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printed December 18, 2014
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Microsoft Twists Torque from Android Wear to Android Phones

Dec 5, 2014, 3:36 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently updated its Torque application for Android Wear and carried it over from smartwatches to smartphones. With Torque, Android Wear and Android smartphone owners can shake or twist their device to launch Bing Voice Search. Bing Voice Search requires internet access, but can be controlled through a wide variety of voice commands to check the weather, perform simple math, or search for information. Torque works with most Android smartphones, and works best with the Asus Zen Watch, LG G Watch, and Samsung Gear Live Android wearables. Torque is free.


Verizon Updates LG G3 with VoLTE

Dec 5, 2014, 1:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless announced an over-the-air software update should hit the LG G3 beginning today that adds VoLTE capabilities. VoLTE passes voice calls over Verizon's LTE data network rather than its voice network. A handful of phones already support VoLTE. VoLTE offers HD Voice when both the sender and receiver have LTE coverage and VoLTE-capable handsets. Verizon recently said it plans to expand its selection of VoLTE handsets. Mike Haberman, vice president of network performance for Verizon, said the initial uptake of VoLTE by customers has been excellent.


LG's Mobile Business Gets New Chief Amid Restructuring

Nov 27, 2014, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced several changes to its business, including the appointment of several new executives. Jong-seok Park, who served as president and CEO of LG Mobile Communications, is being replaced by Juno Cho. Cho was most recently the president of LG Corp, LG Electronics' holding company. Park is being moved to the newly created position of Chief Technology Advisor. LG also said it will merge of its Home Appliance and Air Conditioning & Energy Solution business units to create a consolidated LG Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. LG shuffled about a dozen other executives throughout its top ranks. All the changes are effective December 1.


Verizon to Sell LG GizmoPal Connected Wearable

Nov 25, 2014, 1:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the LG GizmoPal, a wearable for children meant to provide parents with peace of mind. The wearable can make and receive phone calls, though only to/from a limited set of numbers. Parents can easily mange the GizmoPal through an app (Android and iOS), and use it to track their child's location throughout the day. The GizmoPal costs $80 and can be added to a More Everything plan for $5 per month. It will be available in select stores Nov. 26 and all Verizon sales channels by Dec. 11. It comes in either blue or pink.


Verizon Debuts LG Transpyre

Nov 23, 2014, 2:06 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Nov 23, 2014, 2:07 PM

Verizon today added the LG Transpyre to its prepaid lineup. This basic Android phone is essentially the same phone as the LG Tribute offered by Virgin Mobile, except with more memory and a better front camera. The phone has a 4.5-inch display, 5-megapixel main camera, and 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor. Other features include 4G LTE, a memory card slot, and a removable battery. Verizon is currently offering the Transpyre for $100 with a no-contract prepaid plan.


MetroPCS Adds LG F60 to Prepaid Lineup

Nov 13, 2014, 12:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS recently began selling the LG F60 handset through its web site. The F60 was announced last month. It features a 4.5-inch WVGA display and 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM. The device has a 5-megapixel main camera with Gesture Shot and Touch & Shot, and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The device includes Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and LTE, and relies on a 2,100mAh battery for power. The F60 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and includes LG's Knock Code. MetroPCS is selling it for $100 after a mail-in rebate. The full retail price is $160.


LG to Start Pushing Lollipop to the G3

Nov 9, 2014, 7:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said it will soon begin distributing Android 5.0 Lollipop to its G3 smartphone. LG will deliver Lollipop to G3 owners in Poland first, followed by "other key markets in the near future." The company claims it is the first handset maker to offer Android 5.0 to its existing device base. LG also said it will soon publish a schedule detailing the Lollipop upgrade for other LG phones. The G3 is available from the major U.S. carriers, but neither they nor LG made any specific announcements regarding Lollipop's arrival on the G3 in the U.S. LG happened to manufacture both the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5 smartphones, which should be among the first to receive Lollipop. The Nexus phones will be updated directly by Google.


