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Netflix HDR Support Reaches More High-End Phones

Oct 24, 2018, 7:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Netflix has added more smartphones to the list of those capable of supporting HDR10 playback. The newest phones include the LG G7, and the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium and Xperia XZ3. These phones have the high-contrast displays needed to boost colors and improve the visible range between bright and dark regions of each frame. HDR10 playback is already available to a number of flagship-grade devices, including the LG G7 One, V30, and V35; the Samsung Galaxy Note9, Note8, and S9; the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, XZ1, and XZ2; and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, P20, and Honor 10. In order to view HDR10 content on mobile devices, people need to subscribe to the premium Netflix plan.


Google Updating Your Movies to 4K for Free

Oct 23, 2018, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said movies people own via the Google Play Store will automatically be upgraded to 4K at no extra cost. When Hollywood studios make their titles available in 4K, Google will upgrade previous purchases, even if those purchases were for originally SD or HD resolution. Google indicated that 4K movies will begin to cost less when purchased in the Play Store. The 4K content should be easier to watch on 4K TVs, according to Google, without additional hardware. It has updated the Play Movies & TV app for the majority of Sony's Bravia 4K TVs and Samsung's 4K Smart TVs, and Google is doing the same for LG. The app allows connected TVs to access the Play Movies service directly for streaming programs. Google will continue to make improvements to the app and bring 4K movies and TV shows to more devices over time.


OnePlus Says It Will Be In First Wave of Phones to Include 5G

Oct 23, 2018, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm expects to see two major waves of 5G handsets arrive throughout 2019. Speaking at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon said, based on its viewpoint, there will be an initial set of launches along with the arrival of 5G mobile networks themselves. U.S. carriers are expecting to get their 5G mobile networks up and running during the first six months of 2019, and some may launch during the first quarter. Amon believes a second wave of 5G phones — all flagships — will hit the market in the latter part of the year ahead of the holiday shopping season. OnePlus CEO, Carl Pei, who joined Amon on stage, says his company will have one of the first, if not the actual first, 5G phones to reach consumer hands. Pei noted that OnePlus has already begun conducting 5G tests with partner Qualcomm in San Diego. OnePlus is prepared to launch the OnePlus 6T at an event in New York on October 29. It is likely the 6T's successor that will include 5G. Earlier this year, Sprint claimed it would be the first carrier to launch a 5G handset with partner LG. Given OnePlus' recent tie-up with T-Mobile, it's possible OnePlus' 5G smartphone will operate on T-Mobile's network. Neither Sprint nor T-Mobile has provided a firm 5G launch date for 2019.


T-Mobile Debuts 3-Year Device Payment Plan

Oct 17, 2018, 11:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced new handset and service promotions that offer new phones for low monthly payments with one big catch: the equipment installment plan runs for 36 months. That means it will be three years before customers pay off their device, rather than the customary two years. The basics are these. Beginning October 19, customers can trade in an eligible phone for a new Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, Note9, LG G7, LG V40 ThinQ, and others for payments as low as $10 per month. T-Mobile hopes customers taking advantage of this promo will jump on the T-Mobile Essentials plan, which provides a family of four new phones with unlimited service for $40 per line per month, or $160 total. This breaks down to $30 per month per line for service and $10 per month for device payments. The actual device payment may be different. Customers who want the T-Mobile One plan will need to pay another $10 per month per line, or $50. This deal requires auto-pay. Eligible phone trade-ins will be credited to customer accounts monthly over a period of 36 months. The maximum trade-in value is $360 per device, but that will depend on the trade and its condition. T-Mobile didn't immediately list a set of devices eligible for trade-in. The trade can be applied to the purchase price of most phones LG sells, including the forthcoming iPhone Xr.


Fortnite for Android No Longer Requires An Invitation

Oct 11, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Epic Games today made its popular Fortnite game available without an invitation. The app has been available in beta since August, though an invite was required for access. Epic Games has dropped the need for an invitation and most anyone can download the game. Fortnite is not available in the Google Play Store. Instead, people interested in the game will need to go to Epic's web site to download an installer. The installer then puts the game on the phone. The game started as an exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and was later discovered to have a major security flaw in the installer (since patched). Fortnite is best played on high-end devices that have Android 8 Oreo installed. Some compatible phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, and S9 series; all Google Pixel phones; the LG G5, G6, G7, V20, and V30; the Asus ROG Phone and 5Z; the Essential Phone; the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, Honor 10, and Honor Play; the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6; the HTC 10, U Ultra, U11+, U12+; the Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ2, and XZ3 series; as well as a handful of others from Xiaomi, ZTE, Nokia, and Lenovo.


