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printed January 21, 2017
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T-Mobile and MetroPCS Announce the LG Aristo

Tuesday, 10:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile and MetroPCS both plan to sell the LG Aristo starting later this month. The handset is an entry-level device running Android 7 Nougat. Specs include a 5-inch HD display, 1.4 GHz quad-core processor, 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel front camera, and 16 GB of storage. Other features include a fingerprint reader, microUSB, headphone jack, speakerphone, and WiFi Calling/VoLTE. The LG Aristo will reach T-Mobile stores on Jan. 25. It will cost $144, or $6 per month on a payment plan. The Aristo will hit MetroPCS stores on Jan. 23 at a cost of $59 after instant rebate.


LG Suggests G6 Will Be Waterproof

Jan 12, 2017, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today revealed more potential details about its forthcoming G6 flagship handset in a teaser video. LG asked a number of people what they want in a phone, and those in the video say they're looking for something that has a big screen, but is easy to use one-handed, won't get ruined if dropped in the toilet, and has a good camera. LG has already said the G6 will drop the modular design of last year's G5 and will boast a 5.7-inch QHD+ display with thinner bezels. LG may announce the phone as soon as the Mobile World Congress trade show scheduled for February.


LG Says Next Flagship to Get QHD+ 18:9 LCD Screen

Jan 10, 2017, 1:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display has announced a new smartphone screen intended for its forthcoming flagship handset, the G6. The screen measures 5.7 inches across the diagonal and includes a non-standard 18:9 aspect ratio. "The new 18:9 aspect ratio represents LG Display's direction on how displays should evolve, while meeting the rising trend for watching videos on smartphones," said the company. "The 18:9 aspect ratio is also optimized for multi-tasking, using dual-screen functions." The QHD+ resolution adds 320 pixels to the length of the display, improving it from 2560 x 1440 pixels to 2880 x 1440 pixels with a pixel density of 564ppi. The new screen also shrinks the bezel requirements, reduces overall thickness, improves outdoor viewability, and reduces power requirements. LG is expected to announced the G6 with this new display as soon as the Mobile World Congress trade show next month.

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LG to Drop Modular Design for G6 Flagship

Jan 4, 2017, 7:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG's 2017 flagship handset will move away from the modular design the company debuted with last year's G5 and will instead focus on aesthetics and usability, reports the Wall Street Journal. The G5 featured a removable bottom piece that could be replaced with snap-in modules. The phone was largely considered a flop. Consumer feedback made clear that most people aren't interested in modular phones and won't pay extra for the modules. LG will announce the G6 "in the very near future," according to Chief Technologist Skott Ahn. The company may reveal the phone at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February, but is still considering several other dates. LG plans to initially sell the G6 in North America, Europe, and South Korea. The price is expected to fall between $500 and $600.


Hands On with the LG Stylo 3

Jan 4, 2017, 9:30 AM   by Rich Brome

The Stylo series is bright spot in LG's lineup, popular with US carriers and consumers for its value. No one else offers a phone with such a large screen, stylus, plus other desirable features, for such a low price. The latest installment is the Stylo 3. Read on for our hands-on first impressions.

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Hands on with LG's Updated K10

Jan 3, 2017, 11:12 PM   by Rich Brome

LG updated its K-series phones this week, refreshing its more affordable Android lineup with improved specs and features. The K10 — the new K10, that is — adds a fingerprint sensor and spruces up the design. We checked it out.

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LG Debuts Third-Generation Stylus Smartphone

Dec 22, 2016, 8:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has unwrapped the Stylus 3 as an early gift this holiday season, to be called the Stylo 3 in the U.S. LG said it improved the writing experience of the Stylo 3 thanks to a 1.8mm tip on the stylus and improved screen feedback for a more natural feel. The revised pen-based software includes PenPop 2.0 (memos are never out of sight), Pen Keeper (warning system to prevent stylus loss), and Screen-Off Memo (note-taking even when the screen is off). The device features a 5.7-inch 720p display. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz octa-core processor from MediaTek with 3 GB RAM, 16 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 2 TB. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. Other features include a removable 3,200mAh battery, FM radio, and fingerprint sensor. LG said more information about the Stylo 3 will be shared during the Consumer Electronics Show.


