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LG Shuffles Execs, Makes Huge OLED Investment

Friday, 10:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Electronics is restructuring its business to make it lighter on its feet and better able to respond to changes in the market. Moving forward, each of LG's core businesses will have their own, independent leaders. Juno Cho has been appointed President and CEO of LG's Mobile Communications business, while Jo Seong-jin has been selected to serve as President and CEO of Home Appliances & Air Solutions, and David Jung will serve as President and CFO. LG Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Koo Bon-joon will transition to LG Corp, LG Electronics' parent organization. The appointments are effective Dec 1. LG Display, an affiliate of LG Electronics, said it will invest $8.71 billion in a new plant to manufacture OLED panels for smartwatches, TVs, and other devices. The majority of LG's smartphones use LCD panels, which the company makes for itself and competitors. LG Display's large commitment to developing OLED technology represents a shift in strategy. The plant is expected to become operational during the first half of 2018.

Cricket Tempts Switchers with $100 Reward

Nov 20, 2015, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today kicked off a promotions to entice consumers to port their number to Cricket. People who switch to Cricket between today and Dec. 6 will earn a $100 Cricket Shopping Card. The card can be used for monthly service, handsets, and accessories at Cricket stores. Cricket said it will let new customers combine this deal with existing mail-in rebate promos on select phones to save even more money. For example, Cricket is offering the LG Risio, Motorola Moto E, Nokia Lumia 635, and the ZTE Overture 2 for free after rebates. The rebates are available to all customers through Jan. 7. The $100 gift card is only available to new customers.

LG Nixes Watch Urbane 2nd Edition At Last Minute

Nov 19, 2015, 6:15 PM   by Rich Brome

AT&T today started issuing refunds to customers that pre-ordered LG's latest smartwatch, the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition. LG later elaborated that it has postponed launch plans for the device indefinitely. The Watch Urbane 2nd Edition was to be the first watch to support the new built-in cellular connectivity features in the newest version of Android Wear. The watch included 4G LTE and was to be available first with AT&T and Verizon, as well as in Korea. A statement from LG reads "the decision was made to cancel the rollout of the Urbane 2nd Edition LTE due to the complicated nature of the issue. Whether the device will be available in the future will be decided at a later time. For now, our top priority is to ensure that only products that meet our very specific quality standards are available for purchase."

LG to Jump Into Mobile Payments Fray

Nov 19, 2015, 8:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has indicated it plans to offer a mobile payment service called LG Pay. The company has signed agreements with the largest credit card issuers in South Korea, Shinhan Card and KB Bookman Card. LG said LG Pay will work with all its phones, but it did not describe what technology it will use to power the system. Apple Pay and Android Pay use NFC, while Samsung Pay relies on NFC and MST for interacting with retail terminals. LG will launch LG Pay in Korea first, but the timeframe is unclear.

Google Adds Cellular Support to Android Wear Platform

Nov 11, 2015, 9:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Android Wear platform now broadly supports cellular connections for making calls, sending messages, and syncing data, says Google. The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, which was announced last month, is the first Android Wear device to support cellular networks. LG, Samsung, and others have sold cellular watches in the past, but none ran Android Wear. Google said cellular-equipped Android watches will automatically switch from Bluetooth or WiFi to cellular when needed for connectivity. Google fully expects people will be able to use their Android smartwatches to answer calls, read emails, dictate text messages, and manage their fitness all while on the go. AT&T and Verizon Wireless are offering cellular service to the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE. The watch is available for pre-order starting today.

Samsung Gear S2, LG Watch Urbane First to Support AT&T's NumberSync

Nov 2, 2015, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said the Samsung Gear S2 and LG Watch Urbane will be available online Nov. 6. These two LTE-connected wearables will be the first to support NumberSync, the service from AT&T that lets customers send and receive texts, as well as make and receive calls on the wearable from their primary phone number. The Gear S2 (pictured) will reach AT&T stores Nov. 20 for $0 down and $15 per month with an installment plan, or for $199.99 with a two-year contract. Cellular service for the Gear S2 costs $10 per month when added to a Mobile Share Value plan. Pricing for the LG Watch Urbane is identical, but it reaches stores Nov. 13.

