in its home market of Seattle. T-Mobile claims that VoLTE service offers both voice and data in the same radio layer and offers call set-up times that are twice as quick. T-Mobile's VoLTE service includes HD Voice, though T-Mobile has offered HD Voice separately since last year. In order for HD Voice to work, both handsets need to be HD Voice-capable. According to T-Mobile, its VoLTE service uses Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC) to make sure calls don't drop when leaving LTE coverage regions. This is an LTE Advanced feature that assures seamless voice service no matter the technology used to connect the call. VoLTE will first be available to the LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Light handsets. Owners of these devices will need to update the software of their phone in order to make use of VoLTE. T-Mobile said its VoLTE service will expand to new regions and devices over the months ahead. AT&T is launching VoLTE this week, and Verizon plans to launch VoLTE later this year.


LG Reveals QuickCircle Case Ahead of G3 Debut

May 22, 2014, 7:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today showed off the QuickCircle case, an accessory for the G3 smartphone that will be announced next week. The QuickCircle case handles several different tasks. First, the case has a circular window to the G3's screen through which users can view the time, place calls, send text messages, take photos, or listen to music. The case includes circular smart lighting to accentuate the design, and includes a Qi-based connector for wireless charging. LG says the case was designed to protect the G3, but also to show off the device's shape. It will be available in black, white, gold, aqua, and pink. LG didn't say how much the QuickCircle case will cost, nor when it will go on sale.


Boost, Virgin Land the LG Volt for $180

May 12, 2014, 7:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA today announced the immediate availability of the LG Volt (also known as the LG F90). LG announced the Volt earlier this year. It features a 4.7-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel main camera, 1.3-megapixel front camera, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, NFC, removable 3,000 mAh battery, tri-band LTE (Sprint Spark), IR remote control, and a memory card slot. The Volt runs Android 4.4 KitKat and has LG software such as QSlide, Knock Code, and Smart screen. The phone is available online and in stores beginning today for $179.99. The Boost model is blue, while the Virgin model is white.


LG Says F70 with LTE Coming to North America

May 9, 2014, 7:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the global launch of the F70 Android smartphone, which it first revealed at Mobile World Congress in February. The F70 is very similar to the F90, which is branded as the Volt for Sprint. The F70 features a 4.5-inch WVGA screen, quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, and a 5-megapixel/VGA camera configuration. The F70 comes with support for HSPA+ and LTE networks, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC. It features a handful of LG user interface functions, such as Knock Code, Guest Mode, and Quick Window. LG said the F70 will reach Europe in May, followed by Asia, Central and South America, and North America later. No U.S. carriers have formally announced support for the F70.


LG Display Shows Off 5.5-Inch Quad HD Screen

May 8, 2014, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display today announced that its 5.5-inch quad HD display is ready for the company's "forthcoming flagship smartphone," which it says will be released during the first half of the year. LG has scheduled a global press event on May 27, which is when it is expected to reveal the G3 smartphone. The new display is an IPS LCD with 2560 x 1440 pixels, which gives it 1.8 times the resolution of today's full HD screens. LG says the measurements give it a pixel density of 538 pixels per inch - 200 more pixels per inch than Apple's Retina Display. According to LG Display, the new LCD panel boasts an ultra-slim design. It measures 1.2mm thick, and has a bezel that measures 1.15mm. This will allow LG and other device makers to install the screen in devices with minimal framing around the display. The new display will reach volume production shortly. Quad HD (2K) screens are generally accepted as the next frontier for smartphone displays, though they represent an in-between step on the way to Ultra HD (4K) displays.


LG's L70 Hits Verizon Prepaid As the Optimus Exceed 2

May 2, 2014, 6:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently added the LG Optimus Exceed 2 to its roster of prepaid phones. The Exceed 2 is a rebranded variant of the L70, which LG introduced earlier this year and is already being sold by MetroPCS. The Exceed 2 runs Android 4.4 KitKat and comes with LG's user interface enhancements, including Knock Code, KnockON, QuickMemo and QSlide apps. The display, which measures 4.5 inches with 800 x 400 resolution, it slightly larger than the original Exceed's, but the device loses support for Verizon's LTE network. It can only access 3G data. The Exceed 2 is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. It has 4GB of internal storage, a 2,100mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel with WVGA video capture. The Exceed 2 also includes Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and Wi-Fi. The LG Optimus Exceed 2 carries a full retail price of $250, but Verizon is selling it for $80 with its prepaid plans. It is available immediately.