LG Reveals Mid-Range K Series Ahead of CES

Dec 22, 2016, 8:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has announced a handful of K Series handsets that round out its roster of affordable devices. Shared features between the devices include removable batteries, Bluetooth 4.x, WiFi, support for 3G/4G networks, and support for memory cards.

  • K10: The largest of the new devices, the K10 has a 5.3-inch, 720p touch display that's covered by 2.5D curved glass. The phone boasts a metal frame and measures 7.9mm thick. The K10 is powered by a 1.5 GHz octa-core MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. It has a 13-megapixel main camera with a 5-megapixel user-facing camera. The K10 includes a fingerprint sensor, NFC, and the battery rates 2,800mAh. The phone will ship with Android 7 Nougat.
  • K8: This slightly smaller handset has a 5-inch 720p screen and is powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 425 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. It has a 13-megapixel main camera with a 5-megpaixel user-facing camera and advanced camera functions. The K8 includes NFC and the battery rates 2,500mAh. The phone will ship with Android 7 Nougat.
  • K4: Like the K8, the K4 has a 5-inch 720p screen. It is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 64 GB. Both the front and rear cameras have 5-megapixel sensors, and the battery has a capacity of 2,500mAh. The K4 ships with Android 6 Marshmallow.
  • K3: The smallest and least expensive of the bunch, the K3 has a 4.5-inch FWVGA display. It is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 32 GB. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the front camera has a 2-megapixel camera. The K3 has a 2,100mAh battery and ships with Android 6 Marshmallow.
LG said more details about the new K Series handsets, including pricing and availability, will be shared during next month's Consumer Electronics Show.


LG Names New CEO, Mobile Biz Head Stays Put

Dec 5, 2016, 10:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today promoted Jo Seong-jin, the head of its Home Appliance & Air Solutions business, to CEO of the entire company effective immediately. Jo will be responsible for all of LG Electronics' business units, which include mobile communications, home entertainment and vehicle components, and home appliances. LG promoted dozens of other executives in its annual review. Juno Cho, the head of LG's mobile division, will remain in place.


Verizon's LG G5 Receiving Android 7 Nougat

Dec 1, 2016, 5:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless says its variant of the LG G5 smartphone is on deck for the Android 7 Nougat system update. The update adds new themes to the G5, the ability to retrieve deleted messages, multi-window support, enriched notifications, tweaked Quick Settings tools, simplified Settings Menu, and more sound settings. Verizon is encouraging G5 owners to download the system update via WiFi. Users will be notified once the update is ready for their phone. Verizon is rolling the update out in waves over the next few days.


FreedomPop to Sell Refurbished Phones

Nov 17, 2016, 10:05 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

FreedomPop today said it plans to sell low-cost, reconditioned smartphones to consumers in the U.S., the U.K., Spain, and Mexico. The FreedomShop will be a single, online space for people to shop for certified used handsets from a wide range of phone makers. FreedomPop said it will look to compete with other markets for used devices by offering competitive prices (up to 80% off original MSRP) on more than 100 phones from the likes of Apple, LG, Samsung, and others. It has forged relationships with more than 200 suppliers of refurbished phones from around the world to ensure its selection is top notch. Importantly, FreedomPop will offer a 30-day "no questions asked" money-back guarantee for any handset purchased from its on line shop. FreedomPop offers free and very-low-cost wireless service in a handful of countries, including the U.S.


Google, Sprint Deploy RCS on Android Phones

Nov 4, 2016, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google and Sprint today said some of Sprint's Android phones now have access to RCS-based messaging features. Google added Rich Communication Services, powered by its Jibe cloud platform, to its own Messenger SMS application. Some of the features of RCS include group chat, high-resolution photo sharing, advanced calling features, and read receipts. According to Sprint, select LG handsets and all Nexus handsets will automatically receive the new RCS-based Messenger app later today. Sprint customers who own other Android devices should be able to download the app directly from the Google Play Store. The RCS-enriched Messenger app will be installed on all Sprint phones beginning in 2017. Earlier this year, the GSMA and a large number of global network operators agreed to deploy RCS with Google. Sprint was one of the initial supporters of the GSMA's plans, though so far AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless have remained silent on potential adoption of the Google-made RCS app.


