NEW YORK--LG Electronics unveiled the G3, its latest flagship smartphone, with key improvements in screen technology, the phone's camera and overall design and user interface. The G3 is coming out more than two months after rivals Samsung Electronics and HTC released their own 2014 flagship phones, and will need to fight for attention in a crowded market.
The G3 will start rolling out Wednesday in South Korea and will be available globally through more than 170 carriers. In the U.S., Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) will launch the phone, which will also be available at Best Buy. LG did not say when the G3 will come to the U.S. other than that it will be "later this summer." LG did not reveal pricing for the G3.
LG's new G3 (Credit: Phil Goldstein)
The G3 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and has a quad-core 2.5 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon 801 processor, LTE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Near Field Communications and a 3,000 mAh removable battery.
LG was the No. 5 global smartphone player in the first quarter, according to research firm IDC, with 12.3 million smartphone shipments. The company and the G3 will need to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and other new smartphones in the second quarter and beyond.
With its new phone, LG is focusing on improving certain specific features of the G2, which it introduced last year. Specifically, LG said that the G3 boats improvements in:
- Screen technology. The device sports a 5.5-inch screen with a "Quad HD" display, which LG said has 538 pixels per inch, four times the resolution of HD almost two times the resolution of Full HD screens.
- Camera: The gadget also sports a 13-megpaixel camera, with optical image stabilization technology, which smartphone makers have increasingly been putting into their phones in the last few years to reduce jitter and take sharper images. LG said its "Laser Auto Focus" technology will let users take pictures in much less time than conventional phone cameras. The technology uses a laser beam to measure the distance between an object and the camera to cut down the time it takes to lock onto an object and take a picture. The phone also has a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, and LG is letting users take "selfies" by clenching their hand into a fist, which will alert the phone that the user wants to take a selfie and begin a three-second countdown.
- User interface: Just as rival Samsung has its tagline "the next big thing" for its Galaxy line of devices, LG is trotting out the tagline "simple is the new smart" to describe the G3. The phone has a redesigned user interface in keeping with the simplicity mantra and sports "flat" graphics and a circular motif throughout the UI, reflecting LG's corporate logo. The UI also gives certain apps such as calling their own colors. The phone sports an all-metal "floating arch" ergonomic physical design and continues the use of the G2's "rear key" by having the volume and power buttons on the back of the phone.
The phone also has a "smart keyboard" that learns from the user as they use it and can predict which words the user will want to type. The G3 also uses a "smart notice" personal assistant service, which provides recommendations based on user behavior and location. For instance, the phone can remind a user of a call they ignored earlier and ask if they want to call back. The G3 has security features such as "Knock Code," which lets users unlock their phone with a pattern of personalized taps; "Content Lock," which keeps personal files hidden from view when sharing the G3 with friends and can prevent files from being previewed when connected to a PC; and "Kill Switch," which gives users the ability to disable their phones remotely and wipe content if the phone is stolen.
LG said the G3 comes with a handful of new accessories, including the "QuickCircle" case, which lets users access functions such as calling, text messaging, music and the camera from the QuickCircle window without opening the cover of the case.
LG's first G3 ad.
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