LG Says V10 Now On Sale

Oct 30, 2015, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 30, 2015, 9:51 AM

LG today marked the official arrival of the V10 smartphone, which has dual-front cameras and a secondary display. The device is on sale in the U.S., as well as China and Hong Kong. Today's launch will be followed in other markets across North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East throughout the fourth quarter. T-Mobile is the lone U.S. carrier selling the V10 in stores today, though AT&T and Verizon are accepting orders online. AT&T plans to stock the device in stores Nov 6.

LG G Vista 2 Streets November 6 on AT&T

Oct 26, 2015, 8:58 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said the LG G Vista 2 will go on sale beginning Nov. 6. This second-generation phablet improves the screen to 5.7 inches with full HD resolution and makes revisions to the stylus for improved input. The phone is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 617 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage. It features a 13-megapixel rear camera with laser-assisted focus and professional mode. The 5-megapixel front camera includes Gesture Shot and Selfie Light. LG says the 3,000mAh battery is removable, and the phone supports memory cards up to 32GB. The LG G Vista 2 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and includes LG's signature apps, such as QuickMemo, QSlide, as well as KnockOn. AT&T is asking for $14.97 per month with a Next 24 plan, or $18.71 with Next 18, $22.45 with Next 12, or $49.99 with a two-year contract.

AT&T, T-Mobile Reveal LG V10 Launch Plans

Oct 26, 2015, 8:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 26, 2015, 8:48 AM

AT&T and T-Mobile today provided details about their respective plans to sell the LG V10 smartphone. AT&T will begin accepting orders online Oct. 27, and the V10 will reach stores Nov. 6. AT&T is offering a 200GB memory card with the V10 purchase. AT&T is asking for $23.34 per month with a Next 24 plan, or $29.17 with Next 18, $35 with Next 12, or $249.99 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile will commence online sales of the LG V10 on Oct. 28 and in-store sales on Oct. 30. T-Mobile is asking for a monthly payment of $25 when enrolled in Jump On Demand. Alternately, customers can pay $599.99 up front, which T-Mobile says is $100 off the list price of $699.99. The V10 is notable thanks to its extra front display, used for revealing alerts and select controls. The V10 has a 5.7-inch had HD screen, 16-megapixel main camera, dual 5-megapixel front-facing cameras. The phone has a hardened exterior for shock resistance and is powered by a Snapdragon 808 processor. It ships with Android 5.1 Lollipop.

AT&T Shows Off LG G Vista 2 with Improved Stylus

Oct 20, 2015, 10:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T recently revealed the LG G Vista 2 in a video posted to its YouTube channel. The second-generation phablet includes a 5.7-inch display and revised stylus for creative input. The screen resolution has been improved to full HD and the processor bumped to an octa-core engine with 2 GB of RAM. The G Vista 2 has a 13-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel selfie camera with flash. The main camera app boasts a professional mode for fine-tuning the settings. The LG G Vista 2 runs Android and includes LG's signature apps, such as QuickMemo, QSlide, as well as KnockOn. AT&T didn't say when the phone will go on sale, nor how much it will cost.

