LG unveils new device in smartphone war

NEW YORK, Aug. 7, 2013 — LG Electronics (LG) today unveiled its latest flagship smartphone LG G2, the first smartphone introduced under LG’s new “G” Series for premium devices, exemplifying LG’s aim to bring forth more customer-centric innovations.

 

Nearly 700 guests from over 30 countries converged at the renowned Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Centerin New York for the global introduction of the device. Based on LG’s research of consumer lifestyles and behaviors, the smartphone offers users more real-life benefits such as ergonomic design, practical functions and an intuitive user experience.

 

“Our definition of innovation today is technology that truly resonates with consumers,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of  the LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company, who welcomed the guests to the event. “We have always listened to and learned from consumers in pursuit of innovation. We took these insights to new heights in developing LG G2, the most exciting and ambitious mobile phone in our company’s history.”

 

New Perspective in Smartphone Design

The LG G2 brings everything together in a device with comfortable, functional, convenient and beautiful design. The LG G2 shifts the paradigm in smartphone design by placing all the buttons on the rear of the device, making this the first smartphone to be completely devoid of side buttons. The unique Rear Key concept came from the realization when studying users that the larger the phone became, the more difficult it was to properly access the side keys. Moving the main buttons to the back of the phone gave users more control since this place was where individuals’ index fingers are naturally located. Researchers found that moving the buttons also resulted in fewer dropped phones when adjusting the volume while talking.

 

Long-pressing on the rear-mounted volume keys allows users to launch QuickMemoTM and the camera, making note taking and photo capturing even easier than before. And if the LG G2 is lying on a surface face up, there’s no need to lift the phone to access the power button on the back. With KnockON, the LG G2 can be powered on simply by tapping twice on the display.

 

Edge-to-Edge Display and Best-In-Class Power Capacity

LG upped the ante by incorporating a 5.2-inch Full HD display in the LG G2, the largest display designed for one-handed operation in today’s popular 2.7-inch width smartphone category. In addition to the expansive viewing experience, LG’s innovative Dual Routing technology reduced the phone’s bezel to a mere 2.65mm on the side edge. And with proven IPS technology, the LG G2 offers superior graphics, accurate colors and clear images without any distortion.

 

For more efficient energy usage, the LG G2 employs Graphic RAM (GRAM) technology. GRAM reduces the display’s energy use by up to 26 percent on a still frame and increases overall usage time on the device by approximately 10 percent. And with a generous 3,000mAh battery that is thoughtfully designed to take maximum advantage of the interior space, the LG G2 is more than ready for a full day’s work or play.

 

OIS and High Resolution for Great Pictures

The LG G2’s high-resolution camera comes equipped with Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS) technology to prevent blurring, allowing for clearer, brighter and sharper images even when in motion or shooting in dim environments. Most current smartphone cameras with OIS tend to offer resolution in the 4MP to 8MP range. The G2 is unique in that it offers 13MP and OIS technology in a slim design without a protruding lens. And features such as Super Resolution and Multi-point AF help keep everything in focus, just like a standalone point-and-shoot digital camera.

 

Studio Quality Hi-Fi Sound

In recent years, there has been an increase in consumer demand for superior sound in smartphones as high-quality multimedia content becomes more ubiquitous. Smartphones have become hubs for entertainment of all kind — TV shows, movies, games — and consumers expect the sound to be just as good as the image. The LG G2 is the first smartphone on the market today to feature 24 bit/192kHz Hi-Fi playback that reproduces studio-like quality sound, far superior to a CD. Now consumers can hear a level of audio realism that hasn’t been possible before in a smartphone.

 

Practical UX Connected to Everyday Life

Research shows that the most frequently used smartphone features are the most basic ones that users often take for granted such as SMS, social networking, directions and of course, making phone calls. The LG G2 comes with a number of compelling user experience (UX) features that provide the most practical value by focusing on a smartphone’s most popular tasks:

 

– Answer Me — Automatically answers the call after lowering the ringtone when the phone is raised to one’s ear.

– Plug & Pop — Recommends options or related features to choose from when the earphone or USB cable is detected.

– Text Link —Allows information embedded in text messages to be selected and easily saved in a memo or calendar and searched on a map or the internet.

– QuickRemote — Not only can LG G2 be used to remotely control popular home entertainment devices, it can also learn from conventional remotes and be customized to operate multiple devices with flexible layouts and keys.

– Slide Aside — Enables easier multitasking by simply “sliding” open apps off to the side using a three-finger swipe.