AT&T Expands '5G Evolution' Footprint to 99 More Markets

Oct 4, 2018, 7:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said it has launched what it calls 5G Evolution in 99 new markets, bringing the total of pre-5G markets to 239. AT&T is on track to reach its goal of 400 markets by the end of the year, and nationwide coverage during the first half of 2019. The company says its 5G Evolution technology — which is not 5G NR — can deliver theoretical speeds up to 400 Mbps to properly equipped phones. AT&T expects to launch true 5G mobile service in a dozen markets by the end of the year, with another seven joining the list in early 2019. Further, AT&T has expanded its LTE-LAA footprint to parts of 20 markets and expects to reach 24 by December. LTE-LAA can push speeds to a theoretical max of 1 Gbps. A handful of phones sold by AT&T are LTE-LAA capable, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9, S8+, S9+, Note8, Note9, and S8 Active, as well as the LG V30 and V35, the Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition, and the Netgear Nighthawk Mobile Router. AT&T's first real 5G NR mobile device will be a mobile hotspot.


Hands On with the LG Watch W7

Oct 3, 2018, 5:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG announced a hybrid smartwatch today, a wearable that includes physical, moving watch hands in addition to a full, Wear OS operating system and touch display. Here are our first impressions of this unique take on the wristwatch.

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LG's W7 Smartwatch Features Real Moving Hands and Digital Display

Oct 3, 2018, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 3, 2018, 4:20 PM

LG today announced the W7, a unique, hybrid wearable that combines certain aspects of regular watches and smartwatch. LG says the watch was developed with the help of Swiss watchmaker Soprod SA, meaning it has a traditional design with a chrome bezel and support for standard 22mm straps. The W7's signature feature is a set of physical, moving watch hands so the time always visible on the smartwatch. Despite the gearing necessary for the hands, LG says the watch sips power and can keep the hands moving for 100 days on a single charge, or run the watch for about two days when used with the screen and other features on. Beneath the hands is a standard 1.2-inch OLED touch display that supports all the normal functions of Google's Wear OS. The watch hands will move out of the way when needed to reveal the information beneath. The W7 includes two physical buttons and a knob for controlling aspects of the user interface. Other features include IP68 protection from water, a compass, stopwatch, timer, barometer, and altimeter. The watch hands can also act like a compass when needed. There is no heart rate monitor and no LTE connectivity, but the W7 does include GPS for tracking workouts. Preorders for the LG Watch W7 begin October 7, with in-store availability at Bvest Buy starting October 14. It costs $450.


Video and Photo Tour of the LG V40 ThinQ

Oct 3, 2018, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman and Rich Brome

The LG V40 ThinQ is a beast of a top-end, large-screen phone. In addition to our in-depth review, we have a video tour in 4K, and some bonus photos.

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LG's V40 ThinQ Ups the Ante with 5 Cameras

Oct 3, 2018, 4:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today fully revealed the V40 ThinQ, its camera-focused flagship phone for the remainder of the year. The V40 adopts five cameras, with three on the back and two on front. The rear cameras include wide-angle (16mp, f/1.9), normal (12mp, f/1.5), and telephoto (12mp, f/2.4) lenses to offer people greater flexibility in capturing images. Using the new Triple Shot tool, the V40 can take pictures with all three lenses and then merge the result into a shareable GIF with zooming animations. The front of the phone features an 8-megapixel normal lens and a 5-megapixel wide-angle lens for selfies. Both front and rear cameras support portrait/bokeh photography. The V40 has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a notch and quad HD+ resolution. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Other hardware features include support for microSD storage cards, 3.5mm headphone jack with quad DAC, USB-C, and a 3,300mAh battery. The device offers rapid charging and rapid wireless charging. Wireless radios include Bluetooth, FM, GPS, NFC, WiFi, and LTE with most U.S. bands on board. The V40 is made from metal and glass, with 2.5D glass on front and sand-blasted glass on the rear. The phone is rated IP68 for protection against dust and water. The V40 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with a number of software features provided by LG. The V40 will be available for preorder starting today, with in-store availability scheduled for October 18. Raw pricing for the device is as follows: AT&T, TBD; Sprint, $960; T-Mobile, $920; U.S. Cellular, $900; and Verizon, $980. Each carrier will have its own monthly rates and bundles available at launch.


