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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
Verizon Wireless today said customers can trade in an old flagship smartphone for up to $300 off a new flagship smartphone. The promotion is limited to certain handsets. For example, only the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6, and S6 edge/edge+; HTC M9; Apple iPhone 6; and LG G4 and V10 are eligible to trade-in for $300. The phones must be in good working order and good cosmetic condition. Other phones traded in will receive a lesser amount to be determined by Verizon. The program also requires customers to activate a new line, upgrade, or switch to Verizon and then purchase a new device on a monthly payment plan. Customers can use the $300 toward the Apple iPhone 6S or 6S Plus; HTC 10; LG G5; Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge, and Note 5; and the Moto Droid Turbo 2 or Maxx 2 .(Customers interested in the Turbo 2 or Maxx 2 are allowed to trade-in phones with broken screens.) Verizon suggests customers perform the trade-in at Verizon's stores, where credit for the value of the trade will be applied immediately, but the company is also offering the promotion through its web site. New customers will receive the $300 via a gift card, while existing customers will be given an account credit. Verizon's didn't say how long the trade-in program will run.
LG recently announced VPInput, an app for PCs and select LG handsets that makes Bluetooth pairing a breeze. More than simply connecting the devices, VPInput lets LG smartphone owners control their device using the PC's mouse and keyboard. LG is pitching the app as "a convenient solution when you’re at your desk but want to check your phone without interrupting your workflow." For example, VPInput can be used to copy text from a Word document on a PC and then paste it into a document on a smartphone, or take a screenshot on a phone and display it on the PC screen. Further, function keys on the PC can be used as shortcuts to launch certain apps or tools that are on the smartphone. VPInput is free to download from the Google Play Store, but is only compatible with the LG V10, G4, and G5 smartphones.
Sprint's prepaid brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile today announced plans to sell the LG K3 handset. The phone is available from both carriers' web sites today and will reach Boost Mobile stores next week. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and features a 4.5-inch screen, quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor clocked at 1.1 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and a 1,940mAh battery. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor with flash, while the front camera has a VGA sensor and a selfie light. Both cameras include LG's shooting tools, such as Cheese Shutter and Gesture Shot. The LG K3 costs $79.99.
LG today announced four new X-branded Android smartphones to fill out its mid-tier range of devices. Like the X cam and X screen announced earlier this year, each of the new X phones has a single, enhanced feature that defines the device. The X power has a 4,100mAh battery with rapid charging for power-hungry users, while the X style has a curved design and slim body. The X mach boasts an LTE Cat 9 cellular radio, a 1.8 GHz processor, and a quad HD screen, while the X max includes an over-sized display for consuming media. LG said more details about the new X series, including pricing and availability, will be shared on a market-by-market basis. The X power, X style, X mach, and X max will go on sale around the world soon.
AT&T today launched WiFi Calling on Android. Starting with the LG G4, AT&T customers will be able to make/receive calls and send/receive text messages via WiFi. AT&T said customers with compatible phones will receive a notification once the feature is available to them. A small software update is required. AT&T said WiFi Calling is available to customers with postpaid accounts set-up for HD Voice service. The phone will automatically make calls via WiFi when it detects limited or no cell coverage. WiFi calls are billed based on the number being called, so AT&T customers can call U.S. numbers via WiFi free of charge when abroad. AT&T said it expects WiFi Calling to be available on more Android devices soon. WiFi Calling has been available to the iPhone since last year.
Motorola and LG have said their first-generation Android Wear smartwatches won't be updated to the newest version of the wearable platform from Google. Both companies recently shared the news via their official Twitter accounts. The two wearables were first announced in 2014 and were among the first wave of smartwatches to run Android Wear. Motorola and LG did update the wearables to Android Wear 1.2 in 2015, but it appears that's as far as they will go. Moreover, LG says it has discontinued the LG G Watch in favor of newer models. Android Wear 2.0 adds a number of features and requires fresh hardware for WiFi and cellular connectivity. Android Wear 2.0 is available to developers, but won't be released to the general public until later this year.