– Guest Mode — Protects owner’s privacy by displaying only pre-selected apps when guests access the phone with a secondary unlock pattern.

 

Unmatched Performance with Next Generation LTE

The LG G2 runs on the industry’s most advanced mobile chipset, the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 Processor and redefines the smartphone experience through stunning performance, rich graphics and outstanding battery efficiency. Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. Through a long-term partnership collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, LG was able to deploy the chipset integrated perfectly with the LG G2 hardware to offer powerful and yet stable performance.

 

Following the global launch event in New York City on August 7, the LG G2 will be rolled out in over 130 wireless carriers in the next eight weeks starting in South Korea followed by North America, Europe and other key markets. Specific dates for market availability will vary by region and carrier.

 

Key Specifications:

  • – Processor: 2.26GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 featuring quad Krait CPU
  • – Display: 5.2-inch Full HD IPS (1080 x 1920 pixels / 423 ppi)
  • – Memory: 32GB / 16GB
  • – RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 800MHz
  • – Camera: Rear 13.0MP with OIS / Front 2.1MP
  • – Battery: 3,000mAh
  • – Operating System: Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
  • – Size: 138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9mm
  • – Colors: Black / White

Nokia Lumia 925 Review

When Nokia released the Lumia 920, it was packed with some of the best hardware you could find in a Windows Phone, such as the fantastic optically-stabilized camera, PureMotion HD+ display and an OS fresh from Microsoft’s update center. But many reviewers, including myself, found that the thick and heavy design wasn’t representative of Nokia’s best effort, and didn’t give the fantastic hardware the body it deserved.

Nokia Lumia 925 – $590 (unlocked)

  • 4.5-inch, 1280 x 768 AMOLED display (334 ppi)
  • Super sensitive touch, Gorilla Glass 2
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 chipset
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, Adreno 225 GPU, 1 GB RAM
  • 16 GB internal storage
  • 8.7 MP camera, Zeiss f/2.0 lens, dual LED flash, OIS, 1080p video
  • 2,000 mAh, 8.4 Wh internal battery
  • LTE, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC
  • Windows Phone 8
  • 139 grams, 8.5mm thick

Enter the Lumia 925, Nokia’s answer to the complaints. It ditches the thick polycarbonate shell, hefty slab of glass and space-consuming LCD display for a mostly aluminum body with an AMOLED screen. In the process of changing a few components and materials, the Lumia flagship has shed some weight, dropping to 139 grams and 8.5mm thick (from 185g/10.7mm), giving it an all new breath of life.

Aside from the size, a few other aspects of the phone have been optimized, including a some cool software tweaks by Nokia, and revamped camera firmware that should take better advantage of the 8.7-megapixel rear camera. But are the changes too late? Is this the Lumia we should have had at the launch of Windows Phone 8?

Meet Videocon A24 – The Budget Android

Videocon A24

Looks like this is the week for budget smartphone launches. Videocon is the latest to launch their entry-level Android smartphone in the sub-5k segment. With the launch of Videocon A24, the smartphone maker has intensified the entry-level smartphone war in India.

Videocon A24 is a dual-SIM device which comes with Android Jelly Bean version 4.2.2. For a device in the sub Rs 5000 segment, Videocon has definitely managed to win us over by providing the latest (Jelly Bean 4.3 is still not in vogue) OS for the entry-level phone. Although we are doubtful of the phone getting any more upgrades, getting Jelly Bean 4.2.2 out of the box compensates for it all!

On the specifications front, Videocon A24 comes with a 4-inch WVGA capacitive touch-screen. The display is basic as the phone is a budget offering. Once again, by offering a 4-inch device, Videocon has managed to provide a decent screen-size in a budget price. The display and the OS are definitely not a disappointment when it comes to Videocon A24.

Under the hood runs a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Another surprise as most entry-level Androids stick to single core processors. The dual-core offering is definitely the icing on the cake.

Videocon A24

However, it is not all roses and peaches. There definitely is a catch and as you might have guessed, the catch is the internal memory and RAM. Videocon A24 comes with 512 MB internal memory and 256 MB RAM. Wave goodbye to anything other than basic app downloads. The entire purpose of a dual-core processor is lost thanks to the low RAM and internal memory. The memory can be increased to an additional 32 GB but the RAM still stays the same.

The phone comes with a decent 3.2 MP rear end camera and also a front camera for video-calling. Videocon A24 comes with the usual connectivity options and 1450 mAh battery.