LG's V40 ThinQ To Feature Cinemagraph Capture

Oct 1, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today revealed that its forthcoming flagship, the V40 ThinQ, can capture cinemagraphs. The feature, called Cine Shot, lets people record several seconds of video and then create a still image that has a moving segment. For example, a cinema graph can show a person blowing bubbles wherein the person is perfectly still but the bubbles float around the image. Cine Shots are stored in the .MP4 format and can be shared via most messaging apps. A similar motion capture tool is available from device made by Motorola and others. LG has already shown that the V40 ThinQ will be a metal-and-glass slate with a 6.4-inch screen. The phone will include five cameras. LG is expected to announce the phone in full on October 3.


LG Touts V40 ThinQ's 5 Cameras and 6.4-Inch Screen

Sep 27, 2018, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG has revealed several aspects of its forthcoming flagship phone, the V40 ThinQ, in a promotional video shared in its home market of Korea. The main points revealed by the video are the V40 ThinQ's 6.4-inch screen and five-camera array. LG says it has reduced the bezels as much as possible, allowing the V40 ThinQ to boost the size of the screen compared to the V30/35 while keeping the phone's dimension's in check. Based on visuals shared in the video, the V40 has three cameras on the rear and two cameras on the front. The phone features a metal-and-glass design, with glass on front and back. LG says the rear panel, in particular, has been sand-blasted for smoothness and resistance to scratching and fingerprints. Other aspects of the phone include a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. LG plans to more fully announce the phone at an event in New York City on October 3.


Boost Mobile Picks Up the LG K30 for $150

Sep 25, 2018, 4:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 25, 2018, 6:14 PM

Boost Mobile today added the LG K30 to its list of inexpensive Android phones for $150. The K30 is a rebadged variant of the K10, which LG announced earlier this year. The K30 has a U-shaped metal frame and a 5.3-inch 720p display and a 1.5 GHz octa-core MediaTek processor. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Photo tools include bokeh/portraits and a Low Light Noise mode that works with HDR to reduce grain and provide more contrast in low-light shots. Other features include a 2,880mAh battery and fingerprint reader; GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, and FM radio; and a microUSB port. It comes in black and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo. Boost is also offering a deal to those who switch. The prepaid carrier will provide four lines for $25 each, with unlimited talk and text; optimized video, game, and music streaming; and unlimited music streaming from select partners. The deal for switchers will be available through Nov. 15.


Apple Gear Spared from Trump's Tariffs for Now

Sep 18, 2018, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods are not among the list of products that will be subject to a new 10% tariff directed against imports from China. The tariff, levied by President Donald Trump, covers some $200 billion of goods shipped into the U.S. Apple had feared its products would be among those hit with the tariff, but it has been spared. FitBit said its products were spared from this round of tariffs, as well, but some Cisco, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard components necessary for cloud computing equipment do fall on the list of taxed products. The 10% tariff goes into effect September 24, and rises to 25% on January 1, 2019. Trump has threatened to expand the tariffs to an additional $267 billion worth of goods. In that case, Apple's products would no longer be exempt from the added fees, nor would the phones from Samsung, LG, and most other manufacturers. Tariffs are generally viewed as a tax on consumers, as they often result in higher prices on goods.


Cricket Offering Galaxy S9 Promo and Open Enrollment for Insurance

Sep 14, 2018, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced several promotions timed with the arrival of the fall season. First up, customers who open a new line of service with Cricket and port in their number can buy the Samsung Galaxy S9 for $499, a savings of $120 off the regular price. Alternately, new customers can snag the LG Fortune 2 for free. This offer is available through November 8. Cricket is offering four lines of "unlimited data" for $100 per month. This plan includes 22 GB of high-speed data, after which the speeds may be slowed down when the network is congested. Cricket's network allows for maximum download speeds of 3 Mbps, with video streams capped at 1.5 Mbps, or standard definition. Last, Cricket is offering customers the opportunity to enroll in Cricket Protect. Cricket's insurance program includes quick and convenient phone replacements and covers broken glass and water damage. Cricket Protect costs $7 per month. The program is automatically offered to people when they buy a new device. The open enrollment lets people who don't have insurance sign up for the program. Cricket says people seeking to add their phone to Cricket Protect will need to bring their device to a local Cricket store for a quick inspection. The open enrollment period lasts through November 8.