Sprint Pushing KitKat to LG G Flex

Apr 28, 2014, 12:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said that Android 4.4 KitKat is now available for the LG G Flex smartphone. The update will be distributed over the next week, but users can download it manually via the device's settings tools.


T-Mobile and MetroPCS Score LG's L Series III Phones

Apr 22, 2014, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 23, 2014, 1:40 PM

T-Mobile and MetroPCS today announced the availability of the LG L90 and L70 (pictured), devices that fall into LG's L Series III lineup. Both phones were revealed by LG earlier this year. The L90 and L70 run Android 4.4 KitKat with LG's user interface enhancements. The hardware puts LG's minimalistic design esthetic to use. Shared features include support for Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi.

  • L90:The L90 is being sold by T-Mobile and supports the carrier's HSPA+ 4G network, but not LTE. It has a 4.7-inch qHD display, quad-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, 2,540mAh battery, and an 8-megapixel/1.3-megapixel camera configuration. It will be available beginning April 30 for $0 down with 24 equal monthly device payments of $9.50, or the full retail price of $228.
  • L70: The L70 will be sold by MetroPCS. It steps the display down to 4.5 inches and 800 x 400 resolution, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a 2,100mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel/VGA camera configuration. The L70 is available beginning today for $49 after a $100 instant rebate. For a limited time, MetroPCS will offer an additional $49 rebate to customers who pay for two months of service in advance. The L70 supports HSPA+, but not LTE.


Verizon Adds LG Lucid 3 to Inexpensive Phone Roster

Apr 17, 2014, 10:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the LG Lucid 3, a low-cost Android smartphone. The Lucid 3 includes a 4.7-inch qHD display and a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It features a 5-megapixel camera with full HD video capture and a VGA user-facing camera for self portraits. The phone runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and comes with a wide selection of LG apps, such as Knock Code, QSlide and QuickMemo. Other features include Isis Mobile Wallet, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE 4G, and a removable 2,440mAh battery. The LG Lucid 3 is free with a new two-year agreement, $12.50 per month with Verizon Edge, or $300 at full retail. It is available beginning today.


LG G Flex to See KitKat Update Today

Apr 17, 2014, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T is making Android 4.4.2 KitKat available to the LG G Flex starting today. The update includes new status and navigation bars, and improves battery life and processor performance. The update is free to download via Wi-Fi.


Phone Makers, Carriers to Add Anti-Theft Tools to Phones

Apr 15, 2014, 3:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 15, 2014, 3:49 PM

The CTIA Wireless Association today said a number of handset makers and wireless network operators have agreed to a basic framework that will eventually provide consumers with better anti-theft tools for their smartphones. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is meant to deter theft while also giving phone makers and carriers room to innovate. All the companies agreed to implement a baseline anti-theft tool preloaded on (or downloadable to) all wireless smartphones manufactured after July 2015. This tool will let consumers: remotely wipe their data; render the smartphone inoperable to unauthorized users; prevent reactivation without owner's consent; and reverse the inoperability of the device as well as restore the data to the device in the event it is found by the owner. Consumers will also be free to use whatever third-party anti-theft tools they wish in addition to those provided by the phone maker. All signatories will make the baseline anti-theft tool available with all its core features. The initial batch of companies signing the commitment include: Apple; Asurion; AT&T; Google; HTC America; Huawei; Motorola; Microsoft; Nokia; Samsung; Sprint; T-Mobile; U.S. Cellular; and Verizon Wireless. Some of those who haven't signed include Kyocera, LG, Sony, ZTE. A number of lawmakers lauded the commitment, which arrives several months after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler mandated that wireless companies come up with such a solution or face regulatory intervention.


LG Updates Pair of Phones for Verizon

Apr 14, 2014, 11:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 14, 2014, 5:10 PM

Verizon Wireless has added two refreshed LG handsets to its lineup of inexpensive phones. The LG Optimus Zone 2 and Extravert 2 are both sequels that improve specs and features. They are limited to Verizon's 3G network, as neither supports LTE 4G.