Talking at the launch of Videocon A24, Mr. Khalid Zamir, Head Product Planning and Development, Videocon Mobile Phones Division said, “The Videocon A24 brings in an easy to use yet efficient smartphone experience to consumers who might be looking for their first smartphone. A simple and intuitive layout engages the consumers with the device and brings to them various vistas which help them to make the most of their Android smartphone experience.”

Priced at Rs 4699, the phone is definitely a show-stealer in the sub Rs 5k segment.

First look: Google’s new tablet Nexus 7

When it comes to technology, we’ve been trained to expect more for less.

When it comes to technology, we’ve been trained to expect more for less. Devices get more powerful each year, as prices stay the same or drop. With the new Nexus 7tablet, Google hopes we’re willing to pay more for more.

The new tablet comes with a $30 price increase over last year’s model. At $229 for the base model, it is still a bargain – and 30 per cent cheaper than Apple’s $329 iPad Mini. The display is sharper and the sound is richer than the old model. There’s now a rear camera for taking snapshots. The new Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with Android 4.3, which lets you create profiles to limit what your curious and nosy kids can do on your tablet when you’re not around.

Amazon.com’s $199 Kindle Fire HD is cheaper, but it doesn’t give you full access to the growing library of Android apps for playing games, checking the weather, tracking flights, reading the news, getting coupons from your favorite stores and more. The Nexus 7 does.

It’s a fine complement to your smartphone if it’s running Google’s Android, the dominant operating system on phones these days – even as Apple commands the market for tablet computers with its full-size iPad and iPad Mini. Unless you tell it not to, apps you use on the phone will automatically appear on the Nexus 7, so you can switch from device to device seamlessly. When you are signed in, bookmarks will also transfer over Google’s Chrome Web browser, as will favorite places on Google Maps.

If you were already eyeing last year’s Nexus 7 model, then go ahead and pay $30 more for the latest.

Although screen dimensions are identical, the new Nexus 7 has a higher pixel density, at 323 pixels per inch compared with 216 on the old model. Trees and other objects in the movie “Life of Pi” look sharper, as do the movie title and credits on the screen.

Sound is much better with speakers on the left and the right side of the tablet, held horizontally. Although they are technically back facing, the speakers are placed along a curved edge in such a way that sound seems to project outward and not away from you. On the old Nexus 7, I can’t even tell where the speakers are.

The new Nexus 7 also feels more comfortable in my hands. It’s 17 per cent thinner and 5 per cent narrower when held like a portrait. The old model was a tad too wide to grip comfortably in the palm of my hands. The new device is also 15 per cent lighter, at 10.2 ounces. And the rubbery back feels smoother on the new tablet.

The new Nexus ships with a camera app, something last year’s model didn’t really need because it had only a front-facing camera, for videoconferencing. With the new rear, 5-megapixel camera, you can take photos and video of what’s in front of you. Expect to be ridiculed, though, if I see you doing that. Still, it’s not as bad as blocking someone’s view with a full-size tablet.

As for the restricted profiles that come with Android 4.3, it’s a good idea, though it still has kinks. When you set up a profile for your kid, you pick which apps to enable. Don’t want your kid to be surfing the Web unrestricted? Then keep the Chrome browser disabled. Don’t want him or her on Facebook? Keep that app disabled, too. The app store is also disabled, so Junior can’t go on a download spree. If you do allow access to a particular app, though, then it’s full access. There’s no filtering to block porn and other questionable material, for instance.

I found that some apps won’t work with restricted profiles at all, including those for Gmail and other email accounts. If you want your kids to have access to email, then you have to give them full access or enable the browser to check email over the Web. You can’t turn on just the email app.

And although the new tablet is the first to ship with Android 4.3, it’s available to download on other devices, including last year’s Nexus 7.

What the new tablet does offer is the promise of a longer battery life – up to 10 hours for Web surfing and nine hours for video streaming. Last year’s model was rated at eight hours.

There’s no question the new model is better and worth the price increase.

Choosing between the new Nexus 7 and the iPad Mini is tougher.

If you already have an iPhone, the iPad Mini will be a nice complement. You won’t have to buy music, video and apps twice, for instance. You might want to wait until this fall, though, to see whether Apple comes out with a new model.

It’s a tougher call if you have an Android phone.

By volume, the two systems have a comparable number of apps. But I’ve found that many larger app developers have made versions only for the iPhone and the iPad. The American Museum of Natural History in New York has six that work on iPads but only one on Android devices. An app to watch full episodes of CBS television shows is for Apple and Windows devices only, not Android. Meanwhile, the iDonatedIt app for tracking tax deductions has more features for Apple devices, while features that are supposed to work on Android often don’t.