Project Fi Offers Big Discounts On LG G7, V35 ThinQ

Sep 5, 2018, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google's Project Fi has slashed prices on most of the devices it sells. First, those who purchase the Pixel 2 XL can receive $250 in credit towards Project Fi service, which can cover at least 8 months of basic connectivity. Fi this week rolled out big price drops for the LG G7 ThinQ and the LG V35 ThinQ. The G7 has dropped from $749 to $449, while the V35 has dropped from $899 to $599, both representing savings of $300 with a new Fi activation. Fi has also discounted the Motorola Moto G6 from $249 to $199, and the Moto X4 from $399 to $249. These savings are available for a limited time and/or while supplies last. Google's Project Fi relies on T-Mobile, Sprint, and WiFi to provide coverage. Twenty dollars per month buys talk and text, and data costs $10 per gigabyte.


Hands On with the LG G7 Fit and G7 One

Aug 30, 2018, 10:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG recently rolled out two new entries in its G7 range. The G7 Fit and G7 One have the same basic appearance as the flagship G7, but aren't quite the same when it comes to the in-hand experience. Here are our first impressions of these two mid-range phones from LG.

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LG Adds Two More Affordable Devices to the G7 Series

Aug 28, 2018, 5:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the G7 One and G7 Fit, phones that share the basic design of the G7 ThinQ but dial back the specs in order to make them less expensive. Shared features between the two include 6.1-inch quad HD+ LCD displays (3,120 by 1,440 pixels), 3,000mAh batteries with QuickCharge 3.0, LTE 4G, WiFi, NFC, and USB-C connectors. The phones also include IP68 protection from water and dust, mil-spec 810G certification, face recognition, fingerprint sensors, and FM radios. On the audio front, the G7 One and G7 Fit offer LG's 32-bit quad DAC with 3D X surround sound, and LG's boombox stereo speakers.

  • G7 One: This variant of the G7 family runs Android One. LG says the Android 8.1 Oreo-based platform ships with only the most essential apps. The G7 One forgoes bloatware in order to keep performance smooth. The phone packs a Snapdragon 835 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with a standard 71-degree field of view at f/1.6. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with a wide(r) 80-degree field of view at f/1.9. It is assisted by LG's AI Cam software. The G7 One includes Bluetooth 5.0 LE and comes in black or blue.
  • G7 Fit: The Fit runs the standard version of Android 8.1 Oreo. It is powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor and comes with 4 GB of RAM and either 32 or 64 GB of storage. The main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with a standard 76-degree field of view at f/2.2. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with a wide(r) 80-degree field of view at f/1.9. It has LG's AI Cam software aboard as well as Google Lens. The G7 Fit includes Bluetooth 4.2 and comes in black or gray.
LG said pricing and availability will be announced closer to launch. The company didn't specify if these phones will be sold in the U.S.


Sprint Says 5G Phone from LG Planned for First Half of 2019

Aug 14, 2018, 11:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced that together with LG it will bring its first 5G mobile phone to market during the first half of 2019. Sprint said the "innovative handset" is being "built for the country's first mobile 5G network." Sprint claims its forthcoming 5G network will allow customers to download full-length HD movies in seconds instead of minutes, and stream graphic-heavy videos and games without delays or lag-time. Specifics concerning the device were not provided. Sprint plans to launch its 5G mobile network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Sprint says more 5G devices are in development and will be announced over time. All the major carriers are rushing to be first to launch 5G. AT&T expects to offer a 5G mobile hotspot by the end of the year, while Verizon Wireless and Motorola will offer a 5G Moto Mod to the recently-announced Moto Z3 smartphone early next year.


YouTube Highlights Phones with the Best Screens for Video

Aug 10, 2018, 7:34 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube has begun to recognize what it calls Signature Devices, or phones that deliver the best-in-class experience for YouTube content. YouTube says these phones have the latest technology and provide optimal viewing. In order to qualify as a Signature Device, a phone must include features such as high dynamic range, 4K, 360 video, reliable DRM performance, and a high frame rate. YouTube says it has worked with select manufacturers to verify a handful of Signature Devices. They include the new Samsung Galaxy Note9, as well as the S8, S8+, Note8, S9, and S9+; the LG V30 and G7 ThinQ; the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium, XZ2, and XZ2 Compact; the HTC U12+; the Huawei Mate 10 Pro; the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S and Mi 8; the HMD Global Nokia 8 Sirocco; the OnePlus 6; and the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. People who own these devices don't need to do anything in order to enjoy a good YouTube experience. YouTube will add devices to the list over time.