Verizon Shares Final LG V20 Launch Details

Oct 19, 2016, 2:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today finalized pricing and availability info regarding the LG V20 handset. The device will be available for preorder starting 10/20 and reach stores on 10/27. The V20 will cost $28 per month for 24 months, or $672 at full retail. Verizon has several promotions associated with the V20. To start, customers who trade in select phones can receive up to $300 off the V20 when purchased on a payment plan. Further, Verizon customers can score a free pair of Bang & Olufsen H3 headphones with a V20 purchase. Last, customers who purchase a V20 can get the LG Stylo 2 V for just $1 per month for 24 months.


Verizon Adds a 'V' to the LG Stylo 2

Oct 19, 2016, 2:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today said it will kick off sales of the LG Stylo 2 V on Oct. 20. The phone will cost $240, or $10 per month for 24 months. The Stylo 2 V, like the variants already sold by Boost and Cricket, has a 5.7-inch screen with stylus, a 13-megapixel main camera, 5-megapixel selfie camera, memory card slot, and 3,000mAh battery. The phone is powered by an octa-core 1.8 GHz Snapdragon processor, which is a change from the other versions, with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The Stylo 2 V runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.


T-Mobile Shares Pricing Details for LG V20

Oct 17, 2016, 7:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today offered customers more information about its planned launch of the LG V20 handset. Customers may preorder the phone starting today. T-Mobile is asking for a down payment of $50, followed by 24 monthly payments of $30 per month. The full retail price of the handset from T-Mobile is $770. Customers that take advantage of T-Mobile's Jump! On Demand program can get the V20 for $0 up front and $34 a month over 18 months. T-Mobile is offering several promotions alongside its launch of the V20. To start, customers can receive a minimum $200 in credit toward the V20 when they trade in any working LTE smartphone. T-Mobile is also giving away a pair of Bang & Olufsen H3 headphones ($149 value) to those who buy the V20. The headphone offer must be redeemed online. The V20 is a follow-up to last year's V10. Its defining feature is a small second screen on the front for notifications and app shortcuts. The device is semi-rugged and includes a 5.7-inch quad HD screen, Snapdragon 820 processor, 16-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel secondary camera (wide-angle), and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The T-Mobile variant is the first to support LTE in Band 66. The phone will also be among the first to ship with Android 7 Nougat and a new search tool from Google called In Apps. The device goes on sale October 28.


LG Debuts Wireless Charging Pad

Oct 12, 2016, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Innotek today announced the Quick Wireless Charging Pad, a way for smartphone owners to rapidly charge their mobile devices. The Quick Wireless Charging Pad relies on the Wireless Power Consortium, or Qi, wireless charging spec and supplies 15 W of power. LG Innotek says the pad can provide a 50% charge to many of its phones in just 30 minutes. The pad has special technology to prevent it from overheating. The pad measures the temperature at the point of contact between the pad and the phone, and will automatically cease supplying power if a certain threshold is surpassed. LG Innotek said it may create similar wireless charging products for cars and furniture. The Quick Wireless Charging Pad will go on sale in North America, Europe, and Australia later this month. LG Innotek did not reveal pricing information.


AT&T Shares LG V20 Pricing and Availability

Oct 6, 2016, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 6, 2016, 2:35 PM

AT&T today revealed its launch plans for the LG V20. Customers can preorder the phone starting Friday, Oct. 7, and it will reach stores on Oct. 28. AT&T didn't disclose the full retail price of the V20, but financing options place the cost at more than $800. For example, customers can purchase the V20 on AT&T Next for $27.67 per month for 30 months ($830 total) or AT&T Next Every Year at $34.59 per month for 24 months ($830 total). Customers willing to sign a two-year agreement can score the LG G Pad 10.1 tablet for $0.99 when purchased with the V20. Last, DirecTV and U-Verse TV customers who port a line to AT&T will be eligible to receive up to $695 in monthly device credits towards the V20.