LG and Google Sign Patent Cross-Licensing Agreement

Nov 4, 2014, 7:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG and Google today announced the two companies have signed a multi-year patent cross-licensing agreement. The patents cover a wide range of existing technologies and also extends to patents filed over the next 10 years. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. "LG values its relationship with Google, and this agreement underscores both companies' commitment to developing new products and technologies that enhance consumers' lives," said LG in a statement. LG uses Google's Android platform for its smartphones, tablets, and wearables. It also manufactured both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 smartphones for Google.


LG Slices Display Bezel to 0.7mm

Oct 30, 2014, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display today announced a new LCD panel that practically eliminates the bezel. The panel measures 5.3 inches across the diagonal with full HD resolution. The bezels along the side edges of the screen measure just 0.7mm thick. LG said it accomplished this with what it calls "Neo Edge" module processing and an in-cell touch panel. It uses an adhesive instead of double-sided tape to attach and seal the edges of the screen's circuit board, backlight, and touch panel. These help eliminate a plastic guide panel, which would otherwise be required to hold everything together. The Neo Edge technology is dust and waterproof, blocks light leakage, helps prevent corrosion, and improves durability thanks to the flexibility of the the adhesive. LG said it will begin to produce the new panel in volume next month.


LG Shows Off Its First Mobile Processor, Dubbed 'Nuclun'

Oct 24, 2014, 6:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the Nuclun, its first application processor for smartphones and tablets. The Nuclun is an eight-core chip with two banks of four cores each. It uses ARM's big.LITTLE configuration with four 1.5GHz Cortex A15s for heavy lifting and four 1.2GHz Cortex A7s for power sipping. The Nuclun supports LTE Cat. 6, which boasts theoretical download speeds of up to 225Mbps. In order to properly showcase the Nuclun's capabilities, LG also revealed the G3 Screen, the first smartphone to rely on the Nuclun as its engine. The G3 Screen borrows its design language from the G3, but increases the size of the screen to 5.9 inches while downgrading the resolution to 1080p HD. The G3 Screen has 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and supports microSD cards. The main camera captures 13.1 megapixels and includes optical image stabilization, while the user-facing camera captures 2.1 megapixels. The GS3 Screen has a 3,000mAh battery and runs Android 4.4 KitKat. LG didn't say when or where the G3 Screen will be sold.


HP to Shutter WebOS Support January 15

Oct 16, 2014, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HP recently indicated that it will cease all backend support for WebOS devices on January 15. After that time, WebOS device owners will no longer be able to download or update apps, reset or restore their devices, setup new devices, or retrieve lost passwords. According to HP, the web services shut down will not disable existing hardware. HP recommends that WebOS device owners download any apps they may want to keep prior to November 1, 2014. "Shutting down webOS cloud services is part of an orderly end of life program," explained HP. "HP announced the end of WebOS devices over 3 years ago, but the services were kept running to allow customers to continue to have a richer user experience. The user count has dwindled to the point where it is no longer viable to keep the services running." HP acquired WebOS when it bought Palm in 2010. HP killed its Palm hardware business in 2011 and has since open-sourced WebOS. LG eventually purchased WebOS from HP, which it uses in select consumer electronics.


LG Tribute Lands on Virgin Mobile

Oct 6, 2014, 9:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 6, 2014, 9:56 AM

Virgin Mobile USA recently made the LG Tribute available on its web site. The Tribute is a low-cost Android smartphone that features a 4.5-inch screen, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 5-megapixel camera, LTE and LG's Knock Code. The device runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Virgin is selling the Tribute for $80 without a contract. The device is also being sold at Best Buy, RadioShack, and from Amazon.com, QVC.com, HSN.com.


LG Debuts the F60, A Budget LTE Smartphone

Oct 1, 2014, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 1, 2014, 7:56 AM

LG today announced the F60, what it calls an affordable handset with LTE 4G on board. The F60 features a 4.5-inch WVGA display and 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM and either 4 or 8GB of internal storage. The device has a 5-megapixel main camera with Gesture Shot and Touch & Shot, and a 1.3-megapixel selfie camera with a user-facing light for improved selfies. The device includes Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS, and relies on a 2,100mAh for power. The F60 features a number of LG's signature capabilities, such as Knock Code. The F60 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and will go on sale in the weeks ahead. U.S carriers have not announced support for the phone yet, but LG said it will be sold in the Americas.