T-Mobile Launches the LG Q7+

Aug 3, 2018, 12:50 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Aug 9, 2018, 8:15 AM

T-Mobile today added to its lineup of mid-range phones with the LG Q7+, a phone that looks like LG's Stylo 4, but is smaller and higher-end in a number of ways. The Q7+ has a 5.5-inch display, (compared to the 6.2-inch display on the Stylo 4.) LG's Q series is intended to bring the premium design of the G series — including a 2:1 display and a metal frame — to lower price points. The Q7+ is rated IP68 for water resistance. It pairs a Snapdragon 450processor with a generous 4 GB of RAM. Other features include FHD+ screen resolution, NFC, fingerprint reader, 16-megapixel camera, USB-C, fast charging, 3.5mm audio jack, and a memory card slot. T-Mobile is selling it for $350.


MetroPCS Rolls Out Some Smartphone Deals

Aug 2, 2018, 1:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS today kicked off several promotions meant to encourage people to sign up for its service. To start, MetroPCS is offering those who switch a $200 discount that can be applied toward the purchase of a new phone. Some phones, including the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime, LG Stylo 4, Moto E5 Plus, and iPhone SE, would be effectively free after the $200 discount. This deal requires users to subscribe to MetroPCS' Unlimited LTE plan. Second, customers who buy one iPhone can earn a $200 rebate toward the purchase of a second iPhone of equal or lesser value. This promo is good for new and existing customers. Customers who switch to MetroPCS can buy the iPhone 6 for $49. Last, customers who bring their own device to MetroPCS will receive a free month of service. These deals are available online and in stores.


Amazon Adds LG Stylo 4 to List of Prime Exclusive Phones

Jul 31, 2018, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon has made the LG Stylo 4, a rebadged variant of the LG Q Stylus, available via its web site as a Prime Exclusive. Prime Exclusives are offered at slightly lower prices than retail and include a variety of Amazon apps and services preinstalled. The Stylo 4 includes a stylus and has a metal body with mil-spec 810G for protection against abuse and IP68 protection against water and dust. The Stylo 4 has a 6.2-inch screen with LG's 2:1 Full Vision (2,160 x 1,080) resolution. The phone is powered by a 1.8 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel front camera with a wide-angle lens. The Stylo 4 has a 3,300mAh battery and specs including USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, wifi, and LTE 4G. The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear surface. The phone ships with Android 8 Oreo and LG's pen-based software tools, such as memos and notes. Amazon is selling the LG Stylo 4 unlocked with support for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. (The phone is already being sold by Cricket Wireless and MetroPCS.) Amazon is charging $249.99, a savings of $50.


Bluetooth Bug Could Expose Devices to Attack; Patch Coming

Jul 24, 2018, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology discovered a vulnerability in Bluetooth's Secure Simple Pairing and LE Secure Connections features that could lead to man-in-the-middle attacks. According to the researchers, the Bluetooth specification doesn't require devices with these features to validate the public key when pairing with new hardware. By not validating the key, it leaves the connection open to attack. In this case, the attacker would need to have a device within 30 meters and intercept the pairing procedure between two devices. The attacker's hardware could pose as the intended paired device, hijack the connection, and transmit malicious code. For this to work, both devices attempting to pair would need to have the Secure Simple Pairing or LE Secure Connections features enabled in their code, and the attacker's timing would have to be impeccable, according to the Bluetooth SIG. The bug impacts hardware from Apple, Broadcom, Intel, and Qualcomm, along with some Android handsets. According to ZDNet, Apple issued a patch for this bug in July. Intel and Qualcomm have updated their drivers, respectively, and some PC makers have begun to distribute the patches. LG and Huawei have said they'll include patches for the bug in security updates for their Android phones this month. Google has not mentioned the bug in any of its monthly security updates and it's not clear if the Android kernel, nor what other Android devices, are affected


AT&T Prepaid Now Selling the LG Phoenix Plus

Jul 16, 2018, 2:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T has kicked off sales of the LG Phoenix Plus, a variant of the K10 announced earlier this year. The Phoenix Plus has a U-shaped metal frame with a 5.3-inch, 720p display and a 1.5 GHz, octa-core Snapdragon 425 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone features an 8-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. The selfie camera can capture bokeh-style shots. LG said the phone has new Low Light Noise functionality that improve low-light photography. Other features include a 3,000mAh battery, fingerprint reader, NFC, LTE, GPS, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, FM radio, microUSB, and Android 8.1 Oreo. AT&T Prepaid sells the LG Phoenix Plus for $130.