T-Mobile to Sell LG V20 Starting October 28

Oct 6, 2016, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said it plans to sell LG's V20 smartphone beginning October 28. T-Mobile didn't say how much the phone will cost, only that pricing details will be shared closer to launch. T-Mobile customers who buy the V20 will be able to score a pair of Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 headphones. The V20 is a follow-up to last year's V10. Its defining feature is a small second screen on the front for notifications and app shortcuts. The device is semi-rugged and includes a 5.7-inch quad HD screen, Snapdragon 820 processor, 16-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel secondary camera (wide-angle), and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The phone features Qualcomm's X12 LTE model for CAT12 at speeds up to 600Mbps. The T-Mobile model, in particular, is the first to support LTE in Band 66. The phone will be among the first to ship with Android 7 Nougat and a new search tool from Google called In Apps.


LG Tribute HD Hits Boost and Virgin Mobile

Oct 3, 2016, 10:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile today both made the LG Tribute HD smartphone available via their web sites. The phone is a small step up from the low-cost Tribute 5. The Tribute HD boasts a 5-inch 720p HD screen, which is improved over the Tribute 5's FWVGA display. The Tribute HD is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with an automatic selfie mode. The phone relies on a 2,100mAh battery and supports LTE 4G as well as roaming in Mexico. The Tribute HD runs Android 6 Marshmallow. Boost Mobile is selling the Tribute HD for $80, and Virgin Mobile is selling the Tribute HD for $99. Service plans start at $30.


Sprint to Sell MediaTek-Equipped Variant of LG X Power

Sep 16, 2016, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint and Boost Mobile today revealed plans to sell the LG X power smartphone. The X power, announced by LG earlier this year, features a 4,100mAh battery that delivers up to two days of battery life. The version sold by Sprint and Boost Mobile differs from other versions of the phone in that it relies on a 1.8 GHz octa-core Helio P10 MediaTek processor, rather than a Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm. The 64-bit MediaTek processor is accompanied by 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The X power also includes a 5.3-inch 720p screen and runs Android 6 Marshmallow. Other specs include an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and 5-megapixel front camera with selfie light. The phone accepts memory cards up to 128 GB. The phone reaches Boost Mobile stores today for $130 and will hit Sprint stores September 23 for $150.


LG V20: First Phone To Support Band 66

Sep 14, 2016, 1:36 PM   by Rich Brome

FCC documents indicate that the LG V20 variants for Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile will be the first phones to support LTE in the new band 66. Band 66 includes the AWS-1, AWS-3, and AWS-4 frequencies. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all purchased new AWS-3 spectrum in 2015, but have yet to deploy it. When they do, it will require phones that support band 66. AWS-1 — also known as band 4 — is already deployed by all three companies. AWS-4 is owned by Dish Networks, which has yet to announce firm plans for that spectrum.


Qualcomm Brings 'Clear Sight' Tech to Snapdragons

Sep 14, 2016, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm today announced new camera technology that it says will help generate better photos on devices with the Snapdragon 820 and 821 processors. Qualcomm's Clear Sight relies on two imaging sensors to imitate the cones and rods within the human eye. One sensor captures color images and the other captures black and white images. Qualcomm says its Spectra ISP is able to take the data from both sensors and merge it into a single image. The black and white sensor, in particular, has had the color filter removed entirely, allowing it to capture three times more light. Qualcomm says this dramatically improves low-light imaging, resulting in photos with more contrast, improved sharpness, and less grain. Clear Sight is a single hardware module that contains two cameras and Qualcomm's low-light imaging algorithms that enable the Spectra ISP to take and merge photos instantly. Qualcomm says the Clear Sight module is available to hardware manufacturers.


LG and Samsung Sued Over Hiring Practices

Sep 13, 2016, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A former LG employee is suing both LG and Samsung, alleging the companies have a no-recruit agreement between them in the U.S., which can impact employees' potential earnings. Accuser A. Frost, once an LG employee, claims a recruiter from Samsung reached out to him for a job, but later reneged saying, "I’m not supposed to poach LG for Samsung!" The recruiter went on to explain the companies have an agreement not to hire away one another's workers. Mr. Frost is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit. Silicon Valley companies have been taken to task in recent years for such agreements. For example, in 2015 Apple, Intel, Adobe, and Google agreed to pay some 64,000 workers $415 million to settle similar class-action lawsuits. Those companies never admitted wrongdoing. Neither LG nor Samsung commented on this latest legal action.


