LG has confirmed plans to rebrand its line of flagship handsets. The company will drop the "G" naming convention that it has used since 2012 in favor of a new brand. The most recent handsets to make use of the G brand include the 2017 G6 and the 2016 G5. "LG is preparing a new brand strategy for the G series in the first half of the year. Numbering the phone with a two-digit number and rebranding the phone with a new name are some of the options on the table," said LG in statement provided to Digital Daily. "Rebranding flagship models is nothing new, and Samsung and Apple have done so for their own flagships," said a representative to The Investor. The company has typically introduced its G-branded flagships during the first quarter of the year and its V-branded flagships during the third quarter. LG hasn't said what new branding it might select to replace the G series, or if it will also change the branding for its V series phones. LG may debut the successor to the G6 at the Mobile World Congress trade show scheduled for February.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
LG has made an alternate home screen experience available to G5 owners that brings back the app drawer. The G5 initially launched with LG's UX 5.0 home screen experience, which removed the app drawer and kept all apps on the home screen panels. The Home 4.0 home screen experience is available to download from the LG SmartWorld app on G5 handsets. Once installed, it returns the app drawer to the home screen, leaving the panels themselves available for widgets and other customizations. Within the app drawer, G5 owners can arrange and hide apps however they wish. Users can switch between the 5.0 UX and Home 4.0 whenever they wish. The more traditional home screen experience is free to download from LG.
LG said its G5 smartphone will be available for sale in Korea starting March 31, with the U.S. to follow April 1. The G5 will reach other regions, including Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, over time. LG says more than 200 carriers plan to sell the phone. In the U.S., that includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, all of which will offer the phone on April 1. Along with the G5 itself, LG plans to sell the accompanying modules and accessories, called LG Friends. The two most notable Friends as the CAM Plus and Hi-Fi Plus, which are modules that plug directly into the bottom of the G5. The CAM Plus will be available in the U.S., but LG hasn't said if the Hi-Fi Plus will also be available. Other Friends include the 360 VR headset, 360 CAM, Rolling Bot, Tone Platinum, and H3 by B&O. Pricing for the LG G5 varies by carrier. The phone has a 5.3-inch quad HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 16-megapixel camera, and USB Type-C.
Verizon Wireless is now taking preorders for the LG G5. The phone reaches stores on April 1. The company is offering the phone for installments of $26 per month for 24 months or the full retail price of $624. For a limited time, people who purchase the G5 can get the LG 360 CAM and LG battery bundle for free. The camera can take 360-degree video, while the battery bundle includes a spare battery and charging cradle. The other major U.S. carriers are also launching the G5 on April 1 with similar offers.
Following AT&T, Verizon Wireless today said customers can place orders for the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition with LTE. This wearable, delayed by several months due to manufacturing issues, has its own cellular connection to Verizon's network and can be used fully independent from a smartphone. It can make calls and send messages from the owner's main cell number. The wearable runs Android Wear and costs $499. Verizon will drop the price by $50 for those willing to sign a contract. It costs $5 per month to add the watch to an existing service plan. For a limited time, Verizon will sell the watch for $399 when purchased with the LG G5 or V10 smartphones.
Sprint said it will begin accepting preorders for the LG G5 on March 24. The device will reach stores April 1. Sprint is offering the phone via installment plan, with a contract, or at full price. Monthly payments for the phone will be $24 for 24 months; the retail price is $576. Customers willing to sign a two-year agreement can snag the G5 for $150 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Sprint says it will offer a minimum of $150 towards the G5 for phone trade-ins. Early adopters will be rewarded with a battery bundle, which includes a spare battery, charger, and USB-C to micro USB adapter. Sprint will sell the 360 CAM for $199.99 and the CAM Plus module for $69.99. Sprint said the phone is available with several of its ongoing promotions, such as half off service rates plans for those who switch from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. Sprint will also pay ETFs and other switching fees up to $650.
AT&T customers interested in the LG G5 can preorder the modular smartphone starting today. The device will reach AT&T stores on April 1. AT&T is offering the G5 for $22.97 on an AT&T Next 24 installment plan (30 payments). Customers who want two LG G5 handsets can score the second for free as long as one of the two phones is activated on a new line and both are financed on the AT&T Next 24 plan. AT&T will reimburse the cost of the second phone spread out over the 30 monthly payments. The full retail price is $689. AT&T is also bringing back the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition with LTE. This wearable supports AT&T's NumberSync service and can be used with the customer's phone for taking calls and sending messages all from the same wireless number. AT&T will sell the LG smartwatch to customers for $99.99 with a two-year agreement when purchased with an LG G5 on an AT&T Next plan. Alternately, customers can purchase the watch for $0 down with 20 payments of $18. LG halted sales of the watch last year after discovering manufacturing problems. The issues have since been resolved.
T-Mobile today said customers can order the LG G5 online starting March 29. The phone will reach stores April 1. T-Mobile is offering several incentives to encourage early adopters. Customers who buy the G5 before April 5 will receive the LG 360 CAM ($200) for free. The 360 CAM lets people capture 360-degree video. Customers who by the G5 before April 17 will receive a battery bundle, which includes a spare battery and docking station ($80). T-Mobile is selling the G5 for $0 down and 24 payments of $26.25. The full retail price of the phone is $629.99.
LG today said U.S. consumers can expect to see the G5 smartphone reach stores in early April. The modular smartphone will be available via AT&T, Best Buy, B&H, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. LG said carriers will be responsible for announcing their own release dates and pricing. The G5 has a removable bottom hatch that allows users to access the battery as well as add modules called LG Friends. The first two modules are a camera grip and stereo DAC. The phone also boasts dual rear cameras and a Snapdragon 820 processor. It runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
LG revealed the G5 today and it marks an impressive change of direction for the company in terms of design, materials, and functionality. The new metal chassis is impressive and so is the modular hatch that supports a handful of accessories. LG says it didn't want to build a me-too slab, and that's exactly what it's done. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of the G5.
LG today announced its flagship handset for 2016, the G5. The phone represents a re-think from LG, which has altered the design and functionality entirely from earlier G models to help set it apart from competing phones. The G5's stand-out feature is a removable hatch that opens the battery compartment and also allows modular accessories to be added to the phone, such as a camera grip. Other significant changes include a shift from plastic materials to metal, and relocating the volume buttons from the back of the phone to the side. The power button, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor, remains on the rear panel. The G5 has a 5.3-inch quad HD display and is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4 GB of RAM. The main screen includes an always-on feature similar to the V10, but without a separate screen. It comes with 32 GB of storage, but supports memory cards up to 200 GB. LG bestowed the G5 with dual rear cameras. The main shooter rates 16 megapixels at f/1.8 and a normal 75-degree field of view. The second camera rates 8 megapixels and has a wider, 135-degree field of view. Both cameras are assisted by laser focus and can capture 4K video. The user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and captures full HD video. Other hardware features include a 2,800 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0, USB Type-C, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, WiFi, and of course LTE. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and LG toned its user interface skin way back. The LG G5 comes in four colors (silver, titanium, gold, pink) and will be sold by major U.S. carriers come April. Pricing was not revealed.