Verizon Wireless today said it will begin accepting preorders for the LG K8 V on June 9. This affordable Android smartphone has a 5-inch 720p HD screen and is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 16 GB of storage. The K8 V has an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and a 5-megapixel user-facing camera with selfie light. It packs a 2,125mAh battery, supports Verizon's HD Voice service, and can roam internationally. The LG K8 V runs Android Marshmallow and will cost $144 when it goes in sale June 16.
Verizon Wireless said it will discontinue its $2.99 Visual Voicemail service come July 8. All customers who use the Visual Voicemail app will be transitioned to Verizon's free, basic voicemail service. Verizon says customers won't lose their existing voicemails, but may need to make room in their voicemail inbox, as well as reset their voicemail greeting. The list of phones impacted by the change is significant, including old and new models from BlackBerry, Casio, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Pantech, and Samsung. Verizon did not say why it is discontinuing the Visual Voicemail service.
- K10: The K10 relies on LG's older design language and features rear-mounted volume controls. 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 2,200mAh battery. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and costs $160, but MetroPCS is selling the LG K10 for $99 after rebates.
- Galaxy J7: The J7 is a mid-range phone that resembles many of Samsung's inexpensive handsets. The J7 has a 5.5-inch HD screen, 1.5 GHz octa-core processor, 13-megapixel main camera, and 5-megapixel selfie camera — both with an LED flash. The J7 offers 16 GB of storage and ships with a 3,000mAh battery. It also runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. MetroPCS is selling the Galaxy J7 for $180 after a $50 rebate.
LG recently announced the Stylus 2 Plus, a more performance-minded version of the Stylus 2. The external chassis is identical to the Stylus 2, but the Plus boosts the 5.7-inch display resolution to full HD, improves the processor clock speed to 1.4 GHz per core, increases megapixel count to 16 for the front camera and 8 for the rear camera, and adds a front-facing flash. The phone will be sold in several RAM/storage configurations, including 2 GB/16 GB and 3 GB/32 GB. The phone has a 3,000mAh battery, LTE, and a fingerprint sensor. The Stylus 2 Plus runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The LG Stylus 2 Plus ships in Taiwan beginning today, but will reach North America in the weeks ahead.
LG today made the G5 Friends accessories available for purchase from its web site. Consumers can buy the CAM Plus ($70), 360 CAM ($200), 360 VR goggles ($200), and Tone Platinum headphones ($200) to go with their G5. LG is also selling battery packs and battery charging cradles. The CAM Plus adds a camera grip, dedicated buttons, and extended battery to the G5 via its modular hatch. The 360 CAM captures 360-degree video, while the 360 VR goggles allow people to view virtual reality content.
AT&T today added a handful of new handsets to a buy one, get one free offer the carrier has had in place since February. The extended BOGO promotion now applies to the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Microsoft Lumia 950, the HTC One A9, and the Kyocera DuraForce. The other handsets already included in the offer are the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus; Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge Plus, S6 Active, and Note 5; and LG G5 and V10. The offer lets new and existing customers buy one phone at full price and receive a second one for free. The two handsets must come from the same manufacturer. AT&T says both phones must be purchased via its AT&T Next installment plan. The first phone can be a new line or an upgrade, but the second phone must be a new line purchased with an AT&T Next 24 plan (req's 30 payments). Both phones must be added to a qualified plan, such as Mobile Share Value, which starts at $70 for two lines. Customers will need to pay sales tax on the two phones at the time of purchase and may need to make several monthly payments on both before AT&T credits up to $650 for the second phone spread out over the 30 months. The offer is available through June 30.