Android Pay Rings Up Chase In the US

Sep 7, 2016, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said Chase has agreed to support Android Pay on Android smartphones and other devices. Starting immediately, Chase customers can add their eligible Chase Visa debit/credit card to Android Pay and make tap-and-go payments wherever Android Pay is accepted. Chase is one of the largest U.S. banks. Google also added a number of new financial institutions in the U.K. Further, Google says it has been working with its merchant partners to improve the Android Pay experience at retail terminals, as well as the benefits available to consumers. For example, Walgreens recently integrated its Balance Rewards loyalty program into Android Pay, and Google plans to add Dunkin' Donuts and Chili's to Android Pay in the coming months. Android Pay is working with Uber's Payment Rewards program to provide discounted rides for U.S. consumers. Last, Google recently made Android Pay available as an option for online retailers in its Chrome browser. Android Pay is free to download from the Google Play Store.


LG Announces the V20 With Android 7, Second Screen, and Dual Cameras

Sep 6, 2016, 8:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 6, 2016, 8:29 PM

LG today announced the V20 at an event in San Francisco. The handset is a follow-up device to last year's V10. The defining feature of the V series is the Second Screen, a small, always-on display that sits atop the main display on front. The Second Screen can be used to serve notifications as well as access app shortcuts and other content. LG picked aluminum to form the frame and a silicon-based material for the back panel. LG says this silicone polycarbonate is found in helmets and reduces shock. It helped the device earn a mil-spec rating of 810G for protection against drops. The V20 features a 5.7-inch quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and memory card slot. The phone includes several cameras, including a 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization. The phone also packs a secondary 8-megapixel rear camera with 135-degree wide-angle field of view and an f/2.4 aperture. The selfie camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with f/1.9 aperture. Other camera features include 4K video capture, high-fidelity sound capture, Steady Record 2.0 electronic image stabilization to minimize video shaking, and hybrid autofocus, which is a combination of laser-assisted and phase-detection autofocus. LG claims the V20 is the first phone to ship with a 32-bit, Hi-Fi quad DAC to reduce distortion and ambient noise, as well as support lossless music formats. The phone features Qualcomm's X12 LTE model for CAT12 at speeds up to 600Mbps (network dependent) in addition to Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, GPS, and USB Type-C. The 3,200mAh battery is removable and supports Quick Charge 3.0. The V20 includes a fingerprint scanner for biometric security. The phone will be the first to ship with Android 7 Nougat and a new search tool from Google called In Apps. The In Apps tool will be accessible from the Second Screen so app search is always under your thumb. The V20 introduces LG's fifth-generation user interface, which LG says is an upgrade from the UI seen on the G5 earlier this year. The LG V20 will be available in Korea starting this month followed by other regions over time.


Hands On with the LG X mach

Sep 2, 2016, 10:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The LG X mach is all about raw performance. This phone has a 1.8GHz processor and blazing fast CAT9 LTE. Here are our first impressions.

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Hands On with the LG X max

Sep 2, 2016, 10:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The LG X max handset's claim to fame is its huge 5.5-inch screen. This rather vanilla-looking smartphone is meant for unending video streaming. Here are our initial impressions.

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Hands On with the LG X power

Sep 2, 2016, 9:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG announced the X series devices earlier this year, but IFA afforded us the first opportunity to take a look at LG's mid-range devices. The X power packs a huge 4,100mAh battery for extended use.

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Google Brings In-App Search to Android Phones

Aug 31, 2016, 5:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google this week announced a new tool for searching the content on devices. The search mode, called In Apps, allows people to find content that's buried inside apps installed on the phone. For example, users can seek out specific songs, friends, or notes directly from search rather than first opening the associated app. The functionality is accessible from a new "In Apps" tab that appears in the Google search app. At launch, it can parse through Gmail, Spotify, and YouTube. Google plans to add more third-party apps, such as Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Evernote, Glide, Todoist, and Google Keep, to In Apps over time. Last, Google said some phones will be able to take advantage of a special In Apps home screen shortcut. The LG V20, which LG plans to announce Sept. 5, will be the first phone with this dedicated shortcut.