LG's Nexus 5X More Widely Available Today

Oct 19, 2015, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 19, 2015, 7:36 AM

LG today said the Nexus 5X smartphone is now available for sale in the U.S, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Korea, and Japan. Google has been accepting pre-orders of the 5X for several weeks, but today marks its launch with U.S. and other carriers. LG said it will be up to individual carriers to announce exact pricing and availability of the handset. (Google charges $379 and is expected to release the Nexus 5X on Oct. 30.) The 5X has a 12-megapixel camera, Snapdragon 808 processor, and 5.2-inch full-HD display. It also supports Android Pay with NFC and includes a fingerprint reader. It is among the first to ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

LG Lancet Drops Windows Phone for Android

Oct 16, 2015, 1:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today revealed a new variant of the LG Lancet that runs Android rather than Windows Phone. The Lancet first reached Big Red earlier this year with Windows Phone 8.1 in tow. The LG Lancet for Android, as it is officially called, may be the first handset initially released for Windows Phone later re-released with Android. The device runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and comes with LG's signature features, such as KnockOn and QuickMemo. The Lancet for Android features a 4.5-inch screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 8 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 128 GB. The Lancet is a budget-friendly phone. The full retail price is $120, though Verizon is offering the phone for $5 per month with a financing plan.

LG G4 Earns Early Marshmallow Update

Oct 15, 2015, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today said the G4, its flagship handset, will begin to receive the Android 6.0 Marshmallow system update as soon as next week. LG will first push the operating system upgrade to devices in Poland, followed by other markets in Europe, Asia, and eventually the Americas. Android 6.0 adjusts permissions, boosts power efficiency thanks to Doze mode, and makes it easier to control notifications. The LG G4 is sold by most major carriers in the U.S.

HTC: Monthly Security Updates Not Likely

Oct 5, 2015, 9:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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

Wireless Companies Agree to Support More Remote Wipe Tools

Oct 2, 2015, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

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

Hands On with the LG V10

Oct 1, 2015, 12:54 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 6, 2015, 8:22 AM

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

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

Oct 1, 2015, 10:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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

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Cricket Jumps Into 1,600 Target Stores

Oct 1, 2015, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 1, 2015, 12:51 PM

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

LG Adds Cellular Radio to Urbane Smartwatch

Oct 1, 2015, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

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

LG V10 Boasts Second Screen, Dual Front Cameras

Oct 1, 2015, 6:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 1, 2015, 7:08 AM

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

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Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Arrive 'Next Week'

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

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

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

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

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

Virgin Mobile Gives Customers More LTE Data

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

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

Cricket Kicks Off Fall Promotions, Adds HTC Desire 520

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

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

Google Brings Android Wear to the iPhone

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

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

Cricket Launches the LG G Stylo and HTC Desire 626s

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

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

LG Display to Invest More In OLED Technology

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

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

LG Announces Music Service for Its High-End Phones

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

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

Qualcomm Refreshes Adreno GPUs and ISP Tech

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

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

TextNow Scores More Smartphones and Payment Locations

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

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

Motorola to Issue Stagefright Fix to Most Phones

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

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

LG Pairs Android with Flip Phone to Make the Wine Smart

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

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

LG and Verizon Offering $100 Gift to G4 Buyers

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

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

Moto X Play Boasts Better Battery Life

Jul 28, 2015, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 28, 2015, 8:34 AM

Motorola today showed off a variant of the Moto X called the Moto X Play, which indulges a 3,630mAh battery with Quick Charge technology. Motorola says the handset can last two days on a charge, and can gather 8 hours of battery life with just 15 minutes of charging. The Moto X Plat has a 5.5-inch full HD screen, 21-megapixel camera, Qualcomm 610 processor, and 5-megapixel user-facing camera. It will be available in August. Pricing was not yet disclosed, but Motorola said it is not announcing U.S. availability at this time.

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LG Terra, Flip World Phone, Lands On Verizon Wireless

Jul 26, 2015, 6:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless recently added the LG Terra to its lineup of basic feature phones. The Terra is a flip phone that runs a simple operating system with features such as text-to-speech for listening to text messages and photo ID for identifying incoming calls. The handset operates on Verizon's CDMA 1x network in the U.S., but includes quad-band GSM/EDGE radios, too, so it can be used when roaming abroad in more than 200 countries. Other features include a 2.4-inch main display, 1.77-inch secondary display, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. The LG Terra cots $96 at full price, or $4 per month with a Verizon Edge payment plan.