  • Zone 2: This entry-level smartphone (pictured) runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes a 3.5-inch screen with 480 x 320 pixels, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 3-megapixel camera, 1,700mAh battery, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0. Some of LG's software and apps are aboard, including QuickMemo and Guest Mode. The full retail price is $200, but Verizon is offering the device for just $50.
  • Extravert 2: This updated feature phone is a sideways slider that includes a touch screen on the front and a full QWERTY keyboard underneath. It has a 3.2-inch display with 400 x 240 pixels and LG's touch-based user interface for feature phones. Other features include a 2-megapixel camera with video capture, Bluetooth 3.0, media apps, Verizon content, and the Opera Mini web browser. The Extravert 2 costs $200 with no contract, $80 with a two-year agreement, or $8.33 per month with Verizon Edge.
Both phones are available from Verizon's web site.


Sprint's LG G2 Earns KitKat Update

Mar 31, 2014, 9:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint's variant of the LG G2 should begin receiving the Android 4.4 KitKat update beginning today. In addition to KitKat, the update adds cloud printing. The system update is being distributed in waves and may take several days to reach all users.


Sprint to Launch HD Voice Nationwide by July

Mar 26, 2014, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the company is prepared to expand the availability of HD Voice to the entire country on or about July 1. HD Voice provides clearer voice calls between two HD Voice-compatible phones. The service is available in a few markets and on more than a dozen devices, including the Apple iPhone 5s/5c, LG Nexus 5, and Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3. Sprint had hoped to expand HD Voice to more markets last year, but is now on track to deliver on that commitment by July.


LG to Push Knock Code to G2, G Flex in April

Mar 24, 2014, 9:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced it is prepared to extend the availability of its Knock Code feature beginning next month. Knock Code lets LG device owners use a pattern of knocks to wake up and unlock their smartphone. It was first shown off on the LG G Pro 2 at Mobile World Congress. According to LG, the G2 and G Flex will be first to receive a firmware update in April that enables the feature. LG didn't say if the update will be made available to all markets. LG eventually plans to extend Knock Code to the bulk of its Android smartphones.


Boost Mobile Scores the LG Optimus F3

Mar 24, 2014, 9:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile announced the LG Optimus F3 is available beginning today for $129.99. 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 and Virgin Mobile have been selling the F3 since last summer. Boost Mobile says LTE plans compatible with the F3 start at $55 per month. Boost does not require contracts.


LG and Motorola Reveal First Android Wear Devices

Mar 18, 2014, 11:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG and Motorola today both followed Google's revelation of Android Wear with news of their involvement with the project. LG showed off the G Watch, its take on a smartwatch running Google's Android Wear platform. LG said its device will be the first Android Wear product to launch, and it is expected to arrive during the second quarter of the year. Motorola announced the Moto 360 (pictured), a circular timepiece that pays homage to the past while also looking forward to the future. Neither LG nor Motorola provided specifics about their devices, other than to say they will incorporate Google Now voice commands and rich notifications that are part of the Android Wear OS. Both companies said more details about the watches will be revealed over time.


Google Announces Android Wear Project

Mar 18, 2014, 11:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 18, 2014, 11:12 AM

Google today formally introduced its effort to port Android to wearables. The company announced Android Wear, a version of the Android operating system that will start with watches and eventually move on to other form factors. Google's immediate vision for wearables - and watches in particular - include some basic functions. Google believes smart wearables should provide useful information when the wearer needs it, such as posts, social network updates, and messaging notifications. Google thinks wearables should be able to answer questions, such as "OK Google." Google's Android-based wearables will include Google Now, its voice-based assistant, for performing searches and issuing commands. Android Wear will give people a better way to monitor their health and fitness, such as help with exercise goals and provide fitness summaries. Last, Google sees wearables as the key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear will let users access and control other devices - music players, phones, TVs - through Google Now. Developers interested in Project Android Wear can sign up to participate in a preview. Developers will be able to customize their app notifications for watches powered by Android Wear, for example. Google said that more resources, including APIs, will be available to developers soon. Google also noted that it is working with Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung to create Android Wear-based watches, which should arrive later this year.


LG G Pro 2 Sales Kick Off Across Asia, U.S. Launch Unknown

Mar 18, 2014, 6:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today officially launched the G Pro 2 smartphone in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippine, Vietnam, Indonesia, and other countries. The phone, which was announced at Mobile World Congress last month, includes a 5.9-inch full HD screen, quad-core processor, 13-megapixel camera, and LG's Knock Code unlocking feature. U.S. carriers haven't yet announced plans to sell the device, though last year's G Pro was sold by AT&T.


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