AT&T's GoPhone prepaid service recently made the LG Phoenix 2 available from its web site. This entry-level Android smartphone includes a 5-inch 720p HD screen and is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor with 1.5 GB of RAM. The Phoenix 2 has an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash, burst shot and gesture shot, and a 5-megapixel front camera. The phone has 16 GB of storage and supports memory cards up to 32 GB for additional storage. The Phoenix 2 ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and LG included some of its core software tools, such as KnockON, Knock Code, Quick Memo, and QSlide apps. It has a removable 2,125mAh battery and features LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and WiFi radios. The phone costs $99. GoPhone does not require contracts.
LG plans to shake up the executive ranks within its mobile phone business. The move comes on the heels of LG's first quarter report, in which the company's mobile phone business recorded its third straight loss. "We need to change the way we work to move faster and lighter," said Cho Juno, LG's CEO and mobile chief, in an email to employees. "Other business divisions also need people from mobile communications. We will continue to reshuffle personnel." The LG G5 flagship smartphone just recently went on sale and did not play a prominent role in the company's first quarter results. LG is forecasting second-quarter sales for the G5 of about 3 million. Juno said the company will trim staff in its mobile phone business unit so it can react quicker to changing market demands. Verizon Wireless recently rolled out a buy-one, get-one offer for the LG G5. In order to take advantage of the deal, new and existing customers must purchase two G5s on a monthly payment plan ($26 per month each for 24 months). After completing the purchase, customers can fill out a form to be reimbursed for the second device via Visa gift card. At lease one of the lines must be new. The bogo offer is good for a limited time.
The FCC and FTC today asked carriers and phone manufacturers how they handle security updates for their devices. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and other carriers, while the FTC queried Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung. In particular, the agencies want to know: the factors carriers/OEMs consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular phone; data on the specific phones sold in the U.S. since August 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities. The government said the line of inquiry is to help it further understand how these companies do or do not protect consumers. "Consumers may be left unprotected, for long periods of time or even indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities once they are discovered," said the FCC. "To date, operating system providers, original equipment manufacturers, and mobile service providers have responded to address vulnerabilities as they arise. There are, however, significant delays in delivering patches to actual devices — and that older devices may never be patched." Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android devices, but individual phone makers lag badly. Apple provides occasional updates.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint from Creative Technology / Creative Labs that accuses eight different smartphone makers of infringing on patents. The ITC is prepared to look at phones made by BlackBerry, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and ZTE. Creative Labs says these companies are violating a patent related to media playback on mobile devices. The ITC did not say when it might make an initial ruling on the matter. Companies often use the ITC as a venue to settle trade disagreements because the ITC has the power to institute import bans.
Cricket Wireless today said it will kick off sales of the LG Stylo 2 on May 13. The phone will cost $169.99. Cricket does not require contracts. The Stylo 2 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 a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor and has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cricket said consumers who switch to Cricket from other carriers will receive a $50 gift card, and consumers who switch from T-Mobile will receive a $100 gift card. The Stylo 2 is also being sold by Boost Mobile.
Google is rolling out an update to the Google Keyboard application with a handful of new functions. To start, Android users can now adjust the height of the keyboard between short and tall, with five different heights available in between. This feature reflects what one seen on LG phones for several years. The keyboard can be set to left- or right-handed mode, allows full-word deletion, and adds a dedicated phone-like number pad for faster number entry. The Google Keyboard 5.0 is free to download from the Google Play Store.
LG Innotek revealed a new fingerprint sensor that works through glass, allowing LG and other smartphone makers to create devices free from buttons. LG Innotek was able to do this by carving a small furrow out of the back side of the glass. It then glued the sensor in this furrow with a new, strengthened adhesive. LG Innotek says the embedded fingerprint sensor is just as accurate and quick as those within physical buttons, and has a false positive rate of 0.002%. LG Innotek claims the cover panel glass is still impact resistant, despite the thinner area where the fingerprint sensor is located. The company believes the solution will give phone designers more freedom to innovate, for example, by creating waterproof, buttonless phones. LG Innotek did not say when it expects its under-the-glass fingerprint sensor to ship. Synaptics developed a similar solution last year.