LG Display to Amp Up Flexible Display Production

Jul 23, 2015, 7:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG Display said it intends to invest about $907 million in a new plant that will focus on making flexible displays. The company said it believes smartphone makers will begin to increase demand for such screens in the years ahead. LG Display expects to begin production of its sixth-generation substrate sheets by the first half of 2017. The company says this new process can deliver more than 200 5.5-inch plastic OLED displays from a single substrate, which is four times more than its fourth-generation substrate. LG was one of the first to bring a smartphone with a flexible plastic OLED screen to market, the LG G Flex. LG's new line will join others in Gumi City, where LG says it has invested $12.1 billion over the years and created thousands of jobs.

Sprint Spreads the LG Tribute 2 to Virgin and Sprint Prepaid

Jul 20, 2015, 10:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced the LG Tribute 2 is now available from Virgin Mobile and Sprint Prepaid. The Tribute 2 has LG's signature rear-placed buttons, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, LTE, Bluetooth, and WiFi. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with LG's Knock Code, QuickMemo, and selfie camera tools. The screen measures 4.5 inches and offers 854 x 480 resolution. The Tribute 2 also includes a 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front camera, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of ROM. Virgin Mobile is selling the phone as the LG Tribute 2, but Sprint Prepaid has rebranded it to the Tribute Duo. It costs $99. Sprint-owned Boost Mobile is already selling the Tribute 2.

MetroPCS Dangles Free Data to Tempt Switchers

Jul 20, 2015, 8:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS today announced several promotions meant to entice consumers to ditch their carrier in favor of MetroPCS. For starters, customers who activate a new line on a $40 or higher service plan will receive an extra 1GB of LTE data per month on top of whatever data bucket they choose. The extra 1GB will remain with the line as long as the customer sticks with MetroPCS. Customers who port their number will be eligible for a $50 rebate on a new phone. MetroPCS is also offering a package deal on the LG Leon. MetroPCS is selling the Leon with a month of service (unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of data) for $59 after a mail-in rebate. Today's promotions are available only in stores.

G4 Beat Is a Less Expensive Variant of LG's Flagship

Jul 9, 2015, 6:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G4 Beat, a budget-minded version of the G4. The G4 Beat retains the G4's general size and appearance, but dials back the specs in order to drop the price tag. For example, the 5.2-inch screen has full HD resolution instead of quad HD resolution and the camera has an 8-megapixel sensor instead of a 16-megapixel sensor. The G4 Beat is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and the main camera features LG's laser-assisted focus. Wireless radios include 4G LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and comes in several different colors. LG said the G4 Beat will be sold in Europe and Latin America first, followed by other regions later. LG didn't say if the G4 Beat will reach the U.S.

CTIA Says Smartphones Better Protected Against Theft

Jul 1, 2015, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Beginning today, most smartphones sold in the U.S. will include anti-theft security tools. July 1 marks the day by which phone makers and network operators agreed to implement free theft deterrents on smartphones. According to the CTIA, most of the industry has responded by placing remote lock/wipe capabilities on consumer devices. The addition of an activation lock on the Apple iPhone, for example, has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in major cities. The activation lock prevents a stolen device from being activated by another person, thus making it useless to thieves. Remote wipe features allow people to erase the personal data from their handset if lost/stolen to protect their identity. The major participants in today's action include Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, and ZTE. "Today's fulfillment of the Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment is another example of the wireless industry proactively working together with policymakers and law enforcement to help protect consumers' smartphones in the event they are ever lost or stolen. We will continue to work with all interested parties to continue to deploy new technologies and tools to improve device theft-deterrence tools. We remind consumers to take a few minutes to use PINs, passwords, apps and other device features to protect their mobile devices and personal information." The industry was coerced into acting "voluntarily" when the FCC threatened to make such protective measures mandatory.

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