Cricket Wireless Picks Up the LG Stylo 4

Jun 28, 2018, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless will soon kick off sales of the LG Stylo 4, a rebadged variant of the LG Q Stylus announced earlier this month. The Stylo 4 includes a stylus and has a metal body with mil-spec 810G for protection against abuse and IP68 protection against water and dust. The Stylo 4 has a 6.2-inch screen with LG's 2:1 Full Vision (2,160 x 1,080) resolution. The phone is powered by a 1.8 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel front camera with a wide-angle lens. The Stylo 4 has a 3,300mAh battery and specs including USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, wifi, and LTE 4G. The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear surface. The phone ships with Android 8 Oreo and LG's pen-based software tools, such as memos and notes. Cricket Wireless will sell the phone starting June 29 for $229. The phone is already available from MetroPCS.


Apple, Samsung Support Digital Key for Unlocking Cars with Phones

Jun 21, 2018, 10:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Car Connectivity Consortium this week announced release 1.0 of its Digital Key specification, which will let people use their phone to unlock their car. The spec supports the ability to lock, unlock, start, and share access to cars from smartphones and other devices. The underlying technology makes it possible for carmakers to securely transmit a digital key to a mobile device, which then makes use of NFC and a secure element to provide vehicle access. The Car Connectivity Consortium says it has lots of support from both phone and car makers. Some of the member companies include Apple, Audi, BMW, Continental, Gemalto, GM, LG, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Volkswagen. The CCC is already working on release 2.0, which it expects will arrive during the first quarter of 2019. The group didn't say how long before consumers can expect to see the technology gracing their local automobile showroom.


MetroPCS Adds LG Stylo 4 to Lineup

Jun 18, 2018, 10:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS has kicked off sales of the LG Stylo 4, a rebadged variant of the LG Q Stylus announced earlier this month. The Stylo 4 includes a stylus and has a metal body with mil-spec 810G for protection against abuse and IP68 protection against water and dust. The Stylo 4 has a 6.2-inch screen with LG's 2:1 Full Vision (2,160 x 1,080) resolution. The phone is powered by a 1.8 GHz octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor with 2 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. The phone comes with a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel front camera with a wide-angle lens. The Stylo 4 has a 3,300mAh battery and specs including USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, wifi, and LTE 4G. The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear surface. The phone ships with Android 8 Oreo and LG's pen-based software tools, such as memos and notes. MetroPCS is selling the phone for $179 with offers (regular rice $239). Versions of the LG Q Stylus / Stylo 4 for other carriers, including AT&T/Cricket, Sprint/Boost, and U.S. Cellular, have passed through the FCC in recent weeks.


3GPP Approves Spec for Standalone 5G New Radio

Jun 14, 2018, 12:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The 3GPP today ratified another piece of the 5G specification, termed the Standalone 5G New Radio, or SA 5G NR. This spec is for 5G networks that are developed on their own, apart from legacy or pre-existing networks. The Non-Standalone portion of the 5G spec was ratified late last year and covers 5G that hooks into existing LTE 4G systems. "The freeze of Standalone 5G NR radio specifications represents a major milestone in the quest of the wireless industry towards realizing the holistic 5G vision," said Balázs Bertényi, chairman of 3GPP RAN. "5G NR Standalone systems not only dramatically increase the mobile broadband speeds and capacity, but also open the door for new industries beyond telecommunications that are looking to revolutionize their ecosystem through 5G." The SA 5G NR and the NSA 5G NR standards will together include the technology used by commercial entities, the air interface, and end users. The spec was approved by more than 600 delegates from the world's leading carrier, handset, and silicon vendors. Some participants included AT&T, DISH, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Kyocera, LG, MediaTek, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, SoftBank/Sprint, Sony, Verizon, Xiaomi, and ZTE. The 3GPP said the technical specifications for the ratified SA 5G NR will be published in the days ahead.