Android is good in that many apps designed for a phone’s smaller screen are automatically adapted to take advantage of a tablet’s larger screen. On the iPad, apps that aren’t optimized for it are squeezed into a smaller window the size of an iPhone. Blow it up to full screen, and it looks distorted. But that’s not as glaring on the Mini as it is on the full-size iPad. And having apps automatically change their layout isn’t the same as designing them for the tablet from scratch, as is the case with the hundreds of thousands of apps optimized for the iPad.

The Nexus 7’s screen is much sharper than that on the iPad Mini, which has the non-HD display technology of the iPad 2 from 2011 – ancient in the world of mobile gadgets. The Nexus 7 is also a tad lighter, by 6 per cent.

That said, the iPad Mini has a larger screen, measuring 7.9 inches diagonally compared with 7 inches on the Nexus. And the iPad Mini has had a rear camera from the start. The iPad Mini also has Siri, a voice assistant that is feistier than Google Now on the Nexus. If you prefer Google Now for its ability to give you information you need to know without even asking, you can download it on the Mini. You can’t get Siri on the Nexus.

If you do get the Nexus 7, it supports wireless charging, so you can get rid of the messy wiring. The device comes only with a standard microUSB charger to plug in, so you’ll have to buy a Qi-compatible wireless charger yourself.

The $229 base model comes with 16 gigabytes of storage. For $40 more, or $269, you get twice the storage. Both will go on sale in the US next Tuesday. A 32-gigabyte model with 4G cellular capability will cost $349. By contrast, the iPad Mini starts at $329. A 32-gigabyte version with 4G costs $559.

Even with the price increase, Google has Apple beaten on price. The Nexus 7 may lack the cachet and many of the apps that the iPad Mini has, but you’ll be able to do a lot with it. I hope technology companies won’t make price hikes a habit, but this one is made palatable by the device’s richer display, sound and camera.

Google Android 4.3 is here, and it tastes like Jelly Bean

Months later than we initially expected, Google finally took the wraps off the next version of its Android operating system at an event on Wednesday in San Francisco. The barely changed Android 4.3 isn’t the giant leap we expected, but it is noteworthy, particularly for its performance improvements and new Restricted Profiles feature.

Officially, Android 4.3 is still a version of Jelly Bean, which makes sense, considering the minor nature of its changes. But of course, this may disappoint Android fans whose mouths have been watering for Key Lime Pie since Google I/O in May.

For the most part, Android 4.3 appears to be much like its predecessor. The general makeup of the home screen and app drawer looks the same, and Google Now, Search, and Notifications all feel familiar. That said, the updated Jelly Bean does have some important additions that are worth going over.

Multi-User Restricted Profiles

The biggest addition to Android 4.3 is the Multi-User Restricted Profiles feature, which lets you control the usage of apps and other content on a user level. Multiple user profiles were already available in 4.2.2, but the ability to create restrictions has long been requested, so it’s sure to be a big hit.

The people most obviously to benefit from the new profile controls are parents. We saw this in Google’s demo; being logged into a restricted user profile caused an app to behave differently. Specifically, a freemium game showed up without all of the in-app purchasing functionality, which is clearly going to be useful for parents with young children who use the device.

The ability to create restricted user profiles can be useful for businesses and families that share devices.As well, retail kiosks that use tablets for customer service or as POS systems will be able to make use of the feature. By enabling multiple user profiles, businesses will be able to take advantage of the versatility of tablets by using them in different contexts.

From the primary user’s Settings screen, it’s easy to configure a restricted account’s access using the sliders. And if an app offers in-app restrictions (such as the games mentioned above), then there’s a button for extra options next to it.

With Restricted Profiles, Google is obviously trying to lure more users — specifically parents and businesses — away from iOS, a platform that still lacks a user profiles feature altogether. As well, the feature opens a number of doors to developers who can now create in-app restrictions.

From the primary user’s account, it’s easy to configure a restricted account’s access to specific apps or even features within certain apps.Bluetooth Smart technology

Support for Bluetooth Smart technology is another addition to Android 4.3 that wasn’t all that unexpected, considering it’s been available on iOS since early 2012. With this, the updated Android now allows you to connect with the newer generation of power-efficient accessories that use Bluetooth Smart. And of course, the Smart connection should be less taxing on your Android device’s battery. During Google’s presentation, we saw an Android device connecting with a Bluetooth Smart-enabled heart-rate monitor that was being powered by the popular Runtastic fitness app.