U.S. Cellular Scores LG's G3, to Go On Sale in October

Sep 30, 2014, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular today said it will soon offer the LG G3. The flagship device, which boasts a 5.5-inch quad HD display and 13-megapixel camera, will go on sale in October, though U.S. Cellular didn't say exactly when. U.S. Cellular said the phone will be available for $0 down followed by 24 monthly payments for well-qualified customers. The company didn't disclose the full retail price of the G3. The G3 has been available from other carriers for several months.


Pantech Puts Itself Up for Sale

Sep 26, 2014, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Pantech, based in Korea, has staked a For Sale sign in its front lawn. The company, which declared the equivalent of bankruptcy last month, is seeking a buyer to scoop up the entire business. Pantech has been facing trouble all year long. It twice sought delays in debt payments and entered into court receivership in August. The company believes it will fetch a higher price if sold as a single entity (approx. $366 million) rather than broken up and sold in pieces (approx. $181 million). Bids for the company are due in early October. Pantech found itself unable to compete with Samsung and LG, which are also based in Korea. It faced financial losses six quarters in a row, which led to its debt problems and eventual bankruptcy.


LG G3 Vigor Reaches AT&T Stores Sept. 26

Sep 22, 2014, 1:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today confirmed it will begin to sell the LG G3 Vigor on September 26. AT&T is asking for $335 for the G3 Vigor with no contract, $13.96 a month with Next 18, $16.75 a month with Next 12, or $50 with a new two-year contract. The Vigor has a 5-inch 720p HD screen, 8-megapixel camera, and LG's customized apps and software.


Verizon's VoLTE Service Live for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Sep 20, 2014, 10:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon has made its Advanced Calling 1.0 feature available to the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The free service will pass voice calls over Verizon's LTE 4G network rather than the cellular network. It offers high-quality voice calls and video calls. In order to enable the service, owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus need to use the settings tool to allow "voice & data" over LTE directly on their phone. Once enabled, the feature will appear as active in their Verizon account online. VoLTE calls only work between two Verizon VoLTE-enabled devices. The only other Verizon devices that support VoLTE right now are the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G2.

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Verizon Starts VoLTE Roll-Out; Wi-Fi Calling on Deck for 2015

Sep 17, 2014, 1:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless has slowly begun to enable VoLTE on select devices on its network. To start, VoLTE is available to the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G3. In order to use the service, subscribers need to download an app called Advanced Calling 1.0. More devices will supported over time. In order for VoLTE to work, both parties need to have VoLTE-capable phones and access to Verizon's LTE 4G network. The service, which is free to use, offers high-quality calls that are passed over the data network rather than the traditional voice network. Separately, Verizon Wireless said that, like AT&T, it is going to wait until 2015 to launch Wi-Fi Calling. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said it will eventually roll out the service, which is supported by the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but it is not a priority. "We built our voice platform so extensively [that] there was never a need for us to tell our customers, 'Oh, our network is not good enough so you need to go on Wi-Fi to complete your call,'" said Shammo. Both Sprint and T-Mobile offer Wi-Fi Calling to a growing number of handsets. T-Mobile just today launched its Personal CellSpot in order to help its customers experience better voice connectivity when in their homes.


AT&T Also to Sell LG G3 Vigor

Sep 15, 2014, 5:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T chimed in today to say it, too, will offer the LG G3 Vigor to subscribers. AT&T didn't specify how much the device will cost, nor when it will go on sale. Sprint also plans to sell the Vigor.


Sprint to Sell LG G3 Vigor

Sep 15, 2014, 2:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 16, 2014, 3:56 PM

Sprint today announced the LG G3 Vigor, an affordable smartphone that places the volume and screen lock keys on the back, like LG's flagship devices. The phone has a 5-inch 720p HD display and quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor under the hood to keep costs low. Stand out features include LG's suite of specialized apps, such as Knock Code and Knock On, LG Gate for enterprise security, as well as QSlide Apps, QuickMemo, and LG's Smart Keyboard. The phone runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and is compatible with Sprint Spark. Sprint services on board include HD Voice and Wi-Fi Calling. The full retail price of the LG G3 Vigor is $312. Sprint also offering the G3 Vigor for $13 a month with Sprint Easy Pay.