AT&T-Run FirstNet More Generally Available to First Responders

Jun 11, 2018, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today said fire, medical, police, and other first responders now have more access to its FirstNet network. FirstNet has been available for purchase by agencies, but hasn't been directly sold in stores. Beginning today, any verified first responder can walk into one of AT&T's 5,300 retail shops and initiate service with a new device. The retail availability of FirstNet will be a boon to first responders who volunteer and/or aren't issued communications devices by their agency or local government. A fairly wide number of phones are compatible with FirstNet, including the Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, S8 Active, Note 8, S9, S9 Plus, and J3; Apple iPhone 6/Plus, 6s/Plus, 7/Plus, 8/Plus, and X; LG V35 ThinQ; Motorola Moto G6 Play; Sonim XP5S and XP8; BlackBerry KEYone; and the Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router. The public safety network is available nationwide in its own, reserved spectrum (Band 14). First responders may also sign up for FirstNet service using AT&T's web site.


LG's Q Series Gains a Stylus

Jun 6, 2018, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG today announced the LG Q Stylus, a mid-range entry that packs a stylus for pen-based input for those who prefer that way of interacting with their device. The phone has a 6.2-inch screen with LG's 2:1 Full Vision (2,160 x 1,080) resolution. The phone is powered by an octa-core chipset with 3 or 4 GB of memory and 32 or 64 GB of storage. The phone comes in several camera configurations, including a Q Stylus+, Q Stylus, and Q Stylus α with a 16- or 13-megapixel main camera and an 8-megapixel or 5-megapixel front camera. The front-facing camera has a wide-angle lens. All three variants have a 3,300mAh battery and specs including USB-C, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, wifi, and LTE 4G. LG says the phones all have DTS-X with 3D surround sound, and IP68 for water and dust proofing, and mil-spec 810G for protection against abuse. The fingerprint scanner is located on the rear surface. The phone ships with Android 8 Oreo and LG's pen-based software tools, such as memos and notes. LG says the LG Q Stylus will go on sale in North America and other markets during the third quarter. Pricing and availability from U.S carrier was not detailed.


Project Fi Gains Support for Kids Under Age 13 via Family Link

Jun 5, 2018, 11:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 5, 2018, 11:58 AM

Google today updated its Project Fi service in order to make it a better option for families. The service now allows parents to add children under the age of 13 to Project Fi group plans using the Family Link tool. Parents will be able to manage their children's data usage, such as set limits and add account alerts. Family Link lets parents set limits on app and device use, as well as manage content filters for Chrome, Search, and other Google services. Project Fi subscribers need only tap into the Family Link app to get started. Google recently expanded the number of devices available to Project Fi subscribers to include the new LG G7 ThinQ and LG V35 ThinQ.


Google Makes June Security Patches Available

Jun 5, 2018, 7:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today detailed the June security patch for Android devices. The company says it discovered a number of vulnerabilities impacting the the Android runtime, framework, media framework, and system software. It also found component-level issues with hardware from LG, MediaTek, Nvidia, and Qualcomm. Most issues were given a severity rating of "high" and several were listed as "critical." Google says it informed its hardware partners about the issues about 30 days ago. Google does not believe any of the vulnerabilities have been exploited by hackers. Google is pushing two updates to its Nexus and Pixel phones, dated June 1 and June 5. It will be up to individual device makers to update their own hardware with the latest patches. Google will provide AOSP with the patches within 48 hours.


LG G7 ThinQ Goes On Sale Today for $749

Jun 1, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sales of the LG G7 ThinQ phone kicked off in the U.S. today. The phone is being sold by Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, Project Fi, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. It costs $749. T-Mobile is offering a BOGO deal on the phone at launch. Features of the G7 ThinQ include a 6.1-inch screen, Snapdragon 845 processor, dual rear cameras with portrait shooting and Google Lens, wireless charging, Boombox sound and quad DAC, and Android 8 Oreo.


T-Mobile Trots Out Thirteen BOGO Offers for Summer

May 30, 2018, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today rolled out a big BOGO deal that sees the company offering free phones across a handful of brands. T-Mobile says the BOGO deal applies to the latest flagships from top-tier device makers including Apple, Samsung, and LG. Each brand has its own eligibility requirements, but there are some rules that apply to all the BOGO offers. First, customers can't mix and match brands, but they can mix and match models from the same brand. The second phone must be of equal or lesser value than the first. Both devices need to be financed on a T-Mobile equipment installment plan. Some of the offers include money back via prepaid card rebate while others are credited monthly on customer bills. T-Mobile customers get free access to Netflix, unlimited LTE on a T-Mobile One plan, T-Mobile Tuesday promos, GoGo in-flight WiFi on some domestic flights, and free data roaming in more than 140 countries. T-Mobile's summer BOGO deals will be available starting June 1.


