Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile to sell LG's new flagship G2

LG Electronics unveiled its newest flagship smartphone, the G2, at a media event in New York City, and said it will be coming to 130 wireless carriers in the next eight weeks, including all four Tier 1 U.S. carriers. The launch represents LG's most aggressive attempt yet to close the gap with Samsung Electronics and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the smartphone market.

lg g2

Click here for pictures, videos and details of LG's new G2.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile US  (NYSE:TMUS) will launch the device, according to Jong-seok Park, president of LG's mobile unit. None of the carriers provided precise availability or pricing information; T-Mobile said it will share pricing and availability "in the coming weeks" and Sprint said it will launch the phone "later this year."

For LG, the G2 is an opportunity to get broad carrier distribution for a single high-end smartphone model, something it has not previously been able to do, and that its competitors have. (AT&T and Sprint launched the Optimus G in the fall of 2012 but the device did not make a huge splash in the market.)

LG is also trying to capitalize on its recent strong momentum in the smartphone market; LG's 12.1 million smartphone sales in the second quarter were above the previous record of 10.3 million it had in the first quarter and more than double the 5.7 million it had had in the year-ago quarter. Although it trails Samsung and Apple significantly in terms of volumes, LG has made strides and was the No. 3 global smartphone vendor in the second quarter, according both IDC and Strategy Analytics.

The G2 not only pack a wallop in terms of performance, but also sports design and software features that LG argues will set it apart from other high-end smartphones. The company repeatedly touted during its G2 launch event that much of the phone's design came about as a result of extensive market research into how consumers actually use their smartphones.

"The innovation that consumers expected has come and gone and we are left with only the technology. With so much focus on the technology, a gap has appeared between what consumers want and what companies create," Park said of the smartphone market at the event. "But this is not how we want innovation to be defined. Technology without empathy can no longer be considered innovation. Innovation for the sake of innovation is old school."

A key design feature of the phone is that its front and sides have no physical buttons, with the volume and power controls on the back of the phone, in what LG calls the "rear key." LG said this change gives users more control since the buttons are located where users' index fingers normally sit when holding the phone. Long-pressing on the rear-mounted volume keys allows users to launch LG's QuickMemo note taking program as well as the camera. Further, if the G2 is lying on a surface face up, using LG's "KnockON" feature, the G2 can be powered on simply by tapping twice on the display.

The phone runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, and is the first globally launched smartphone powered by Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) quad-core 2.26 GHz Snapdragon 800 processor. The phone has a 5.2-inch 1080 IP IPS HD display, and LG said the display uses Graphic RAM, which it claims reduces the display's energy use by up to 26 percent on a still frame and increases overall usage time on the device by around 10 percent.

The G2 also sports a 13-megapixal rear camera with Optical Image Stabilizer technology (which Nokia (NYSE:NOK) has been using on its recent Lumia Windows Phone smartphones) and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. LG said its rear camera is designed without a "protruding lens." The phone also sports 2 GB of RAM and a 3,000 mAh battery, which LG said has increased density to allow for better performance.

LG also touted several software features, including contextual copy/paste menus based on the type of text selected; "Text Link," which allows information embedded in text messages to be selected and easily saved in a memo or calendar and searched on a map or the Web; "Slide Aside," which enables easier multitasking by simply "sliding" open apps off to the side using a three-finger swipe; and "QuickRemote," which lets the G2 control home entertainment devices.

For more:
- see this release
- see this The Verge article
- see this Engadget article

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