AT&T Spearheading Robocall 'Strike Force'

Aug 19, 2016, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and dozens of other companies are escalating the war on robocalls with a new Strike Force aimed at disrupting spammers' ability to call and pester consumers. AT&T CEO Randal Stephenson says carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers, regulators, and lawmakers will all need to work together to create a play book to tackle the problem. "In parallel with technological solutions, we need our regulatory and law enforcement agencies to go after the bad actors. Shutting down the bad guys is a necessary step, and a powerful example to others. Our goal isn't complicated: Stop unwanted robocalls. Easy to say. Hard to do," said Stephenson in remarks made at the FCC's first meeting of the Robocall Strike Force. Industry player are gathering today to discuss initial plans and are expected to report back with more solid short- and long-term plans on October 19. Some of the companies participating in the Strike Force include AT&T, Apple, Blackberry, Comcast, Ericsson, Google, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.


Cricket Wireless to Sell LG X Power

Aug 17, 2016, 4:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today revealed plans to sell the LG X power smartphone beginning August 26 for $160. The X power, announced by LG earlier this year, features a 4,100mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 that delivers up to two days of battery life. The X power also includes a 5.3-inch 720p screen and runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Other specs include an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and 5-megapixel front camera with selfie light. The device is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone accepts memory cards up to 32 GB. For a limited time, people who port their number to Cricket Wireless can buy the LG X power for $130.


Intel Believes USB Type-C Will Replace 3.5mm Jack

Aug 17, 2016, 7:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A planned update to the USB Type-C specification will give it more control over audio functions, paving the way for it to fully supplant the 3.5mm headphone jack on most phones. Speaking at the Intel Developers Forum, engineers Brad Saunders and Rahman Ismail explained that the new USB audio standard lowers power usage through USB and defines how buttons on headphones can control music. The standard "will really make USB Type-C the right connector for audio," said Saunders. The 3.5mm headset jack is universally available on most consumer electronics, but is decades old. Dropping the jack will free up internal space, lowers the potential for interference, and negates the need for a digital-to-analog converter. Moreover, Saunders says the updated spec allows for software-based audio effects and signal processing that can, for example, cancel out nearby noise. Last, the updated USB-C spec improves support for video. Saunders says the new video capabilities will be good for working on a PC or watching a movie, but not necessarily for graphics-intensive gaming. USB-C is slowly gaining traction in smartphones. Samsung's Galaxy Note7 made the switch to USB-C, as did HTC 10, LG G5, and just-announced Huawei Honor 8. The connector is slim and reversible, and Type-C cables can push power in both directions.


Intel to Allow ARM Chip Builders to Use Its Foundry

Aug 16, 2016, 4:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Intel today said companies that design and build ARM-based processors will for the first time be able to use Intel's manufacturing facilities to make them. Intel will allow its Intel Custom Foundry customers to use its 10nm FinFET process for ARM cores and Cortex series processors. The move gives Intel a toehold in the mobile processor market after it gave up on its own mobile processors earlier this year. It also gives chipmakers an alternative to existing foundries, such as those operated by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor. The ARM Artisan platform includes High Performance and High Density Logic Libraries, Memory Compilers, and POP IP for future ARM mobile cores. Intel said LG plans to "produce a world-class mobile platform based on Intel Custom Foundry's 10 nm design platform." LG joins existing Intel Custom Foundry customers Spreadtrum, Achronix, and Altera.


Sprint's 3-Channel LTE Reaches 295Mbps

Aug 12, 2016, 2:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said it has achieved peak download speeds of 295Mbps using three-channel carrier aggregation on the HTC 10 smartphone. Carrier aggregation pairs together multiple segments of spectrum to improve speed and capacity. The company has already deployed two-channel carrier aggregation in 237 markets around the country. It markets this service as LTE Plus, offering 100Mbps downloads to nearly two dozen devices. The company plans to offer 200Mbps service once it deploys three-channel carrier aggregation, though it declined to specify when that might be. The HTC 10 is one of several handsets that supports three-channel carrier aggregation, which binds together three spectrum bands. Sprint will enable three-channel carrier aggregation on supported devices (HTC 10, HTC 9, Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, LG G5) through a software update one the technology has launched.