AT&T and FirstNet to Sell the LG V35 ThinQ June 8 for $900

May 30, 2018, 9:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 30, 2018, 11:58 AM

AT&T today said it will sell the new LG V35 ThinQ beginning this week. Preorders kick off Friday, June 1, with the phone scheduled to reach AT&T stores on June 8. The LG V35 ThinQ is an updated version of the V30 that relies on the same internal components as the LG G7 ThinQ. The V35 has a 6-inch screen, two 16-megapixel cameras with Google Lens, a 3,300mAh battery, and a Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Critically, the V35 ThinQ will support Band 14 and AT&T's FirstNet first responders network. The phone will be made available to FirstNet customers in addition to AT&T's own subscribers. The phone costs $30 per month for 30 months, or about $900.


Google's Project Fi to Sell the LG V35 ThinQ, G7 ThinQ, and Moto G6

May 30, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 30, 2018, 11:54 AM

Google is expanding the selection of phones available from its Project Fi MVNO. The company today said it will soon offer the LG V35 ThinQ, LG G7 ThinQ, and the Motorola Moto G6. The V35 will cot $899, the G7 will cost $749, and the G6 will cost $199. Aside from their ability to connect to Project Fi, these phones will mirror the features of unlocked and carriers variants. The Mot G6 is already available for preorder from Fi, and the G7 and V35 will arrive at some point next month. Before now, the selection was limited to Google's own Nexus and Pixel devices, as well as the Moto X4.


LG Steals from Itself to Forge the V35 ThinQ

May 30, 2018, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 30, 2018, 11:59 AM

LG today announced the V35 ThinQ, an amalgamation of its existing lineup of smartphones. The V35 ThinQ takes the chassis from the V30 and merges it with the components and software of the G7 ThinQ. The V35 has a 6-inch quad HD+ OLED display with support for HDR 10 and Google’s Daydream platform. An aluminum frame separates the front and rear Gorilla Glass 4 panels. The phone is certified IP68 for protection against water ingress and mil-spec 810G for protection against abuse. On the inside, the phone adopts the Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. The phone features the same dual-camera array found on the G7: a standard-view lens (71 degrees) at f/1.6 and a wide-angle lens (107 degrees) at f/1.9. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor at f/1.9. Like the G7, the V35 features LG’s AI Cam and can recognize 18 different scenes, such as flowers, pets, and the beach. The AI Cam then adjusts to capture the best shot. It automatically uses pixel binning to capture more light in the Bright Mode for low-light scenes. The camera can snag bokeh-style portraits using either the front or rear camera. It also includes the new Google Lens tool built directly into the camera app. The V35 packs a 32-bit quad DAC for superior wired sound, as well as DTS-X for cinematic surround, a wind filter, and super far-field voice recognition for discerning spoken commands from greater distances. Other specs include a 3,300mAh battery, wireless charging, NFC, Bluetooth 5, dual-band wifi, GPS, USB-C, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone supports newer U.S. LTE bands, such as Band 29 for AT&T and Band 66 for T-Mobile. It ships with Android 8 Oreo and LG UX 7. The LG V35 goes on sale in early June for about $900.


Hands On with the LG V35 ThinQ

May 30, 2018, 8:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

LG's new phone is a Frankenstein-like effort. LG sliced and diced parts from various phones and stitched them together to breath life into one monstrous device. The V35 ThinQ is part V30, part G7, and all LG. It boasts a 6-inch screen, mil-spec toughness, the latest silicon, and a trio of cameras. Here are Phone Scoop's first thoughts about LG's latest laboratory creation.

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Verizon Details LG G7 ThinQ and Moto G6 Launches

May 23, 2018, 1:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 24, 2018, 8:52 AM

Verizon Wireless today provided more information about the forthcoming availability of the LG G7 ThinQ and the Motorola Moto G6. Verizon will begin taking preorders for the G7 ThinQ on May 24. Verizon is charging $31.25 per month for 24 months, or about $750 in total for the phone. Verizon says customers who finance the phone on a payment plan can score a $100 discount on the total price of the device, which will be applied equally via bill credits over the 24-month payment period. Verizon says this deal is stackable with its other trade-in offers. Verizon didn't say when the G7 ThinQ will hit stores. As for the Moto G6, it will be available online and in stores on May 24. Verizon is charging $10 per month for 24 months, or about $240 in total for the device.


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