The update also came with Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 support, which lets your device now transmit metadata, like a song’s title and artist, to Bluetooth controllers.

Open GL ES 3.0
A big deal for gamers, Open GL ES 3.0 makes the new version of Android more efficient and just plain better at displaying graphics. Google’s demo showed us impressive textures, lens flares, and reflections that the older OS would have had trouble displaying. While the upgraded graphics might be indiscernible to the average user, Open GL ES support is still important because of the new possibilities it opens up for developers.

Additional enhancements
These may not be the sexiest improvements to the OS, but together they make for a smoother (and more fun) mobile computing experience overall.

First up, is Android’s dialer, which now has autocomplete for both phone numbers and names. I haven’t gotten to try the feature on a phone yet, but its presence in 4.3 is confirmed, and the added convenience is notable. That said, the reality is that most Android users may not even notice the upgraded dialer, since autocomplete has already come built into the custom operating systems by hardware manufacturers like Samsung.

One feature that Google didn’t formally announce is the new Emoji keyboard, which comes stock with the OS and can be enabled through the Language & input menu under Settings. Once enabled, you can long-press the spacebar key to pull it up and emote to your heart’s content.

Tucked into the Language and inputs menu is a nifty emoji keyboard.The Wi-Fi scan-only mode, while somewhat obscure, is a new feature that could help conserve your battery. The feature, when enabled, lets Google’s location service and other apps scan for networks, even when Wi-Fi is off. This means you can improve your location accuracy without the continuous drain.

What we think
Is Android 4.3 something to get excited about? Probably not. The bulk of the improvements appear to be under the hood, and the biggest front-end addition that Google demoed — Restricted Profiles — was geared to parents and businesses.

While many Android users have been crossing their fingers for the OS’ next iteration to be version 5.0, Key Lime Pie, this performance-focused update says that Google is taking a slower development route, possibly to minimize fragmentation as device manufacturers play catch-up. If that is, in fact, what’s going on, then the move, as unexciting as it is, might be better for all Android users in the long run

Asus Google Nexus 7 unveiled with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean

Google along with ASUS has announced the new thinner, lighter and full 1080p HD resolution display bearing Nexus 7 tablet with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean running on it.

Google and ASUS have formally announced the much awaited new Nexus 7 tablet with full 1080p HD display. The new ASUS Google Nexus 7 tablet also is the first device with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update running on it out of the box. The new Nexus 7 tablet is significant improvement over the first Nexus 7 in terms of core hardware, camera, weight and mobile operating system entirely.

Google-ASUS team worked together to bring a 8.45 mm thin new Nexus 7 tablet weighing just 290 grams. This tablet will feature 7-inch touchscreen display with 1080p HD resolution natively. The Nexus 7 (2012 model) featured 1280×800 pixel resolution natively with pixel density of 216 pixels per inch. That has been bumped to 1920×1200 pixel resolution natively with pixel density of 323 pixels per inch.

Asus Google Nexus 7 unveiled

ASUS has housed a quad-core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Pro along with 2 GB RAM. This is a major change over the NVIDIA Tegra 3 chipset with 1 GB RAM in the Nexus 7 (2012).

Asus Google Nexus 7 unveiled

Google’s new Nexus 7 (2013) will feature dual-band WiFi support which was really expected since even Kindle Fire HD models have dual-band WiFi support. Google has provided the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update running out of the box with several new features such as multi-user restricted profiles, Bluetooth Low Energy support, Hindi language support and several features mostly catering to overall performance improvement.

Asus Google Nexus 7 unveiled

The tablet features the new Bluetooth 4.0 LE that will work nicely with the Bluetooth Smart support in the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Apart from that, there is HDMI output for connecting the tablet directly with a HD display. There will be near field communication support as well. Most importantly there will be wireless charging support.

Asus Google Nexus 7 unveiled

Google has not revealed the actual battery capacity but mentioned that it can now support playback of HD video for 9 hours and 10 hours worth of web browsing.

Asus Google Nexus 7 unveiled

The new Nexus 7 (2013) has the same 1.2 megapixel camera in the front for video chat and also a new 5 megapixel camera at the back for imaging. It also features SlimPort technology support that allow connecting the tablet to a larger display via HDMI, VGA or DisplayPort connectors.

Google will start selling the Nexus 7 (2013) from next week onwards starting $229 (Rs 13,750 approx.) for 16 GB Wi-Fi only model, $269 (Rs 16150 approx.) for 32 GB Wi-Fi model and $349 (Rs 20,950 approx.) for 32 GB 4G LTE supporting model for the US region.