T-Mobile Expands Wi-Fi Calling, Partners with GoGo

Sep 10, 2014, 3:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 17, 2014, 7:04 AM

T-Mobile today said it will make Wi-Fi calling available to all its postpaid customers for free. The move, announced at an event in San Francisco, is meant to help provide improved voice coverage in spaces where T-Mobile's network doesn't reach. Wi-Fi calls can be made from any open network. Even so, T-Mobile also debuted the T-Mobile Personal Cell Spot. This Wi-Fi hotspot, made by Asus, requires a $25 deposit and works with existing in-home internet service. It will permit T-Mobile customers to experience high-quality Wi-Fi calls when at home. It prioritizes voice functionality over data functionality. New phones sold by T-Mobile (including the iPhone 6) will have this new functionality built in from the get-go, while older devices will receive an update to gain the new Wi-Fi calling features. The Personal Cell Spot will remain private; only those with the Wi-Fi password will be able to use it for calls and messaging. The Wi-Fi calling feature is free to use for all customers. T-Mobile offered a similar service back in 2007, called Hotspot@Home, but discontinued it in 2010. T-Mobile also announced a partnership with GoGo that will let its customers send and receive SMS/MMS messages from GoGo-equipped airplanes, as well as receive visual voicemail. The in-flight messaging service goes live September 17 and is free to all T-Mobile customers. The service will work with select phones at launch, including Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple iPhone 5s, HTC One, and LG G3 among others. More will be added over time.

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Google Plans to Add Bluetooth, GPS to Android Wear

Sep 2, 2014, 11:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google is working on several updates to Android Wear that will introduce more features to the platform for wearables. Director of Engineering for Android Wear, David Singleton, told CNET that the first update to arrive will add certain Bluetooth functions to Android Wear. "We'll have an update coming that allows you to pair a Bluetooth headset with your watch. And that means you can play music stored on your watch directly on your Bluetooth headset," said Singleton. Google also plans to add support for GPS, meaning properly equipped devices will be able to track location data directly without an accompanying smartphone. These updates are expected to arrive later this year. The company is also working to make Android Wear compatible with a wide range of sensors. Google envisions Android Wear devices interacting with a broad scope of other devices in order to develop richer and more useful data for owners. According to Google, thousands of Android applications have already been updated with support for Android Wear, and Google created a separate section of the Play Store for compatible apps. Several Android Wear devices are currently available and LG, Asus, and others are expected to debut more Android Wear devices this week.


LG Debuts Round Android Wear Watch

Aug 27, 2014, 9:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G Watch R, a round smartwatch based on Google's Android Wear platform. LG already offers a square-shaped device called the G Watch. In designing the G Watch R, LG said it carefully weighed how consumers view watches as accessories and often require them to be stylish as well as functional. The G Watch R is made of stainless steel and features a 22mm calf-skin strap. According to LG, the G Watch R is the first wearable to feature a plastic OLED display, which measures 1.3 inches across the diagonal with 320 x 320 pixels. It is highly visible, even in direct sunlight. The G Watch R is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage. It boasts an IP67 rating against water/dust intrusion, and can withstand up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. The device features a heart rate monitor, 9-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, and barometer. It has a 410mAh battery, but LG didn't offer information on expected battery life. The G Watch R can run all apps compatible with Android Wear, and includes a number of LG-designed fitness apps. The LG G Watch R will go on sale in select markets early in the fourth quarter. Pricing and exact availability will be announced on a market-by-market basis.