LG Teases High-End Audio In the V20

Aug 12, 2016, 7:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG says the V20 smartphone will feature a 32-bit, quad-DAC setup for improved audio capture and playback. The company claims the V20 will be the first smartphone to include four DACs. The four digital-to-analog converters help reduce ambient noise levels by 50%, resulting in crisper audio for videos. The quad-DAC configuration will also deliver cleaner sound through compatible, wired headphones. LG hasn't announced the V20 fully yet, but will in early September. The device, which will run Android 7 Nougat, will succeed last year's V10.


LG Says V20 Will Launch with Nougat In September

Aug 1, 2016, 7:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 1, 2016, 9:26 AM

LG today shared more details about the successor to last year's V10 smartphone. LG confirmed that the new device will be called the V20 and that it will be revealed in September. Moreover, LG said the V20 will be among the first devices to ship with Android 7 Nougat. Google hasn't released the final version of Nougat yet, but is expected to sometime this month. LG didn't say exactly when the V20 will be announced, but the IFA trade show takes in Berlin in early September. The V10 was unique thanks to its dual-selfie cameras and secondary display for notifications and other content. LG implied the V20 will carry over these and other features.


LG Says New V Series Phone Coming Soon

Jul 28, 2016, 7:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today reported its second quarter earnings and took the opportunity to tease a forthcoming handset. LG's mobile business increased revenues 12% from the first quarter to $2.86 billion, but "somewhat slow" sales of its G5 flagship and the associated marketing costs led the unit to a loss of $132 million. Total device shipments were up 3% to 13.9 million during the three months ending June 30. The company expects things to get back on track during the next few months. "The launch of the new V series and expanding sales of mass-tier K and X series models are expected to improve the business unit's performance next quarter." LG brought the V10 handset to the U.S. last year. It was a semi-rugged phone with powerful cameras. LG didn't name the new V series handset, but it is likely a successor to the V10. The timing of the launch is unclear. LG's K series devices are mostly entry-level offerings, while the X series fill in the mid-range tier.


AT&T Rolls Out Bogo for GoPhones

Jul 18, 2016, 11:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced that its GoPhone prepaid customers can buy one eligible phone and receive a second for free. The buy one, get one deal goes into effect July 22 and includes phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Express Prime or LG Phoenix 2. The handsets must each cost at least $59.99 in order to be eligible for the buy one, get one deal. Customers must activate both devices on either the $45 or $60 monthly GoPhone plan. The promotion runs through September 22. GoPhone does not require credit checks or contracts.


LG's K10 Hits AT&T Stores July 22

Jul 18, 2016, 11:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said it plans to launch the low-cost LG K10 on July 22. The K10, announced earlier this year, features rear-mounted volume controls and home screen button. It has a 5.3-inch HD screen with 2.5D arc glass, a 1.27 GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, and 5-megapixel selfie camera with flash. The K10 has 16 GB of storage and ships with a 2,300mAh battery. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The K10 will cost $6 per month for 30 months on an on AT&T Next plan. The full retail price is $179.99.


LG's Stylo 2 Plus Hits MetroPCS' Web Site for $149

Jul 11, 2016, 4:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 11, 2016, 4:51 PM

MetroPCS recently added the LG Stylo 2 Plus to its web site with a list price of $149. The Stylus 2 Plus was announced earlier this year, but the U.S. variant, the Stylo 2 Plus, doesn't include quite the same feature set. For example, the Stylo 2 Plus has a fingerprint sensor and NFC, but does not bump the resolution to 1080p, like the international version. The Stylo 2 Plus has a 5.7-inch display and 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor while the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. The phone has a 2,900mAh battery and supports memory cards up to 32 GB. The Stylo 2 Plus runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It can be purchased directly from MetroPCS' web site.


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