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LG Shows Off the G3 Stylus

Aug 26, 2014, 7:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G3 Stylus, a variant of the G3 that adds a stylus, but seriously ramps down the specifications. The device carries over the design language of the G3, but the 5.5-inch display goes from Quad HD (2560 x 1440) to qHD (960 x 540). The G3 Stylus also loses the G3's quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and instead includes a quad-core 1.3GHz processor. It offers a 13-megapixel main camera and 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The G3 Stylus has 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, and a memory card slot, and it boasts a removable 3,000mAh battery. The G3 Stylus runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat along with a number of LG's signature apps, such as QuickMemo, QSlide Apps, Knock Code, and the Smart Keyboard. LG didn't call out any specific features or applications customized for the stylus. The device is limited to 3G networks for now and goes on sale in Brazil, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa this fall. LG didn't indicate if a version of the G3 Stylus will reach the U.S.


LG to Adopt G3's User Interface for Most Phones

Aug 19, 2014, 6:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced plans to follow the trickle-down approach with its user interface. The company said it will push the UI found on this year's G3 handset, including the simplified camera software and adjustable keyboard, to its mid-range and entry-level handsets. LG said most devices released during the second half of the year, including smartphones and tablets, will adopt the newer user interface.


HTC to Offer Zoe, Other Apps to All Android Phones

Aug 13, 2014, 7:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC is prepared to make a version of its Zoe application available in the Google Play Store. The app is intended for all Android devices, which will be able to shoot their own Zoes and share the creative video-making process with others. HTC's Zoe is a camera feature specific to a select few of its smartphones, such as the HTC One (both M7 and M8). The new app will allow Samsung, LG, and other Android devices to shoot video clips and pair them with themes and pictures to create 30-second masterpieces. The critical element of the new app is the ability to share Zoes online and contribute to them. For example, HTC envisions multiple people using Zoe to capture an event, such as a wedding, and then adding their own clips to a longer community video that provides for a more compete representation of the event. Zoe will reach the Play Store later this week. HTC is not stopping at Zoe, according to Re/Code. HTC plans to make other apps available to all Android devices. The company has already broken out some of its proprietary apps, such as the gallery and calendar, so they may be updated more frequently outside of full OS upgrades. HTC has assembled a team of 260 people, collectively called HTC Creative Labs, to work on its apps both for HTC and non-HTC phones. HTC didn't say which apps might arrive next.


Boost Adds LG Realm to Prepaid Lineup

Aug 12, 2014, 4:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 12, 2014, 5:20 PM

Boost Mobile today announced the LG Realm, an inexpensive Android handset, which is available contract-free beginning today for $80. The LG Realm, also sold as the Optimus Exceed 2, runs Android 4.4 KitKat and includes several LG features, such as Knock Code, QSlide apps, and QuickMemo. The Realm features a 4.5-inch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3; a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage; a 5-megapixel main camera with VGA front-facing camera; and a 2100mAh battery. The LG Realm is HD Voice-capable. The Realm is available from Boost's web site and select retailers.


Pantech Files for Bankruptcy

Aug 12, 2014, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Pantech filed for court receivership today, which is the South Korean equivalent of declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company has seen its share of the global market drop precipitously. More importantly, it is no longer able to compete against the likes of LG and Samsung in its home market, according to The Wall Street Journal, where a month long sales ban further crippled the company. Pantech has spent the last few years juggling with its finances. Last year, it accepted investments from Samsung and Qualcomm, which own 10% and 12% of the company, respectively. Even with these investments, Pantech owes creditors about $961 million - or double the amount of assets its has. Pantech only brought three models to the U.S. in 2013, and hasn't brought any in 2014. If Pantech's court receivership is accepted by the bank, it will have about a year to come up with a restructuring plan.


Virgin Mobile's Custom Plans Now Available at Walmart

Aug 11, 2014, 10:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile USA's Custom plans launched at Walmart stores today. The plans, which were announced last month, allow customers to add only the service they want and alter their service day-by-day if they need to in order to manage their expenses. Virgin Mobile Custom allows families to activate up to five lines on a single account starting at $6.98 per line. The Base plan includes 20 texts and 20 voice minutes per month. Customers can choose to add unlimited texting for $10 or unlimited voice for $18. The Unlimited talk and text plan costs $35 per month. Customers can also choose select add-ons, such as unlimited access to Facebook or music streaming, which can be added monthly at as needed. Virgin Mobile Custom plans are available to three devices, including the ZTE Emblem, the LG Pulse, and the LG Unify, at select Walmart stores.


AT&T Scores LG G Vista

Aug 8, 2014, 9:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 8, 2014, 9:14 AM

AT&T today announced it will soon sell the LG G Vista, an inexpensive Android smartphone that offers a big-screen experience. The G Vista, which is already available from Verizon Wireless, has a 5.7-inch display with qHD (960 x 540) resolution. The volume and lock screen buttons are placed on the back of the device, similar to the G3. The G Vista is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It includes an 8-megapixel main camera with 1080p HD video capture and a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. Other specs include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, NFC and Isis for mobile payments, and a 3,200mAh battery. The LG G Vista runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The G Vista will cost $14.80 per month with AT&T Next 18, $17.75 per month with AT&T Next 12, $50 with a new two-year contract, or $355 at full retail. It will be available beginning August 22.


Verizon Scores the LG G Vista, a Budget Phablet

Jul 31, 2014, 7:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today began selling the LG G Vista, an inexpensive Android smartphone that offers a big-screen experience. The G Vista has a 5.7-inch display with qHD (960 x 540) resolution. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The design of the phone strongly resembles that of the LG G3. For example, the volume and lock screen buttons are placed on the back of the device. The G Vista is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. It includes an 8-megapixel main camera with 1080p HD video capture and a 1.3-megapixel selfie camera. Other specs include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, NFC and Isis for mobile payments, and a 3,200mAh battery. The G Vista carries over many of LG's proprietary apps and functions, such as KnockON and KnockCode, QSlide apps, QuickMemo, and Dual Window for multitasking. The LG G Vista runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat and costs $100 with a new contract or $20 per month with Verizon Edge. It is available beginning today.


Virgin Mobile Debuts Custom Plans

Jul 30, 2014, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 30, 2014, 8:11 AM

Virgin Mobile USA today announced a new plan that gives customers more flexibility in managing their account. Virgin Mobile Custom is based on the ItsOn platform, which was used by Zact Mobile, a Sprint-based MVNO. ItsOn is what gives customers the power to change the features of their plans any time they want or need to. Virgin Mobile Custom allows families to activate up to five lines on a single account starting at $6.98 per line. The Base plan includes 20 texts and 20 voice minutes per month. Customers can choose to add unlimited texting for $10 or unlimited voice for $18. The Unlimited talk and text plan costs $35 per month. Customers can also choose select add-ons, such as unlimited access to Facebook or music streaming, which can be added on a recurring or non-recurring basis. These plans can be adjusted at any time during the month, even daily, directly from the customer's device. Customers can add or subtract the amount of voice, text or data they use with real-time price adjustments so customers know exactly what they'll be spending. Virgin Mobile Custom will be available on three devices at launch, including the ZTE Emblem, the LG Pulse, and the LG Unify

  • ZTE Emblem: The ZTE Emblem is similar to the Savvy, which is being sold by TracFone. It has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz processor, and it runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. It costs $80
  • LG Pulse: The LG Pulse is a U.S. variant of the L70, which was announced earlier this year. It has a 4.5-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz processor, LG's QSlide and QuickMemo apps, and it runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It costs $100.
  • LG Unify: The LG Unify is a variant of the Optimus F3, which is already being sold by Virgin Mobile. It has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and LG's VuTalk and Q-Translator apps. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and costs $130.
The account holder can download the free Custom Control App from the Apple App store or Google Play Store to manage the devices and features of their various lines. Virgin Mobile Custom plans will be available beginning September 1.


Verizon Testing Unwanted App Removal on LG G3

Jul 25, 2014, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless is trialling a new policy on the LG G3 that allows owners to remove bloatware. Like many smartphones, the G3 ships with preloaded applications selected by Verizon. Device owners have no say in which apps are preloaded and may find them useless or uninteresting. Typically, preloaded apps cannot be removed from smartphones. That changes with the LG G3. According to Verizon, preloaded "applications can be completely and entirely uninstalled by the customer via the standard uninstall process." Customers need to use the built-in Android app manager to delete any unwanted apps. Deleting apps frees phones of clutter and clears valuable storage space. Verizon didn't say if it will expand the trial to other devices.

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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.


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